State wildlife officials are worried how much damage might be done to the Evening Hole and Lost Creek project as a result of flooding on the Lower Mountain Fork River.
Broken Bow Lake has reached its highest level ever, more than 26 feet above normal, and the flood gates have been opened for only the third time in history.
The water releases are flooding the Lower Mountain Fork River and popular trout fishing areas such as Spillway Creek, Evening Hole and Lost Creek, a new trout stream built by the state Wildlife Department in late 2006.
Beavers Bend State Park has been closed and more rain is forecast for the area. Paul Balkenbush, southeast fisheries chief for the state Wildlife Department, said some structural damage to Lost Creek has already occurred, and what might happen with more rain is unknown.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Balkenbush said. “If we get the rain that is projected, however, it could be a big deal.”
Several people have asked Balkenbush what will happen to the trout in the river because of the flooding.
“I think 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.”
But the big concern is the new Evening Hole and Lost Creek project. Trout anglers are keeping their fingers crossed that all of the work by the state Wildlife Department to improve Evening Hole and build Lost Creek will not be washed away.