Lake Fork 2004 Survey Report media download(PDF 1.4 MB)

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Lake Fork - 2004 Survey Report

Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Aaron K. Jubar
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas

This is the authors' summary from a 41-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Lake Fork was surveyed from June 2004 to May 2005 using electrofishing, 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 hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) accounted for 13.4% of the lake surface area, up from 6.6% in 2003. During the last year, lake elevation has remained within 1.5 feet of conservation pool elevation. Water hyacinth coverage has increased compared with the previous year and surveys and treatments should be continued 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 indicates 32% of trophies reported since March 2003 were longer than 24 inches, an indication of the effectiveness of the slot-length limit regulation. 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. Electrophoretic analysis of age-1 largemouth bass collected in fall 2003 and 2004 indicated no significant difference in genetic composition between stocked and un-stocked areas of the reservoir. In fall 2005, a sample of age-1 fish from stocked and un-stocked areas will be compared again for differences in genetic composition. 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-30 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program

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