State wildlife officials are worried how much damage will be done to the new Evening Hole and Lost Creek project on the Lower Mountain Fork River as a result of flooding.
Broken Bow Lake on Monday reached its highest level ever (more than 26 feet above normal) and the flood gates have been opened for only the third time in its history, releasing water into the Lower Mountain Fork River and flooding popular trout fishing areas such as Spillway Creek and Evening Hole.
Beavers Bend State Park has been closed and more rain is forecast. Paul Balkenbush, southeast region fisheries chief for the state Wildlife Department, said some structural damage has already occurred around Lost Creek, a new trout stream that state wildlife officials constructed in 2006.
“We don’t know what it’s going to do to our project,” Balkenbush said of the flooding. “We are cautiously optimistic, but it could be a big deal if we get the rain that is projected.”
Balkenbush said several people have asked what will happen to the trout.
“I think the trout will find their way,” he said. “They will get dispersed around a little bit, but they will find places to hang out until it calms down.”
Trout anglers should keep their fingers crossed and hope all of the work the state Wildlife Department did to improve Evening Hole and to build Lost Creek will not be washed away.
Ed Godfrey, Outdoors Editor