Lake Whitney - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division – Waco District
This is the authors' summary from a 31-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Whitney Reservoir were surveyed in 2015 using electrofishing and in 2016 using gill nets. Historical data are presented with the 2015-2016 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Whitney Reservoir is a 23,200-acre impoundment of the Brazos River, in Bosque and Hill Counties. Water level has been18 feet below conservation pool (approximately 517.0 feet above mean sea level [MSL]) to over 20 feet above conservation pool (approximately 556.0 feet above MSL) since 2011. Water levels were within three feet of conservation pool (533.0 feet above MSL) during the 2015-2016 surveys. Fish habitat at the time of sampling was dominated by natural rock shorelines. Boat access (23 ramps) on the reservoir is excellent.
Important sport fish include Striped Bass, White Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, and catfishes. All have been impacted by periodic toxic golden alga blooms since 2001. Efforts to mitigate these losses have included enhanced collection of fisheries data, annual Striped Bass stockings, and Smallmouth Bass stocking requests. Recent management efforts include cooperating with the controlling authority to post appropriate signage at access points to try and prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussel into the reservoir.
- Prey species: Threadfin and Gizzard Shad catch rates were above historical averages. Other forage species above their historical averages included Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, Longear Sunfish, Green Sunfish and Warmouth. Redbreast Sunfish catch rates were below the historical average, but higher than any sample since 2001.
- Catfishes: The Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish catch rates were higher than historical averages. Individuals of both species were in good to excellent body condition.
- Temperate basses: The White Bass and Striped Bass catch rates were higher than the historical average and body condition was good to excellent.
- Black basses: The Largemouth Bass catch rate was the highest on record and body condition was excellent. Smallmouth Bass were not collected, but Spotted Bass were collected for the first time since 2003 at a rate higher than the historical average.
- White Crappie: White Crappie were collected with a non-standard gear and in too few numbers to draw any meaningful conclusions.
- Continue managing sport fishes at Whitney Reservoir with statewide regulations.
- Consider cessation of Smallmouth Bass stocking in the reservoir.
- Maintain invasive species signage and inform the public about the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species.
- Conduct a supplemental gill net survey in 2018, access and vegetation surveys in summer 2019, and general monitoring surveys with electrofishing, gill nets, and an angler creel survey in 2019 and 2020.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-6 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program