The fishing environment at Possum Kingdom Lake and lakes Granbury and Proctor is getting a significant upgrade thanks to additional fish habitats at the three Brazos River basin reservoirs. The fish habitat projects were joint efforts for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Brazos River Authority, with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers support at Lake Proctor. This habitat provides fish with a place that provides them an enhanced opportunity to spawn, feed, breed and grow to maturity.
The artificial habitats are environmentally safe products that are made of recycled plastic.
“They are environmentally friendly products,” said John Tibbs, a TPWD district supervisor. They have been tested to make sure they don’t contain anything that would be harmful, and that’s important.”
A potential concern to boaters would be whether the habitats might be navigational hazards if lake levels drop.
“We are real careful about where we place the safe havens,” Tibbs said. “They are made of flexible plastic, so they would not damage a boat.”
Tibbs said the TPWD has enjoyed working with the BRA on the project.
“We’re pretty excited about this,” he said. “It’s very beneficial, and we hope to possibly add them to even more reservoirs.”
While fishing has long been a popular activity at Possum Kingdom Lake, golden algae and drought in recent years had depleted some fish populations. Also, degradation of fish habitat due to the natural reservoir aging process limited fish populations.
Since 2013, TPWD, which has partnered with the BRA, Hells Gate Bass Club, and Mineral Wells Bass Club, worked to enhance fish habitat at Possum Kingdom Lake. This has included the placement of artificial reefs, brush piles and planting of vegetation.
Parks and Wildlife also stocked 900,825 Florida Largemouth Bass fingerlings, 994,540 Striped Bass Fry, and 678,718 Striped Bass Fingerlings to boost the fish populations at the reservoir.
There are several types of fish habitat being installed at Possum Kingdom Lake, most are planned and constructed for specific area of the reservoir, taking into account the area’s depth and the contours of the lake bottom.
Structures used include habitats called Safe Havens and Trophy Trees. Safe Haven structures provide tight spaces for sunfish, shad, and crappie while Trophy Trees provide larger spaces for predator fish to ambush prey fish. Safe Haven and Trophy Tree structures stand four-feet tall and cover 20 square-feet on the lake bottom. Trophy Tree XL stands eight-feet tall covering 20 square feet. Utilizing different structures in the reef is a great way to attract all types of fish to an area.
At PK, three artificial reefs were built at the following locations:
- Rocky Hollow, located off a hump in 10 to 18 feet of water when the lake is full.
- At Bee Creek, located in a ridge in 10 to 20 feet of water when full.
- At Peanut Patch, following a 12 to 15 foot contour when full
A map of the fish habitats located at Possum Kingdom is available at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/possum_kingdom/structure.phtml
A total of 70 fish habitat structures, or “Crappie Condos,” were being placed at various locations around Lake Granbury on Friday, Oct. 7. The work is a joint effort of TPWD and the BRA.
“Crappie condos are short plastic buckets of concrete with bamboo placed in them to provide quality habitat for the fish,” said Tibbs, who will be involved with the fish habitat installation at Lake Granbury.
“We’ve used these before at several other reservoirs with very positive feedback from anglers. They are very effective. They are also inexpensive, so because of that we were able to augment the numbers we’re able to install.”
Among the sites for the fish habitat are the Rough Creek Fishing Pier, bridges on the lake and around the Granbury City Beach Park.
More details on the exact locations of the structures is expected to be available after work is complete.
“We will have GPS coordinates on our website, hopefully within the next few weeks,” Tibbs said.
TPWD, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the BRA worked together on the fish habitat improvement project at Lake Proctor using items such as recycled Christmas tree brush piles and artificial habitat structures.
The structures were placed in areas that will maximize fishing opportunities for anglers while protecting the fish from natural predators. The structures will also help protect the fish during future times of drought.
About 90 habitat structures and 25 brush piles were placed in various reservoir locations to provide the fish habitat.
The locations of the structures are expected to be available on the TPWD website once the project is complete.