10,000 fish come to Lake Houston
- Written by Susan McFarland
Lake Houston has 10,000 new aquatic residents as of last Wednesday, June 5. The new bass are 3 inches long and were deposited in the lake by the Lake Houston Sports and Recreation Foundation, with assistance from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The fish were purchased by LHSRF for $7,500, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department covered the expense of distributing the fish in the lake, according to David Otis, a local Realtor and one of the founders of LHSRF. The fish were brought in by a truck with a large tank and then distributed. “They put the fish in different parts of the lake to ensure low mortality rate. If you put the fish in the shallows where they have some cover, they have a great chance to live,” said Otis. The fish used for stocking come from a Florida strain, which have a genetic predisposition to grow larger than native Texas large mouth bass. LHSRF has been working to make sure the new fish will have enough vegetation to eat to thrive. Lake Houston has had issues with water clarity in the past, due to sediment from sand and gravel mining operations along waterways feeding the lake. The sediment flows into the lake and blocks sunlight, making it difficult for vegetation to thrive and provide needed food for Lake Houston fish. To help combat this issue, the Texas Legislature passed a bill last year, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Huberty and state Sen. Tommy Williams, that tightens regulations on mining operations upstream to reduce sediment flowing into the lake. In addition, LHSRF has been working with TPWD to establish new vegetation along the Lake Houston shoreline this summer. The new vegetation should help to filter the sediment and restore a positive ecosystem for plant life and in turn provide necessary fish food. Beyond the fish stocking and vegetation projects, LHSRF is also working to improve boater safety by coordinating with the City of Houston to improve depth markers and channel buoys. “It’s not just about the fishing. It’s improving the habitat that helps with the water clarity, erosion, and the silt problem and improving the overall perception of Lake Houston,” said Otis. LHSRF currently has approximately 150 members and is funded primarily by member donations. The group holds several annual events to increase awareness about the organization and increase membership, including a fishing tournament, a golf tournament, a poker run and a skeet shoot. More information can be found on the group’s website at www.lakehoustonsports.com.