Lake Levels Cause Fish Population Decrease

Low lake levels are having a serious impact on the fish in our lakes. There are fewer fish because the little ones are not surviving. Numbers show Lake Arrowhead's fish population is decreasing due to poor habitat conditions.

Newschannel 6 spoke with Texas Parks And Wildlife and learned low water levels affected the fish spawning season, which is going to impact us for years.

Wes Dutter, Fish And Wildlife Technician says right now his crew is surveying for largemouth bass fish populations. What really caught their attention was the lack of baby fish in Lake Arrowhead. With fewer younger fish in the lakes, a few years down the road we can be seeing a significant decrease in fish.

Despite the recent rainfall water levels in Lake Arrowhead continue to stay low. Now the very shallow fish habitats in the lake is affecting fish reproduction. Dutter, "If the weather stays the way it is and we don't get a good spawning off this coming spring, we could probably see our numbers of largemouth bass decreasing."

Dutter says their survey of largemouth bass showed there are fewer fish habitats. Adult fish are not able to use the under water natural habitats for laying eggs and younger fish no longer have it for  protection. "We don't have a good year class coming up. We are going to be dependent on the adult fish that are out there right now." But being dependent on the previous years fish will only last so long.

Dutter says stocking the lakes with more largemouth bass fish is not an option at this point. "The smaller fish we would stock in there this coming spring would not have enough habitat to protect themselves."

Because Lake Arrowhead is one of the areas busiest lakes, Dutter says he is praying on more rain like everyone else. But until then he says, "Hopefully we can get some rains and restock and then keep the population the way it is or maybe improve it."

Wes Dutter says for the fish habitat to be full and plentiful lakes levels will have to rise four to five feet at Lake Arrowhead.

Texas Parks And Wildlife tells Newschannel 6 they never put restrictions in place in regards to fishing no matter how low a fishing population gets. So the same rule will apply, any fish smaller than 14 inches cannot be taken out of the lakes.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6