Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir 2004 Survey Report media download(PDF 1 MB)

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Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir - 2004 Survey Report

Prepared by Michael S. Baird and John E. Tibbs
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas

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

Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir was surveyed in fall 2004 by boat electrofishing, winter 2004 by trap netting, and spring 2005 by gill netting. This report summarizes survey results and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.

Reservoir Description

Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir is located in a primarily agricultural area, 15 miles east of Waco in McLennan County, Texas. Average reservoir depth is 19 feet with a maximum depth of 42 feet. The reservoir is eutrophic, with water transparencies typically ranging from 2 to 4 feet. The 2,012-acre reservoir was constructed in 1968 by Texas Utilities Generating Company (TXU) to serve as a cooling-reservoir for electrical power generation. Other water uses include recreation. Constant cooling capacity is maintained in the reservoir by auxiliary water from the Brazos River during low water levels or periods of high water temperature. Fish habitat at the time of sampling consisted mainly of aquatic vegetation (e.g., bulrush Scirpus spp. and cattail Typha spp.) and rock riprap.

There are currently no handicap facilities on the reservoir. Bank access is good and boat access points were renovated extensively in spring 2001. Further information about Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir and its facilities can be obtained by visiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site and navigating within the fishing link.

Fish Community

Aquatic Vegetation

Hydrilla was found in trace amounts during summer 2000, 2001, and 2002 vegetation surveys while none was reported during 2003 and 2004. Although hydrilla appears to be under control and no other noxious species currently exist in the reservoir, annual vegetation surveys should continue.

Management Strategies

Based on current information, Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir should continue to be managed with the existing regulations. Although catch rates for certain species are depressed when compared to the 2001 data, condition factors for all species were as good as or better than those calculated in previous surveys. It was postulated that the increase in Hydrilla in the late 1990’s increased the density of available forage species in the reservoir. Conversely, the loss of this vegetative habitat since that time may be responsible for the current low catch rates of forage species – and possibly others like crappie.

Annual gill netting was recommended in the 2001 report to help evaluate potential recruitment problems with channel catfish, and to monitor red drum and white bass populations. Data from this report suggests the channel catfish population has consistent recruitment, and the consistent lack of sub-legal fish in spring gill netting samples has more to do with the temporal component of gill netting, and the possibility of younger fish not being collected by this gear. Non-standard sampling is the only way to determine if these recent views are correct, but none is currently scheduled. No immediate stocking requests are expected for channel catfish in light of this new information.

Crappie stockings will be recommended in the future in an attempt to create a steady, balanced population. Continued annual stocking of red drum is recommended to maintain this popular fishery. Newly adopted stocking and acclimation procedures should be followed to improve post-stocking survival. Research on red drum populations in freshwater power-plants is needed and should include evaluating size-specific post-stocking survival rates and predation rates, determining effective sampling procedures, developing an accurate condition index, and creating accurate aging protocols. The TXU-operated power-plant shifted to a maintenance schedule during winter 2003, and only operates today to perform routine maintenance and system checks. Fractional use of the power plant has resulted in normal reservoir water temperatures throughout the year and without a doubt will have a holistic effect on the fishery. Heated discharge during winter months has enabled the red drum fishery to exist for decades, and without it this fishery is at the mercy of the weather and the severity of future winter temperatures.

Facilities aiding access to the reservoir, including those to be used by physically challenged anglers will be suggested to the McLennan County Commissioner. TXU and other interested agencies should also be contacted and made aware of federal funds (e.g., Boat Ramp Funds) channeled through Texas Parks and Wildlife for such purposes.

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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