Belton Reservoir 2022 Survey Report

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Belton Reservoir - 2022 Survey Report

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

This is the authors' summary from a 44-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Fish populations in Belton Reservoir were surveyed in 2020 and 2022 using electrofishing and in 2023 using gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from December 2022 through February 2023 with a creel survey targeting Blue Catfish anglers as part of a statewide catfish project. Historical data are presented with the 2020-2023 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 nearly 10 feet above conservation pool (594 feet above mean sea level) to 14.5 feet below conservation pool between August 2019 and May 2023. Mean and maximum water depths are 37 and 124 feet respectively and the reservoir is classified as mesotrophic with Secchi depth averaging around six feet (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality 2011). Habitat features consisted mainly of rock/sand shorelines, bluffs, standing timber and riprap.

Management History

Important sport fish include Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, White Bass, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish and White Crappie. Smallmouth Bass were most recently stocked in 2015, 2018 and 2021. Historically, Palmetto Bass were the Hybrid Striped Bass (HSB) species of choice, being regularly stocked from 1977 to 2018. However, Sunshine Bass have been the only HSB species stocked since 2020. Native vegetation planting took place in 2012 and artificial fish habitat was deployed in 2021 and 2023. Despite a robust public relations campaign and associated efforts, Zebra Mussels were confirmed in Belton Reservoir in August 2013, and the reservoir remains infested. The statewide regulation for Blue and Channel Catfish changed on September 1, 2021; the current regulations are in this report. More recent management efforts have focused on fry density stocking evaluations for HSB, an evaluation of stocking effects on Smallmouth Bass recruitment, additional artificial habitat work and maintaining aquatic invasive species (AIS) signage and educating constituents about the threat of AIS.

Fish Community

Management Strategies

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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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