Rain Saves Livelihoods At East Texas Lakes

There is more rain on the way, but water continues to flow into our lakes, and relief into the hearts of those who make the living on the water.  Fishing guides, marinas, and even tackle shops had a hard 2006.

But now, there's a lot of hope for a better year.   One year ago Wednesday, lakes like Fork were desperate for every drop of rain.

"There were very few ramps, when it was down five feet, that were accessible where you could put a boat in," says owner of Lake Fork Marina, Kyle Jones who had a front row seat to what seemed like the lake's demise.

"You'd have seen businesses shut down for sure [had the drought continued]. Whether they'd come back, you don't know," he says.

Many livelihoods depend on the bass fishing. Dan Borchard runs Fisherman's Cove Marina and Restaurant.

"I chose to make an investment expanding my boat ramp, an extension to that, and dredged by my ramp so people could launch safely," Borchard says of the expense that was meant to buy time.  He says he's not regretting the move today.

"Who knows when we're going to have another three or six-year drought."

In it for the long haul, they prayed the rains would come, and they did.  It's a whole new lake now, it seems.  Lake Fork is just a foot below normal.

"I'm ecstatic that it came back up.  I can't rent my slips and I can launch people safely." Borchard says.

The fish habitat has expanded now, so fish are in new locations, in different stages.

Wade Blassingame traveled from Paris, Texas to fish.

"You got spawning -- tree-spawn, and post spawn -- so you got plenty of options," he says.

So does everyone at Lake Fork and other East Texas lakes. What the rain has bought is more time, and a great Summer.

One word of warning about boating on Lake Fork or many other lakes like it: lots of stumps that were exposed and visible during the drought are now just under the surface of the water. Those who know Lake Fork say some boaters travel too fast and one impact could total a boat and cause injuries.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.