Butcher Pen Lake levels going down after breach

Published: Nov. 1, 2019 at 10:44 PM CDT
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Butcher Pen Lake, tucked inside Johnston County near the Washita River is a hot spot for hunters and fishermen, but one county official says because the water levels are so low, this area's days could be numbered.

"You really got to want to hunt to get in there," said David Sweeden.

Sweeden wanted to spend his afternoon hunting near Butcher Pen Lake, but says getting the boat on the water has been a hassle.

"(It effects) our access to the state property over to our west and north, so now its just a longer trip to get in there," said Sweeden.

Butcher Pen Fire Chief and Johnston County EMS member Jason Bryant says heavy rains last week caused a breach on a bank that separates the lake from the Washita River.

The water from the lake causes the river to go higher, but in turn, causes the lake levels to drop.

"This is a pretty good breach. It's going to take a while to recover from this," said Bryant.

Bryant says close to 50 hunters and fishermen use the lake every week.

He says the lake is at least five feet below normal and could drop even lower.

"Somebody would have to come in with skid steers or some big equipment to fix it, and I don't know if it's on anyone's top priority list," said Bryant.

Sweeden says despite the lake levels dropping constantly, this has been his favorite place to hunt and fish for over a decade and doesn't plan on stopping.

"It'll affect us, but probably not going to sell out and move," said Sweeden, laughing.

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