The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries office in Wichita Falls recently completed fall electrofishing and spring gillnet surveys on Possum Kingdom Reservoir. Fisheries biologists use information from these surveys to develop plans for managing fish populations.
Electrofishing surveys examine populations of largemouth bass and prey species such as sunfish and shad. Gillnet surveys monitor the catfish, white and striped bass populations.
Possum Kingdom has periodically been affected by fish kills caused by golden alga, but the last major kill occurred in spring of 2010. Surveys indicate that fish populations have done relatively well since then.
While the largemouth bass catch rate for young bass 10 inches and less in length was down from 2010, the catch rate for legal length bass was up. “To help the bass population, we have developed a plan to increase habitat in the Cedar Creek area,” said fisheries biologist Robert Mauk. “The plan includes sinking cedar trees along the shoreline to increase fingerling bass survival. Native vegetation plantings and sunken constructed habitat structures will aid adult bass and congregate them for anglers. We also have requested that the reservoir be stocked with Florida largemouth bass this year. The last stocking occurred in 2011.”
The gizzard shad catch rate matched the historical average for the reservoir, but a majority of the shad were too large for most predators to consume. Bluegill numbers were up compared to 2010 but were still below the historical average. Threadfin shad were found in low abundance.
Spring gillnetting found the catfish populations to be in good shape. Blue catfish abundance was the highest documented for the reservoir, and they ranged in length from 10 to 33 inches. The channel catfish catch rate was unchanged from the previous survey and was above the historical average for the reservoir. Catfish were found throughout the reservoir, but the biggest blue catfish were observed in the Caddo Creek area.
The gillnetting survey showed low numbers of striped bass; sizes ranged from 22 to 26 inches in length. “Their catch rate was the lowest we have seen, though this is not surprising since the last stocking occurred in 2010 after a major fish kill caused by golden alga,” Mauk said. “Striped bass have been requested annually, but the hatcheries have not been able to produce enough to meet the state’s needs. This year we hope to get some stocked into the reservoir.”
White bass numbers were up from the 2011 survey but were slightly below the historical average. “Fish ranged in size from 7 to 15 inches in length with good body condition,” Mauk noted. “Most were located between the Peanut Patch and Costello Island.”
Currently there are only three boat ramps available for launching, those at North and South D&D (also known as BRA Areas #4N and #4S) and one lane at Possum Kingdom State Park. Shoreline access is available for anglers at all public access areas. For information on lake access, contact the Brazos River Authority at (940) 779-2321. A water recreational use water permit from the BRA is required for boats.
Logo courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department