White River Reservoir - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by John Clayton and Charles Munger
Inland Fisheries Division - Amarillo District
This is the authors' summary from a 28-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in White River Reservoir were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2015 using gill netting. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings. Historical data are presented for comparison.
At conservation pool (2,372.2 feet above Mean Sea Level - MSL), White River Reservoir is a 2,020-acre impoundment constructed in 1963 on the White River, a tributary of the Salt Fork of the Brazos River. The reservoir is located in Crosby County approximately 55 miles east of Lubbock, Texas. From 1992 to 2014, White River Reservoir experienced a declining trend in lake level. A record low was set in May 2014 when the reservoir reached an elevation of 2,336.7 feet MSL and a surface area of 239 acres.
During sampling, the reservoir maintained an elevation near 2,343 feet MSL and 484 acres. White River Reservoir is owned and operated by the White River Municipal Water District as a municipal water supply and for recreational purposes. The reservoir has three boat ramps; during extremely low water level there is a temporary launch site in place. At current elevation only the low water ramp is usable. There are no handicapped-specific facilities.
Sport fish in the reservoir included Walleye, White Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, and catfishes. Past surveys have shown that White Crappie were overabundant in the reservoir and exhibited poor growth. Walleye stockings have been utilized in part to mitigate overabundance of White Crappie. Florida Largemouth Bass were stocked in 1982, 2000, 2003, 2009, and 2012 in order to maintain a trophy Largemouth Bass fishery.
- Prey species: Gizzard Shad and Bluegill served as the primary prey species in the reservoir. The 2014 electrofishing catch rate of Gizzard Shad and Bluegill was lower than in previous years; most likely attributed to low water level due to drought and municipal pumping. Although the numbers of prey fish were low the majority sampled were small and available as prey for most sport fishes.
- Catfishes: Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish catch rates were down slightly from past surveys, while the Flathead Catfish catch rate increased slightly.
- White Bass: White Bass numbers have shown a slight increase in catch rates since 2007. Nearly half of the fish sampled in 2015 were above the 10-inch minimum length limit.
- Largemouth Bass: Significant rain events in 2010 improved reservoir conditions and contributed to an increased catch rate of Largemouth Bass in 2011; however, extreme drought and record low water level between 2011 and 2014 resulted in a sample of only 6 bass collected in 2014.
- Crappie: White Crappie size structure appears to have improved. While the number of fish sampled was lower than in previous surveys, the number of legal-sized White Crappie was substantially higher.
- Walleye: Although few Walleye were detected during the survey, all Walleye sampled were 18 to 25 inches.
- Continue stocking Walleye and Florida Largemouth Bass.
- Conduct electrofishing survey in 2016, trap net surveys in 2015 and 2017, gill net and creel surveys in 2017, and general monitoring with electrofishing, trap net, and gill net surveys in 2018 – 2019.
- Conduct habitat survey in 2018.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-5 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program