LAKE TEXOMA-- Empty parking lots, one camper, and a bird on the water -- a pretty ordinary sight for Lake Texoma in the winter. But not much else has been normal recently.
The lack of rain through the summer and fall and a warmer than average winter turned the premiere boating and fishing spot into a hotbed for blue green algae.
And low water levels across the lake have made life tough on the fish.
"Rainfall is extremely beneficial the past 24 hours to Lake Texoma," B.J. Parkey with the Army Corps of Engineers said. "Within the past 12 hours, the lake has gained 4/10ths of a foot, elevation and within the past 18 hours, 8/10ths of a foot."
And the Corps of Engineers believe lake levels will continue to rise. With the Red River and Washita River also filling up with rain, the Corps said the water in Lake Texoma will start circulating again. But that can be good and bad for blue green algae.
Experts said the circulation should cause the algae count to go down, but new nutrients might help it thrive.
"The advisory level that we are currently under really discourages primary body contact, which is actually contacting the water with your body like a situation where you would be swimming or waiting, something like that," Paul Balkenbush, Environmental Specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers, said.
While fishing was never directly affected by the algae, experts say a rise in lake levels will improve conditions for popular game fish like striped bass.
"If we can get that water back close to the vegetation along the shoreline, and that's very good for the other species along the shoreline," Balkenbush said.
Tests in January showed algae levels were down. And with help of the recent rains, the Corps of Engineers expects that trend to continue.