Calling everyone who likes to fish

Calling everyone who likes to fish

Lakes Possum Kingdom, Belton, and Somerville have received new fish habitats. 

These three lakes in the Brazos River Basin’s water supply system are the latest to benefit from a partnership between the Brazos River Authority and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division.

The two agencies entered into an interlocal agreement in 2016 to begin habitat improvement work on BRA System reservoirs. The partnership was one of the results of the 2011-2015 drought. Several reservoirs were impacted for an extended period during that time, leaving fish spawning locations and nursery habitats dry. While one to two years of less-than-optimal breeding conditions are not likely to impact a reservoir’s fishery, three or more years of interrupted breeding can have significant impacts on the health and diversity of a reservoir’s fishery.

With that knowledge, the two agencies formulated a plan.

Over the next few years, work would be done to improve homes for fish by focusing on adding people-made artificial habitats to deeper portions of a lake.

“The goal of the artificial habitats is to enhance fishery resilience during times of disturbance, like drought,” Tiffany Morgan, environmental and compliance manager for the BRA, has said. The enhanced habitats provide fish areas to spawn, feed, breed and grow to maturity when water levels are low. 

One lake level drop for a short duration isn’t problematic, Malzahn said. 

“It’s three years or more; there can be a fisheries collapse,’” she said. “We got lucky in the 2011 drought that the rain came before we hit that three-year mark, but it was pretty close in some areas.”

There are several different types of fish habitat structures used by the TPWD. Some include using recycled Christmas trees, bamboo stalks, gravel beds, PVC pipe, cinder blocks, and some from the commercial market. Each is designed and fitted to fit the needs of each particular lake. 

In 2023, these were the locations that received fish habitat structures a lakes Possum Kingdom, Somerville, and Belton:

Lake                             Latitude           Longitude 
Somerville                    30.9565            -96.59602    
Somerville                    30.2956            -96.59445    
Somerville                    30.29502          -96.58697    
Somerville                    30.29493          -96.589    
Somerville                    30.29327          -96.58897    
Somerville                    30.34369          -96.57175    
Somerville                    30.34175          -96.57242    
Somerville                    30.32642          -96.57033    
Somerville                    30.32514          -96.57069    
Somerville                    30.34314          -96.574    
Somerville                    30.2969            -96.59647    
Somerville                    30.30505          -96.53463    
Somerville                    30.3239            -96.60068    
Somerville                    30.3247            -96.60103    
Somerville                    30.32287          -96.60541    
Somerville                    30.33501          -96.56536    
Somerville                    30.33159          -96.54731    
Somerville                    30.30984          -96.5733    
Belton                           31.146              -97.5178    
Belton                           31.14142          -97.50919    
Belton                           31.14196          -97.50539    
Belton                           31.14517          -97.48168    
Possum Kingdom        32.912363        -98.472554    
Possum Kingdom        32.918265        -98.46473    
Possum Kingdom        32.920429        -98.465208    
Possum Kingdom        32.921692        -98.464947    
Possum Kingdom        32.92111          -98.466533    

The TPWD provides maps of the different habitats, as well as Global Position System (GPS) coordinates. To view the locations of all the fish habitat structures go here