The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

March 18, 2013

Canton Lake adapting to low water levels

ENID, Okla. — One of the boat docks at Canton Lake has been extended to enable launching of fishing boats.

“The lake association got some money, and we built the boat ramp at (the) Canadian day use ramp,” said Mark Fuqua, of Canton Lake Association.

The ramp is not located in a main camping area. The association is extending the ramp and cleaning out some of the mud in front so small boats can be launched. If the lake raises one or two feet, some smaller boats, such as bass boats, could launch and fish, Fuqua said.

“This is just another way the Canton Lake Association is working to improve the lake and lake conditions,” he said.

Fuqua said the funding was received from a number of sources. CLA members helped with the work, doing preparatory work and helping with cement pouring and finishing.

Fuqua estimated the dock was extended about 15 feet. CLA members are talking with the Army Corps of Engineers to extend ramps in the Big Bend area and possibly do some repairs.

The lake took a big hit earlier this year, when Oklahoma City exercised its rights and withdrew 30,000 acre feet of water to be used as drinking water. The water level at Canton Lake recently has risen about one foot because of some rain and snow, but Fuqua estimated another three feet is needed for small boats.

“It needs to come up another three feet for small boats, and it needs to come up quite a bit to keep the fish out of jeopardy come summer,” he said.

The annual Walleye Rodeo still is scheduled for May 16-19. Fuqua said events are lined up to accompany the lake activities, including a barbecue cook-off, auto show, Red Dirt Music Fest, sand castle sculpting contest and wind sailing.

“It’s not quite deep enough for skiing. Any type of big bottom boats will struggle,” Fuqua said. “There’s quite a difference between lightweight fishing boats and a larger ski vessel being on the water.”

Several fish were tagged for the Walleye Rodeo and placed from the spilling basin into the lake. One fish tagged was a 10-pound walleye.

“That’s good news. There will be tagged fish there for the Walleye Rodeo. If someone catches one, they will make some money,” Fuqua said.

There were some doubts about whether the Walleye Rodeo could be held after the withdrawal of water by Oklahoma City. The lake level had fallen due to the ongoing drought, and the removal of the water by Oklahoma City brought the level down to dangerously low levels, CLA members said.

Members and local businesses are hoping for sufficient spring rain to bring the lake back close to former levels, but generally consider it unlikely before the rodeo in May.

For more information on state lake levels falling below normal, check out Oklahoma Watch’s analysis HERE.

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