Arrowhead Fish & Wildlife Suffering During Drought

Arrowhead Fish & Wildlife Suffering During Drought

Lake Arrowhead typically measures around 15,000 acres, but because of the drought, it's now down to only 5,600 acres. For the many fish and wildlife species that call Lake Arrowhead home, it's a constant fight for resources, as a loss of their habitat threatens to leave them high and dry.

When you shrink a lake's area by almost two thirds, the fish and wildlife inhabitants that survive in that lake will be greatly affected, as Texas Parks and Wildlife District Fisheries Supervisor Tom Lang explains.

"Just as water continues to go down, whether it be Stage 4 or Stage 5 or whatever those triggers may be, that's one of the things that we continue to see, is an effect on the resources. You could look out now and just see the habitat high and dry, and you know if its not in the water, fish can't use it."

At first, the scenario of a packed pond was beneficial to predatory fish like Arrowhead's famous blue catfish. But, as time progressed, the prey these fish feasted on weren't spawning fast enough.

The blue catfish population started to hurt as a result.

"One of our biggest fears out here when it comes to Lake Arrowhead is that we have such a trophy phenomenal blue catfishery, and if this goes dry and it goes the way of Lake Wichita, that we're going to lose a major trophy fisher," said Lang.  "And it takes 20, 25 years to bring those fish back."

For now, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is taking steps to ensure once the rain does come back, the fish and wildlife at Arrowhead have a suitable place to thrive once again.

"We're doing a lot of habitat work, between trees and rocks and other things, just good habitats so you don't have just simply a bowl," says Lang. "We know the water's going to come back someday, and the best thing we can do now is plan for that, be ready for that, so that when it does happen, we just provide phenomenal fishing for Texoma again."

The last time the boat docks at Lake Arrowhead were open was back in September of 2012.

Dave Caulfield, Newschannel 6