Not long ago I posted the survey numbers from the T.P.W.D. Ray Hubbard survey report. The numbers were way off. So I wrote to them. As promised here is the response that came back. I had asked them several questions of my own. And some questions others had posed to me. I explained that I work on the R.H.S.A. Board. As I had stated in my first post. There is no one factor involved here. It is a possible myriad of reasons/causes. Having said that here is the reply:
Thanks for your concern regarding the hybrid striped bass population in Ray Hubbard Reservoir. We are very grateful for the effort the RHSA has put into improving the hybrid population in Ray Hubbard. In regards to the report catch rates, yes it appears the catch rates have decreased. However when it comes to sampling for white bass and hybrids it can be a timing situation where we are setting our nets when the fish are moving up river or creek to spawn Also our nets are randomly set and also target catfish species. Thus we set nets in locations where you would not normally catch the whites or hybrids. Research has also shown that white bass populations are based on water flow during the spring spawning run. Generally, if water in the creeks and river is flowing, the greater spawning success the white bass will have. Prior to the last couple of years, the white bass have suffered in all DFW area lakes because of lack of rainfall and water flow.
You make good points in regards to possible overharvest of the hybrids when they are mixed in with the schools of white bass during the spawn. To get a better handle on this we would have to collaborate with the game wardens to survey anglers to determine what the misidentification rate is and go from there. It would be impossible to stop the fishing activities during the spawning run because of the general nature of fishing in public waters and the fact that the white bass are probably not at risk of overfishing in a large reservoir like Ray Hubbard. However there could definitely be over harvest of the hybrids, especially since we have limited fish to stock and rely on anglers to be able to correctly differentiate between the species. Several years ago a biologist had an idea to combine the white bass and hybrid striped bass bag limit. I think his idea was to reduce the bag limit to 10 fish, 5 of which could only be over 18 inches. It did not get passed but maybe this is something I need to get more details on.
We probably have a similar situation on Lake Lewisville. There were a lot of hybrids that were in the 10-14 inch group. You could catch them very easily and they were mixed in with the white bass. Me and my crew thought how easy it would be to over harvest the hybrids because of misidentification and because they were so easy to catch.
Thanks again for your concern and the effort you and the RHSA put into the Ray Hubbard fishery.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
District Fisheries Biologist
6200 Hatchery Rd
Fort Worth, TX 76114
817-732-0761 - Office
817-233-5792 - Cell
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