Heavy rains raise lake levels

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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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