Belton Reservoir 2018 Survey Report media download(PDF 1.2 MB)

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Belton Reservoir - 2018 Survey Report

Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division - Waco District

This is the authors' summary from a 36-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Fish populations in Belton Reservoir were surveyed in 2014 with electrofishing, in 2018 using trap netting and in 2019 using gill netting. Electrofishing was not completed in 2018 due to high water during the sampling period. Historical data are presented with the 2018-2019 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings

Reservoir Description

Belton Reservoir is a 12,385-acre impoundment located in Bell County, Texas. Water levels fluctuated from 5 feet below conservation pool (594 feet above mean sea level) to a record high 25 feet over conservation pool between July 2015 and April 2019. Mean and maximum water depths are 37 and 124 feet respectively and the reservoir is classified as mesotrophic with water clarity averaging around six feet. Habitat features consisted mainly of bluffs, rocky shoreline, sandy beaches, and some standing timber.

Management History

Important sport fish include Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, White Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, White Crappie, and catfishes. Blue Catfish and Florida Largemouth Bass were stocked most recently in 2008 and 2016 respectively. Belton currently contains two Hybrid Striped Bass strains. Palmetto Bass have been stocked nearly annually since the 70s, and Sunshine Bass were stocked in 2014 and 2016. Habitat improvement projects began in 2012 when Water Willow was planted at three shoreline sites with the help of Student Conservation Association volunteers. Monitoring of these sites over the next few years confirmed plantings failed due to drought conditions. Despite a robust public relations campaign and associated efforts, Zebra Mussels were confirmed in Belton Reservoir in August 2013, and the reservoir is now infested. Management efforts have since included a comprehensive public relations campaign to further educate Belton user groups about Zebra Mussels, how to inspect and clean, drain and dry their watercraft, and the new statewide water draining laws meant to prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels to other Texas waters. Recent management efforts have focused on fry density stocking evaluations for Hybrid Striped Bass, an evaluation of stocking effects on Smallmouth Bass recruitment and maintaining Zebra Mussel signage at access points around the reservoir and continuing to educate boaters and marina owners about the states’ clean, drain, and dry campaign to prevent the spread of AIS into additional Texas reservoirs.

Fish Community

Management Strategies

Sport Fish Restoration Logo

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

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