Heavy rains raise lake levels

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

It's been one of the wettest springs the area has seen in at least 5 years, with rainfall totals from normal to 3 times normal across Lake Texoma.

The Army Corps of Engineers says over the past few years they've seen drought conditions at the lake, but with all the recent rainfall they're no longer worried about lakes drying up, now their concern is flood control.

An open floodgate is a welcome sight after much drier conditions in years past.
"It's a fisherman's dream, just have got to keep fishing," said Pecos Fulfer, a Flower Mound, Texas resident who came to the lake Wednesday to fish in the open floodgates.

Fishermen caught plenty of striper swimming through the gates, while others simply came to watch the water flow. The level sits at about 621 feet, but it's expected to rise even higher this weekend.
Those higher levels could be good for fishing, but could also be dangerous for boaters.

"These are uncharted waters now because things are floating, things change daily here. You may go some place today and tomorrow a big tree floats in and gets stuck there so you've got to be real careful on how you boat," said Dwain McBee, of the Army Corps of Engineers.

In addition to safety on the lake, the Army Corps of Engineers works to ensure safety in areas downstream from the lake's floodgates.
Over at Highport Marina, the water has risen above the ramps leading to the courtesy dock and is now within feet of the restaurant.

Managers say they're happy to start the summer season with high water levels.

"We love high water, it's good for our business,” said Tim Hayes, general manager at Highport Marina. “People come to the high water; they don't come to the low water. The boating in the lake is spectacular, we have fishing because the fresh cold water is spectacular, and it’s just been a great year for us so far."

As fishermen bring home their catch of the day, they keep their fingers crossed for even more rain.

"I hope it rains for the next 3 weeks so it will stay open so we can fish more," Fulfer said.

The Army Corps of Engineers did close the floodgates this afternoon, but say they may reopen them tomorrow. They expect the lake to crest at 624 feet sometime next week.

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  • by Sheri Location: Dallas on Jun 2, 2007 at 07:45 PM
    Hey Gary, Without all this rain you wouldn't even have hay to mow! Remember last year when your fields were burned to a crisp? Boy, some people are never happy...sheesh!
  • by Lori Location: Flower Mound on Jun 2, 2007 at 06:49 PM
    To Gary in Tom Beam: So what are you saying? People shouldn't fish or enjoy the lakes because your hay field is wet? There are pros and cons with most weather conditions. When it's dry, there are fires. When it's wet, there are floods. For most Texans, it's nice to finally see the lakes approaching normal levels.
  • by Steve Location: Ratliff City on Jun 1, 2007 at 07:46 PM
    I look at it this way: Every profession has its downfall, farmers either get to much rain or not enough. Right now its the oilfield booming where I live and I'm taking advantage of it, if I were a farmer I guess I would be upset about all the rain, but when the boom went bust back in the 80's I just went on. I still hunted and fished, so what some people make the best of things, you should do the same.Let's go fishing!
  • by Gary Location: Tom Bean on May 31, 2007 at 09:02 AM
    To Pecos Fulfer, why don't you stop and think about those of us who are loosing time and money waiting for hay fields to dry to work or for the wheat farmers who are watching a crop rot in the field, which looked like it was going to be a real good crop. Too many people in our area are focusing too much on fun and not thinking about what is actually sustaining our lives. Its agriculture that really keeps us alive by providing food, clothing, etc.
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