Drouth Provides Hidden Benefit for Some Lakes (Posted By Gary Cutrer)
Beautiful Lake Travis just west of Austin was hard hit by the recent/current drouth, dropping some 40 or so feet. But now, after two weeks of rain, sometimes torrential, the lake is on the rise, according to a Oct. 29 news article in the Austin American-Statesman by Mike Leggett.
According toTexas Parks and Wildlife biologist Steve Magnelia, when drouth drives lake levels down, the new vegetation that grows on the exposed formerly underwater areas of the lake acts to renew the lake and help fish populations once the lake refills to normal levels.
Trees, grass and bushes begin to grow on moist, exposed soils every time the lake drops a little more. As the drouth continues, the new vegetation becomes more substantial.
As the water begins to rise and spread out through the vegetation, there’s more food for small bait fish, such as shad, and more hiding places for small game fish, such as bass. Especially in the spring, spawning success increases dramatically because of the increased food supply and purer habitat for all the fish.
Fishing in the years that follow gets better and better. There are more game fish, and they will be bigger.
Man made lakes in Texas (not sure if there are any non-man-made lakes) are either constant-level or variable level, and Travis is a variable level lake. It is one of the series of Hill Country lakes constructed on Texas’ Colorado River. Constant level lakes are kept at spillway level at the expense of other resources upstream, whereas variable level lakes are allowed to drop due to evaporation and to feed downstream bodies of water.
Lake Buchanan, upstream from Travis, was another hard-hit lake and it caught a little water from recent rains. The Lower Colorado River Authority administers the lakes along the Colorado.