|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-10-12                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five 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: Michael Baird, (254) 666-5190, michael.baird@tpwd.texas.gov; Larry Hodge, (903) 670-2255, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Oct. 12, 2011
Catfishing's Hot at Squaw Creek Reservoir
ATHENS--Fishing at Squaw Creek is generally synonymous with largemouth bass fishing--and rightly so, since the reservoir has plenty of good-sized largemouth bass for the taking. However, catfish anglers might be unaware of the tremendous opportunity this reservoir provides during the cooler autumn and winter months.
Squaw Creek Reservoir is a 3,272-acre impoundment located in Hood and Somervell counties just off Highway 144 between Glenrose and Granbury. Squaw Creek is owned and operated by Luminant Power and serves as a cooling reservoir for the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Station.
The reservoir was closed for security reasons on September 12, 2001, following the 9/11 attacks on the United States and re-opened to the public in May 2010.
Fish habitat consists mainly of rocky shorelines and flooded timber. Aquatic vegetation is scarce due to artificially high water temperatures maintained year-round by the power station. Angler access to the reservoir is limited from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday through Sunday for bank fishing within the park and Friday through Sunday for boat fishing.
According to spring 2011 survey data, the channel catfish population in Squaw Creek is one of the best in Central Texas, boasting the highest catch rate in survey history for its district. The Squaw Creek catfish population is balanced, with consistent recruitment of young fish, good numbers of larger fish and good-to-excellent body conditions. Ninety-nine percent of sampled individuals were legal size (12 inches) or larger, and individuals up to 28 inches were observed.
Although channels are the dominant catfish species in Squaw Creek, an occasional flathead catfish might also be caught. The current record flathead catfish for the reservoir is 52.5 pounds, and no record exists for channel catfish, meaning no angler has ever turned a channel cat in for the record! So, whether you're trying to fill your freezer with delicious catfish fillets or trying to become the new Squaw Creek channel catfish water body record holder, the catfishing is sure to be hot this coming winter at Squaw Creek.
Contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries office in Waco at (254) 666-5190 for questions or comments regarding fishing regulations. For information on facilities and access, contact Squaw Creek Park at (817) 573-7053.

[ Note: This item is more than five 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: Jim Booker, (903) 670-2266; james.booker@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Oct. 12, 2011
Halloween at the Hatchery Coming Up October 27
Tricks and treats at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS--The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center will host the annual Halloween at the Hatchery the evening of Thursday, October 27.
Local businesses and organizations will hand out free candy, and the center will be decorated throughout with a Halloween theme.
The event runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is expected to attract about 3,000 people. No one will be admitted before 6:00 p.m., and no pets are allowed. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
Admission is $1 per person; proceeds will benefit the Rainbow Room of Henderson County, Henderson County Humane Society and the East Texas Crisis Center.
Halloween at the Hatchery is TFFC's way of giving East Texas families a safe place to go trick-or-treating while raising money for local causes. The Anglers Pavilion will be the site of a fright-free area featuring prize and game booths for small children. Parents wishing to visit this area should park in the overflow parking lot on Peninsula Point Road and enter through Gate C.
Decorations for the event are made possible by sponsor donations, and local businesses and organizations provide candy and hand it out to visitors. Sponsors at press time included: The Vault; Athens Steel Building; The Realty Crew; Southside Bank; Dallas Manufacturing; KCKL; Red Hat Rentals; Republican Party of Henderson County; Island Tans; Wulf Outdoor Sports; Dr. Stuart Spitzer for State Representative; Heritage Land Bank; Walgreen's; TVEC; Texas Farm Bureau; FutureMatrix Interventional; Brookshire's; Citizens National Bank; Nelson-Putman Propane; First State Bank; and Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership.
Local organizations assisting with decorating include 4-H, Kiwanis Club and the TVCC women's volleyball team.
Sponsors wishing to reserve a table to give out candy or organizations wishing to help decorate for the event should contact Jim Booker at (903) 670-2266 by October 20.

[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Oct. 12, 2011
The Skinny on Bass at Lake Cisco
ATHENS--Why are there so many skinny bass in Lake Cisco? Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologist Spencer Dumont explains.
Cisco historically has been a good bass lake known for giving up some big largemouth bass, including a 13.2-pounder in 2007. Unfortunately, it is also known for its many small, skinny bass. Lake Cisco is a relatively unproductive lake to begin with, and when you add in four years of dropping water levels with virtually no input of nutrients from rain events, you get a recipe for unhealthy fish populations.
The Inland Fisheries crew of TPWD's Abilene district office recently completed an electrofishing survey at Lake Cisco with the help of one of our trusted volunteers, Chris Love. This survey, like all our electrofishing surveys, was done to determine the current status of largemouth bass and sunfish populations in the lake.
One of the first things we look at during drought years is how many young bass from the spring spawn are left in the fall. We collected only 14 young bass in one hour of electrofishing at Cisco, but the average for the lake and for area lakes is 50 young bass per hour of electrofishing. In other words, survival of young bass was very poor, because there wasn't enough to eat and there were fewer places to hide from other predators.
Another thing we look at is how many adult bass (bass 8 inches and longer) are present. First, the good news. There were over 100 bass in one hour of electrofishing, which is the most we have seen at Cisco since 1999 and well above the average for the lake (78/hour) and the area (66/hour). The bad news is 86 percent of the adult bass were less than 12 inches long; they were three and four years old; and they were very skinny. Instead of a rounded belly and thick back, they had a sunken belly and were rail-thin across the back.
All this adds up to a stunted largemouth bass population where fewer individuals grow to a larger size. From a management viewpoint, we could put a regulation in place that allows anglers to harvest smaller bass. However, Cisco doesn't have enough fishing effort and harvest potential for a slot regulation to work. The real answer lies with Mother Nature. A significant rain event would flush in nutrients and flood habitat, resulting in more microscopic plants and animals, then more forage fish (shad, silversides, and bluegill), then faster growth of largemouth bass.
Lake Cisco recently caught about a foot of water. While that was nice, it's not nearly enough. The lake is still nearly 20 feet low. In the meantime, fishing can be excellent. Just expect to catch lots of skinny, small bass and an occasional big fish. However, Cisco also has some nice-sized redear and redbreast sunfish for those of you who like panfishing.
Good fishin'.