Lake Whitney - 2007 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael S. Baird and John Tibbs
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 24-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Whitney Reservoir were surveyed in 2007 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2008 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Whitney Reservoir is a 23,560-acre impoundment of the Brazos River, in Bosque and Hill Counties. Water levels were near conservation pool (533) during electrofishing and trap netting, and approximately six feet low during gill netting. Shoreline fish habitat was dominated by rocky shoreline and inundated stumps. Boat access (14 ramps) on the reservoir is excellent, but there are currently no handicap-specific facilities available.
Important sport fish include largemouth bass, striped bass, white bass, white crappie, and catfishes. The management plan from the 2004 survey report included strategies to combat losses from golden algae, investigate alternatives to prevent chronic low water levels with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and continued stocking requests for smallmouth bass.
- Prey species: Threadfin and gizzard shad were both collected in 2005 and 2007 surveys. Electrofishing catch rates of gizzard shad in 2007 were the second highest recorded since golden algae was observed in the reservoir. Most gizzard shad were available as prey to sport fish (i.e., IOV = 91). Bluegill catch rates were average and 7 to 9-inch individuals were common. Additional sunfish species contributed to the forage base.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish were collected in low numbers and body condition was average. Channel catfish were abundant with excellent recruitment, population structure and body condition. No flathead catfish were collected in 2008.
- Temperate basses: White bass were abundant with excellent body condition and over half of the population measured 12 inches in length or longer. A good striped bass population exists in the reservoir and most fish were greater than 18 inches.
- Black basses: Smallmouth bass were not collected in the 2007 or 2005 electrofishing survey. Largemouth bass were abundant and were collected in the highest numbers since a golden alga was observed in the reservoir. Body condition was generally excellent.
- White crappie: The 2005 trap net survey collected white crappie in the highest numbers since pre-golden alga surveys were performed. Body condition was also excellent. Trap netting became optional in 2007, and was dropped from the general monitoring plan for Whitney, therefore no trap net data were collected, or reported, from 2007.
Continue managing Whitney with statewide regulations and submitting requests for smallmouth bass and striped bass stockings. Conduct additional electrofisher and gill net surveys in 2009 and 2010 if needed (depending on number and severity of fish kills caused by golden algae) and standard monitoring with electrofisher and gill nets in 2011 and 2012. Also, perform a new littoral habitat survey prior to the 2012 report.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-33 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program