Lake Fork 2003 Survey Report media download(0 B)

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Lake Fork - 2003 Survey Report

Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Randall A. Myers
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas

This is the authors' summary from a 48-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Lake Fork was surveyed from June 2003 to May 2004 using electrofishing, trap netting, gill netting, an access point creel survey, and an aquatic vegetation survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.

Reservoir Description

Lake Fork is located in Wood, Hopkins, and Rains counties, Texas on Lake Fork Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River. It was constructed by the Sabine River Authority to provide water for municipal, industrial, and recreational uses. Angler access is good with four public boat ramps and numerous private boat ramps and marinas. Limited bank access is available at public boat ramps, a day-use area operated by the controlling authority, and through a number of marinas. Littoral zone aquatic habitat is diverse with timber, native emergent plants, and native floating plants occurring along 50%, 46%, and 22% of the lake shoreline, respectively (Storey and Myers 2002). Bulkhead, concrete, and rip-rap are present along less than 6% of the shoreline, and boat docks in combination with other habitat types occupy 9% of the shoreline (Storey and Myers 2002). Total coverage of aquatic plants accounted for 10% of the reservoir surface area, with hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) being the most abundant plant (6.6%). The distribution and abundance of hydrilla has continued to increase during the last three years providing additional cover beneficial to centrarchids. During the last year, lake elevation declined to its lowest level since February 2000, but at its lowest (January 2004) was only 2.5 feet below conservation pool elevation. By the end of May 2004, the water level returned to conservation pool elevation. Water hyacinth coverage has declined following herbicide treatment in spring/summer 2003, but surveys and treatments will continue on an annual basis.

Fish Community

Management Strategies

Largemouth bass are vital to Lake Fork and the local economy (Hunt et al. 1996), so management strategies are geared to maintain and enhance this prestigious fishery. The harvest regulation for largemouth bass changed on September 1, 2000 to the current 16-24 inch slot length limit with a 5-fish daily bag limit of which only one fish can be >24 inches total length. Data from the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey will be used to document the catch of trophy bass and fish above the upper end of the slot-length limit. Since 2001, Florida largemouth bass have been stocked annually in a 5,000-acre embayment of Caney Creek, north of the Highway 154 bridge at an effective rate of 100 fish/acre to increase the frequency of FLMB in the largemouth bass population. In fall, 2004, age-1 largemouth bass will be tested to determine if differences exist in the proportion of FLMB and pure Florida bass between the stocked area and the remainder of the lake. Monitoring of water hyacinth distribution and coverage will continue and recommendations will be made for further treatment as needed.

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Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-29 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program

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