Saturday, July 25, 2009

Damn it's hot

News flash, I know. At least if you live in Texas.

I don't care where you live in Texas, it's hot and it's dry. Some parts of Texas are getting little bits of rain here and there, but nothing near what they need. And many other parts of the state are in dire drought conditions. All over the state, counties have burn bans enacted because of the dry nature of, well, nature.

Farmers and ranchers are having lots of problems, as if even in ideal weather conditions they don't have problems enough. I've talked to several friends about their stock tanks and farm ponds and it's the same story just about everywhere. No rain and record high temperatures means rapidly shrinking lakes.

Many of the central Texas lakes, like Canyon and Travis, have no public boat ramps left open. I have not heard if Buchanan has any ramps still open. That is to say, all the public boat ramps are high and dry. The constant level lakes that lie below Buchanan still have lots of water, but because the water is not coming out of the feeder lakes like normal we're seeing lots of bacterial buildup in the constant level lakes.

This all adds up to very little fun for El Fisho and his fishing buddies.

Of course, during the 100 degree + days much of the state has been having, the fishing usually stinks. Yes, you can still have some good fishing if you go early or go late, but daytime fishing is almost too miserable to contemplate.

And the drought affects myriad other factors that affect fishing quality. In freshwater, water gets stagnant and sour, and not only is this unhealthy for fish, it also puts them in a reduced activity mode and it affects the health of the entire food chain of the system.

In saltwater, it's even worse. Our bays throughout Texas are dependant on the influx of massive amounts of freshwater infused into the bays. When drought strikes, the freshwater influx is greatly reduced and bays develop high salinity conditions, which are not conducive to anything good when it comes to active, hungry and healthy fish and really, the entire eco-system of the bays.

And it's not just the heat, it's the humidity. I bet you've never heard anyone in Texas say that before...

EDIT: The only interesting thing that occurs in lakes when levels drop is hunting for interesting artifacts in the dried lakebed. After writing the above, I remembered trips I took on 4 wheelers with my college roommates in the greatly drought stricken Lake Buchanan in the early 1980's. My roommates, from the town of Llano, had found the original village of Tow, and we visited a church (Catholic, I believe) that had been submerged since the 1930's when the lake was impounded.

This article talks about other trash, artifacts and treasures that have been found in Central Texas lakes in the recent past when drought strikes.

I also remember my open water dives in 1982 at Windy Point in Austin. My dive master, who was a Harris County assistant district attorney, took our class for a weekend of check out dives there, and I recall swimming around the rusting hulks of 40's and 50's automobiles that had been sunk off the sides of Windy Point. Fish loved the structure and the habitat. I can say that diving off of Windy Point on Lake Travis was a big improvement from the lesson pool at the Northshore diveshop where we took lessons.

I remember that on my trip to the dried lakebed of Lake Buchanan that I literally filled up a tackle box with metal and plastic lures I collected off tree snags, brushpiles and rocks. I collected a small tackle box full of nice lures, which were mostly from the 1960's and 70's. Most of the bodies of the lures were intact and full of color, but they had rusted hooks, but the hooks were easy to replace on many of the lures.


  1. I heard Hell is cooler in the summertime then Texas. Just got back from caming on the Lavaca Bay and I received a Texas Sunburn from my effort. I like your blog, keep it up.

  2. I hope you had a great time, TG, but what's caming? I appreciate your kind comments!

    In weather like this, I recall the words of the bounty hunter TOOMBS, played by actor Nick Chinlund in the movie THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK. In that movie, there was a prison located miles below the planet surface on a planet named Crematoria. The surface of the planet featured temps in the 300 degree range during the daytime.

    The bounty hunter said something like "If I owned hell and this place (Crematoria), I rent this place out and live in Hell".

    Here's what IMDB says about that quote: Toomb's line regarding Crematoria, "If I owned this place and Hell, I'd rent this place out and live in Hell," is paraphrased from an infamous quote General Phil Sheridan made during post-Civil War Reconstruction, in which he said "If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell."

    Finally, I wonder if actor Nick Chinlund reminds anyone else of Tom Waites?

  3. Duh, I just figured out that TG probably meant camping. I obviously have not had enough coffee yet...Sorry for the lapse, TG. I hope it was a nice ride for y'all.