|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-03-10                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Don Pitts, (512) 389-8754; don.pitts@tpwd.texas.gov ]
March 10, 2011
Golden Alga Fish Kill on Lake Granbury Spreads Downriver
ATHENS -- A toxic golden alga bloom on Lake Granbury that began the first week of January 2011 appears to be heading down the Brazos River toward Lake Whitney.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Kills and Spills team and personnel with the Brazos River Authority have been conducting weekly fish kill investigations since early January. Water samples are taken monthly to assess golden alga toxicity and cell densities at various sites on Lake Granbury.
The toxic zone began on the upper end of the lake at Hunter Park and slowly spread down-lake over the course of the past two months. Currently, the active kill zone is concentrated at the dam, but dying fish were observed as far north as Rough Creek Park this week. As of the week of February 28, the estimated total number of dead fish due to this kill was 82,418. The vast majority, about 82 percent, of the affected fish are non-game species. Affected fish species include freshwater drum, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white crappie, white bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, various sunfish species, gar, gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and others.
On March 5 Somervell County Game Warden Joni Kuykendall was notified of a fish kill on the Brazos River below Lake Granbury. An investigation into that fish kill has begun. It is suspected that the toxic golden alga bloom is now in the Brazos River, affecting some 50 miles of river between Lake Granbury and Lake Whitney. Results are pending on a water sample taken to check for the presence and toxicity of golden alga in the river. An official estimate of dead fish in the river has not yet been completed; however, biologists believe the number of fish killed in the Brazos River over the past week may very well surpass the estimated number of fish killed in Lake Granbury over the past two months.
Lake Granbury is located on the Brazos River in the town of the same name southwest of Fort Worth. Fish kills due to golden alga were reported on the lake in 2004 and 2005.
First discovered in Texas in 1985, golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) was identified in a fish kill in the Pecos River and has since been responsible for fish kills in the Colorado, Canadian, Wichita, Brazos, Rio Grande, San Jacinto and Red river systems, affecting more than two dozen reservoirs and one coastal bay and killing at least 18 million fish. Golden alga has also impacted fish production at two TPWD fish hatcheries in the past.
Information about golden alga and the latest information on currently occurring blooms and fish kills may be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/environconcerns/hab/ga/.

[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH]
March 10, 2011
Toyota ShareLunker 517: It's Falcon Again
ATHENS--Falcon International Reservoir continued to solidify its status as one of the prime big-bass lakes in Texas March 9 with a 13.56-pound largemouth that became Toyota ShareLunker 517.
Jason Shropshire of Cleveland, Texas, caught the fish about 8:30 a.m. in 22 feet of 70-degree water using a Senko. The fish was 25.125 inches long and 21 inches in girth. It was weighed and held for pick-up at Robert's Fish 'n Tackle, an official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding station in Zapata.
The fish is being held at the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos pending the results of genetic testing to determine if it is pure Florida largemouth or an intergrade having both Florida and northern largemouth genes. If it is 90 percent or more Florida, it will be moved to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens and spawned. If it has less than 90 percent Florida genes, it will be returned to Falcon as soon as possible.
All anglers who enter ShareLunkers into the program receive a fiberglass replica of their catch and ShareLunker clothing and are honored at the annual ShareLunker banquet regardless of whether their fish is used for spawning or not.
After years of low water level during which brush and other vegetation grew up in the dry lake bottom, Falcon rose in 2004 and completely filled in 2008 and again in 2010. "There was tremendous bass production in 2004 and 2005," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) inland fisheries biologist Randy Myers, who manages the lake's fishery. Fish spawned during those years had ample food and places to hide due to all the submerged vegetation and are now reaching the age at which they have had time to grow to 13 pounds.
Shropshire's fish is the thirteenth entry into the Toyota ShareLunker program this season and the fifteenth entry from Falcon. Falcon ranks sixth among Texas reservoirs in ShareLunker production, following Lake Fork (246), Alan Henry (25), Sam Rayburn (23), O.H. Ivie (22), and Conroe (16).
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year's season, see tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.