Black Bass and Crappie Use of Installed Habitat Structures in Table Rock Lake, Missouri
Summary: Reservoirs are important resources utilized by thousands of freshwater anglers annually, but as these reservoirs age, their physical habitat deteriorates and fish habitat quality is reduced. In 2007, a large scale habitat improvement project began on Table Rock Lake, Missouri with the goal of supplementing existing fish habitat in this large reservoir. Over 2,000 habitat structures composed of cedar, pine, hardwoods, stumps, and rocks were installed between 2007 and 2013. SCUBA surveys were used to evaluate black bass and crappie use of the installed habitat structures to determine if use of structures varied among fish species, fish size, season, and structure type.
- Study area was limited to the clearer, “main lake” sections of the lake.
- Structure types included: hardwood tops, cedar trees, pine trees, rock piles, and stump fields.
- Ten of each structure type were selected at random (50 structures total) and surveyed three times between June 15 and September 15 of 2010 and 2011 (300 surveys total).
- Two instantaneous counts were made at each site, by two divers, after a time period of three and five minutes.
- Other factors were measured during surveys such as depth, water clarity (from surface and at structure), DO, structure orientation, temperature, and weather conditions.
- All structure types were utilized by black bass.
- Cedar tree structures were utilized most by crappie species.
- All structure types were utilized by bass or crappie in Table Rock Lake, therefore, costs of each habitat type should be a major consideration when planning habitat installations.
This project was conducted as part of the Table Rock Lake National Fish Habitat Initiative Project with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, and Missouri Department of Conservation.