Wheeler Branch Reservoir 2017 Survey Report media download(PDF 550.7 KB)

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Wheeler Branch Reservoir - 2017 Survey Report

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

This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Fish populations in Wheeler Branch Reservoir were surveyed with one or more of the following gears annually since the last report: fall electrofishing, spring bass-only electrofishing and spring gill netting. Historical data are presented with the 2017-2018 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

Wheeler Branch Reservoir is a 180-acre impoundment located within the Paluxy River system in Somervell County, Texas. Maximum depth is 85 feet. Water level is maintained by pumping water from the Paluxy River during periods of high flow. Wheeler Branch Reservoir is an oligotrophic reservoir with water transparencies typically ranging from 10 to 15 feet. Habitat features consist of flooded cedars around the periphery, flooded standing timber in deeper water, brush piles, rock piles and ledges.

Management History

Wheeler Branch opened to the public on September 1, 2011. Prior to opening, the reservoir was stocked with Florida Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, Threadfin Shad, Inland Silverside, Longear and Redear Sunfish – and sampled extensively with electrofishing and gill netting. Three important regulations were proposed and initiated September 1, 2011: 1) fishing by pole and line only; two poles per angler, 2) a 14 to 21-inch slot length limit, 5 fish bag only one of which can exceed 21 inches for Largemouth Bass, and 3) a 18-inch minimum length limit, 3 fish bag for Smallmouth Bass. Since the reservoir’s opening, Wheeler Branch has been sampled annually with one or more gears including fall electrofishing, spring gill netting, and spring bass-only electrofishing. Additionally, a year-long angler creel survey was implemented from June 2013 through May 2014. A public relations campaign began within the district to inform and educate constituents about zebra mussels in order to prevent their spread into Wheeler Branch Reservoir. Somervell County employees were trained about zebra mussels, and how to inspect boats and trailers entering the reservoir.

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-3 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program

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