Lake Proctor Texas loaded with fish
Lake Proctor loaded with fish
By Spencer Dumont / March 27, 2007
The Abilene inland fisheries crew of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department recently completed a spring gill net survey on hybrid striped bass, white bass, and catfish populations at Lake Proctor as part of a routine monitoring program. Surveys are conducted every two to four years to determine numbers and sizes of catfish and true bass (white bass and hybrids).
Information collected from these surveys is used to make management decisions that enhance or maintain fishing opportunities.
The survey at Lake Proctor this spring was spectacular; hybrid striped bass, white bass, and channel catfish are really doing well and, combined with low water levels that are condensing the fish, quality fishing opportunities abound at this fertile reservoir.
Hybrid striped bass numbers have been down for quite some time because of missed stockings, fish going over the spillway, and low water levels. But, for now, that trend has been reversed. Our catch of hybrids this spring was the highest we have ever seen at Lake Proctor, matching the catch from 1989. With just five nets, we collected 193 hybrids, a phenomenal catch rate, especially when you compare this to 15 fish in 1998, 40 in 2001, and only four in 2003. Also encouraging was these fish ranged in size from 9 to 25 inches long. Fifty-three percent of the fish were legal size (18 inches) or longer, and 42% of the fish were 19-21 inches long. I doubt there is a better hybrid striped bass population anywhere in the state.
White bass were first discovered in Lake Proctor in 2001. They likely got into Lake Proctor from Lake Leon sometime in the mid- to late 90s and are taking full advantage of abundant shad populations; we collected one white bass in 2001, 33 in 2003, and 104 in 2007. Most of the white bass we collected this spring were 11-14 inches long, but we have heard plenty of stories about bigger fish. If you like white bass fishing, Lake Proctor would be a good choice.
Whatever is in the water, channel catfish seem to love it as well; we had the highest catch ever recorded at Lake Proctor for channel cat this spring. Channel catfish, like many fish species at Lake Proctor, seriously declined from 1998 to 2001 during the drought. However, they started a comeback in 2003 as catch rates improved, and we saw lots of smaller catfish. Apparently they have fully recovered, and then some, because we collected fish from 7-21 inches long, and 51% of the channel catfish we collected were legal size (12 inches) or longer. Catches of channel catfish like this are rare in this area of Texas, so take advantage of it while you can because it may not be this good for long.
Crappie and largemouth bass are also numerous. Lake Proctor has tremendous fishing opportunities right now, regardless of what you like to catch.
Spencer Dumont is a fisheries biologist with the TPWD. For more information on area reservoirs and fish populations, contact the Abilene inland fisheries district office at (325) 692-0921