In the fall of 2012, the staff from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries district offices published a report stemming from electrofishing information numbers to calculate the best bass fishing lakes in Texas.
From that report, we’ve put together a list of Texas’ best bass fishing lakes heading into the 2013 season.
The report used electrofishing information from over 4,800 bass measuring 8 inches and longer, captured in a 78-hour electrofishing period at 935 locations on 62 reservoirs.
The report breaks down not only the best overall bass lakes, but the top 10 populations in terms of quantity, quality and preferred bass.
Best Quantity: Most Productive Lakes for Small Bass
According to the report, the best lake in terms of catch rates (spitting out bass from 8-13 inches) was Sam Rayburn Reservoir, which averaged 161 fish collected and hour if you can believe that. Imagine if an actual day on the water was like that. You could catch over 1,500 fish in less than 10 hours of fishing. On average, the number of 8-13 inch trout caught per fishery was 44 an hour. Here were some other productive bass lakes:
Sam Rayburn Reservoir (161/hour)
Toledo Bend (90/hour)
Walter E. Long (86/hour)
Eagle Mountain (84.6/hour)
Ray Hubbard (81.5/hour)
Lake o’ the Pines and Lake Raven (75/hour)
Best Quality: Best Lakes for Quality Bass
Now that we know where to find the most fish, fisheries like Lake Raven are where anglers can catch the most preferred bass (which officials said were in the 14-17 inch range). Lake Raven took the top spot in terms of preferred bass, collecting 75 big bass per hour during the electrofishing period. Here’s a look at the rest of the best preferred bass fisheries:
Keep in mind, quality bass were defined as those from 14 to 17 inches long. Lake Raven took the top spot for quality bass with a whopping 75 bass collected per hour of electrofishing. On average, Texas’ lakes net 13 big pass per hour. The rest of the top ten were:
Lake Raven (75/hour)
Walter E. Long (62/hour)
Sam Rayburn (35.5/hour)
Amon Carter (25/hour)
Coleman, Gibbons Creek and Toledo Bend (21/hour).
Trophy Bass: Top Lakes for Preferred Bass
In terms of trophy bass in the 18 inch or longer category, there was a much shorter list as Bastrop and Raven took the top spot at 10 fisher per hour.
On average, the lakes only spit out an average of three 18 inch or bigger fish during the electrofishing period. Here’s a look at the other top 10 fisheries:
Bastrop and Raven (10/hour)
Jacksonville, Houston County, Ray Hubbard, Sam Rayburn and Sweetwater (7/hour)
Mackenzie, Murvaul, Proctor and Stamford (6/hour)
Top Ten Overall
So what did the report conclude in terms of the best overall reservoir, based on the combination of small, quality and preferred bass caught during that electrofishing period?
According to the report, the best overall experience was a tied between Sam Rayburn and Walter E. Long.
Here’s a look at the rest of the list:
Walter E. Long
So how much stock should we put into these numbers?
Well, don’t expect the same kind of results, that’s for sure, says Spencer Dumont of the TPWD.
“Electrofishing gives an indication of how abundant bass of different sizes are in a reservoir,” Dumont said. “Also, electrofishing does not generally collect very large fish. There may well be larger fish in a reservoir than show up in electrofishing surveys. Falcon would be a good example. We know that lake has lots of big bass, but it’s very hard to collect them with electrofishing.”
Dumont also noted that not every lake in the state was included in the sample, so it’s not an exact science.
Lake Fork, for example, is a hugely popular bass lake but it didn’t return a standout sample during the particular time table which could be for a number of reasons and trends.
So Dumont concluded that these results will likely change from year to year depending on conditions, fishery management and those trends.
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