Sam Rayburn Reservoir 2018 Survey Report media download(PDF 1.1 MB)

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Sam Rayburn Reservoir - 2018 Survey Report

Prepared by Todd Driscoll and Dan Ashe
Inland Fisheries Division – Jasper District

This is the authors' summary from a 39-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Fish populations in Sam Rayburn Reservoir were surveyed in 2018 using electrofishing and in 2019 using gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from June 2018 through May 2019 with a creel survey. 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.

Reservoir Description

Sam Rayburn Reservoir is an 111,422-acre impoundment of the Angelina River in Angelina, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Sabine, San Augustine, and Tyler counties in southeast Texas. Water level fluctuations average 6 to 7 feet annually. Aquatic habitat consists of aquatic vegetation (primarily hydrilla and American lotus) and standing timber.

Management History

The black bass fishery is the most popular at Sam Rayburn Reservoir (70 - 80% of annual angling effort, which includes over 400 bass tournaments per year). Approximately 10 - 15% of anglers target crappie and 5 - 10% target catfish. Angler interest in more restrictive length limits for Largemouth Bass and potential biological and economic impacts of bass tournaments prompted research from 2004 - 2009. Results indicated that the proportion of the Largemouth Bass population harvested was relatively low (9%) and more restrictive length limits would provide little benefit. In addition, impacts of tournaments on the Largemouth Bass population were low (only 5% of population retained by tournament anglers) but tournament expenditures were high (66% of total). Florida Largemouth Bass (FLMB) have been stocked annually since 1994 to increase abundance of large bass (>8 pounds). Giant salvinia was found in the reservoir in 2008, and is now present in a majority of creeks and embayments. Coverage exceeded 4,000 acres in 2014, but aggressive herbicide treatments along with high inflows and flushing have reduced abundance to < 2,000 acres.

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