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Check out these enhanced fishing spots at Possum Kingdom Lake

Check out these enhanced fishing spots at Possum Kingdom Lake

Fishing at Possum Kingdom Lake just got better.

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Construction of a fish habitat

Not that it was bad. Just ask the anglers who fished an estimated 182,479 hours between September 2020 and May 2021, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That equates to 7,604 days. That’s a lot of hours.

So, if it’s already so popular, why does it need to be better?

Possum Kingdom Lake

Declining fish habitat from the natural reservoir aging process and the large water fluctuations has kept Largemouth Bass, crappies, and sunfish populations from reaching their full potential. And we wouldn’t want that, would we? Possum Kingdom Lake, located on the main stem of the Brazos River northwest of Fort Worth, was, after all, the first water supply reservoir constructed in the Brazos River basin. The project was authorized through a permit issued by the state of Texas in 1938. That’s 84 years ago. Literally a lifetime ago.

Naturally, those fish homes needed a little sprucing up.

Therefore in 2021, the Brazos River Authority and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, through a continued partnership, enhanced PK’s fish habitats. 

Sixteen habitat structures were constructed and placed in the water supply reservoir. The locations chosen were selected because they provided easy access for boat anglers while minimizing the potential for boating hazards. Each structure covers about 60 square feet and was placed at a depth of 14 to 16 feet around previously placed structures. These man-made habitats were placed in deeper waters, where they are less likely to be affected by drought, and in areas where fish habitat is lacking. And with Texas’ history of weather mood swings, preparing for drought conditions is never a bad move.

How does that improve fishing?

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Location of Mossback Reef Kits and Mossback Enhancements from 2021 on Possum Kingdom Lake.

The enhanced habitats provide fish areas to spawn, feed, breed, and grow to maturity when water levels are low when they might not have been the case previously. More room for fish to grow means more opportunities, not just to make a catch, but to reel in a big one.

This isn’t a new project for the agencies. Since 2013, the BRA, TPWD, the Hells Gate Bass Club, and Mineral Wells Bass Club have placed artificial habitats in different areas of PK. These homes, so to speak, have varied in material. To date, 164 artificial structures have been dropped into the water. To top it off, the TPWD has stocked 900,825 Florida Largemouth Bass fingerlings, 994,540 Striped Bass Fry, 726,565 Striped Bass Fingerlings, and 149,038 Smallmouth Bass Fingerlings to boost the fish populations.  

These man-made habitats are designed to improve the resiliency of our reservoir fish. They will help protect the population and ensure their survival in the event of future prolonged drought. 

The GPS coordinates for these habits are:

•    No. 1: 32⁰ 51.124’, -98⁰ 31.959’
•    No. 2: 32⁰ 51.842’, -98⁰ 30.634’
•    No. 3: 32⁰ 51.881’, -98⁰ 30.298’
•    No. 4: 32⁰ 51.687’, -98⁰ 26.057’
•    No. 5: 32⁰ 51.547’, -98⁰ 26.023’

Improvements this past year were made not just to Possum Kingdom Lake but to two other reservoirs in the Brazos River system: Lakes Whitney and Proctor, which are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Whitney

In November 2021, 56 structures were placed in Lake Whitney at three freshwater fish reefs. The locations of the freshwater fish reefs were selected to provide easy access for bank and boat anglers visiting the reservoir in Bosque and Hill counties.

Lake Whitney, a 23,200-acre impoundment of the Brazos River, is a popular spot for anglers targeting black bass, catfish, striped and white bass, and crappie.

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TPWD: Lake Whitney habitat enhancement

The GPS coordinates and maps of the habitat enhancement sites are available to the public through the TPWD website.

Lake Proctor

The project at Lake Proctor expanded upon existing habitat structures, added new structures to two existing fishing piers, and placed catfish habitat structures. Drought-flood cycles and the decline of fish habitat by sedimentation have resulted in substantial loss of woody debris, other structural habitats, and aquatic vegetation, according to a TPWD report. This has led to drastic declines in fish populations, affecting important fish species such as the largemouth bass, white crappie, blue catfish, and white bass, according to the report.

The GPS coordinates and maps of the habitat enhancement sites are available to the public through the TPWD website.

History

The project to improve fish habitats throughout the Brazos River basin began after witnessing the impacts of the drought that lasted from 2011 through 2015. Lake levels at several BRA system reservoirs were impacted for an extended period, which left prime fish spawning locations and nursing habitats dry. One or two years of dry conditions aren’t optimal for breeding conditions, but it’s not as likely to impact a reservoir’s fishery. However, three or more years of interrupted breeding can have a significant impact on the health and diversity of a reservoir’s fishery.

At that time, the Brazos River Authority and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division collaborated on a long-term project to improve in-lake habitat.

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TPWD: Lake Proctor habitat enhancement project

In 2020, new fish habitats were placed at lakes Limestone, Proctor, and Somerville. In 2018, the BRA worked with TPWD to improve fishing opportunities and upgrade the environment for fish at lakes Aquilla, Georgetown, and Granger. And in 2016, habitat improvements were made at lakes Granbury, Possum Kingdom, and Proctor.

Clear your schedule. Check the weather. Pack your things. It’s time to go fishing!

Find all artificial habitat structures locations here.

Read the full report on the 2021 Possum Kingdom Lake habitat enhancement here.

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