On Tuesday, October the 4th the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department out of San Angelo came to Ballinger to check for fish in the New Ballinger Lake. As low as the lake had been without being stocked there was a question as to whether there was much to speak of at all.
Out on the trip were Lynn Wright, fishery biologist, and technicians john Ingle and Charles Cruz. It became clear at our first stop that the shad population is booming. When the lake is stocked with game fish it looks like they will have plenty of feeder fish to eat on and grow.
To the dismay of many, the carp and gar population do not seem to have suffered much. We saw plenty of them throughout the study. Although not a part of the study the recently stocked channel cat seem to be doing well. There were several seen that could have weighed close to 2 pounds or slightly more.
Of note during the study were a total of 13 largemouth bass that were 8 inches or above along with many less lengthy. Still somewhat on the small side there is good news. Mr Wright said, “Those bass that we saw are from this past Spring spawn. That’s good news cause that means there was a spawn.”
Larger bass might not have been seen, but there are at least some that have survived through the drought. The population is small as it is, but will provide a nice jumpstart once the new fish are brought in next year.
There were similar signs in the crappie population, though not quite as promising as the bass. Bluegill and other sunfish were not numerous, but they were present. These populations will only continue to bounce back with a larger aquatic area in which to live.
For Ballinger residents looking to fish the news could definitely be worse. We have a small, but growing, fish population and a full lake. Prospects are looking better than they have in the very recent past.