Fairfield Lake still struggling to recover

fairfAfter multiple fish kills crippled the Fairfield Lake fishery, most anglers turned their boats toward smoother waters, leaving the lake behind them.

But although the fish populations still haven’t recovered, all hope for the lake isn’t lost, according to Fairfield Lake State Park manager Mike Kleinert.

“I actually went out with fishery biologist Rick Ott recently and we conducted an electroshock survey, and actually did turn up a 30-inch redfish,” Kleinert said. “So there’s still one in there for sure.”

Kleinert said they also brought up some largemouth bass, though none were over 18 inches, in addition to a single channel cat. Most of the bass were found near areas of hydrilla.

“I asked Rick Ott if the survey went how he expected, and he said it was better than he expected,” Kleinert said. “The survey the time before this one hardly any fish were collected.”

Most anglers frequenting the lake have been using a cast net for tilapia, but anglers earlier in the year were having some luck on rod and reel for catfish.

“The majority of anglers right now are throwing cast nets,” he said. “I do know that one night three guys had 65 channel cats they caught on rod and reel.”

The reason Fairfield has experienced fish kills could be traced to the lack of any source of new water, according to Kleinert.

“We’re praying for a hurricane to come and park on top of us and kind of flush this thing,” he said. “That’s the problem; it doesn’t have a steady stream flowing in or out like most of your freshwater lakes. We’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

Kleinert said that Texas Parks and Wildlife are keeping the suspension on stocking the lake in place.

“If you’re just wanting to wet a hook or line, yeah come fish,” he said. “But if you’re wanting to catch a good red, you might want to go to the coast. Tilapia and catfish, I would say, are the predominant target species.

“But we haven’t really had the fishermen out here to tell us what the fishing is like regularly.”