Lake Texoma sits atop the state like a blue-water lynchpin between Texas and Oklahoma.
To me, she has always been the grande dame of the state’s lakes though she’s not the oldest, biggest or even most productive. I’ve just thought of her as being one of the prettiest.
And, she might be one of its toughest.
This year she has been thoroughly mugged by the elements. She was staggered early in the year by numbing cold weather that killed the bait fish for her legendary stripers.
Then came the heat; at one point the water temperature hit 90 degrees and huge fish kills were reported in both states. The drought has dropped her water level to nearly seven feet below normal, and this past weekend — one of busiest weekends of the season — a blue-green algae drove her swimmers, skiers and fishermen off her surface and away from all the ancillary restaurants, marinas, gas stations and motels.
Then, there are the zebra mussels, an invasive species that threatens to overtake the lake and infect other waterways down stream.
It’s been enough to buckle her knees.
“I first started coming here when I was 14 years old,” said Ed Spencer, a longtime devotee of the lake. “I’m 64 now and in all those 50 years, I’ve never seen it as bad as it has been this year.”
Spencer lives in Dallas, but his family has owned a compound near the lakeshore for years. He isn’t in business at Texoma, but this year’s hard luck has hit him in the pocket book just the same.