The water in Lake Texoma is now considered unsafe for people and pets.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers announced Tuesday that all of Lake Texoma is now under a blue-green algae warning and water contact is prohibited.
Based on test results, harmful toxic-producing algae is present in the lake, Corps officials said.
The lake is not closed and all Corps recreation areas are still open to camping for the Labor Day weekend.
Boating is permitted but boaters are advised to reduce speeds to avoid water spray. The water spray could be dangerous if inhaled, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
At Lake Eufaula, the Sandy Bass Bay has been added to the blue-green algae warning area and water contact is prohibited.
As a far as eating fish from Texoma or other lakes with blue-green algae, the U.S. Army Corps of Enginners said fish fillets are safe to eat it. It is recommended that fish be rinsed before cleaning to minimize contact with the lake water in case the fish swam through the algae. The entrails should be thrown away. The toxic algae, however, does not harm the fish.
Blue-green algae is common in lakes and streams in low levels and is usually not a danger to humans unless it has strains that carry toxins. Those toxins can cause intestinal and respiratory problems in humans and animals if ingested in large quantities. For more information and to see a list of blue-algae updates as of Aug. 30 on Corps lakes, click here.
Dove season opens Thursday and while the bag limit is 15 birds combined daily for mourning and white-winged doves, it does not include Eurasian collared doves as long as those birds are not fully dressed.
Eurasian collared doves are an invasive species and are getting more abundant across Oklahoma. Hunters can kill as many as they want.
There is no bag limit on Eurasian collared doves provided the head and a fully feathered wing are left attached to the carcass. A fully dressed Eurasian collared dove will count toward the bag limit.
The drought has dried up many crops in western Oklahoma, especially southwest, but hunters should be able to find doves around food sources such as sunflower fields and nearby watering holes.
Dove season remains open through Oct. 31 and Saturday and Sunday are free hunting days in the state. Oklahoma residents will not have to carry hunting licenses are HIP permits on those days to go on a dove shoot.
Anyone planning a college tailgate party Saturday with grilled dove breasts wrapped in bacon and jalapeno slices?
The southwest dove zone which allowed winter dove hunting over the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays has been eliminated. Now, the entire state will be open for dove hunting from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1.
The Red River Basin, including Lake Texoma, is currently experiencing an exceptional drought.
Monthly inflows into the lake have been well below average, resulting in a pool elevation that is also below normal, reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In fact, June and July inflows were less than 10 percent of average.
Low lake levels also impact recreational users and boaters can expect more water hazards and exposed sand bars.
B. J. Parkey, assistant lake manager, said larger vessels may have difficulty navigating in marina areas and all
vessels may experience extremely shallow water conditions in various locations of the lake.
Vessels equipped with a depth finder are strongly encouraged to closely monitor the water depth.
“And as always, please wear your life jacket in case you strike an underwater obstacle and are ejected from the vessel,” Parkey said.
At this time, two Corps boat ramps are closed, Juniper East and Preston Bend. Other ramps within various marinas may also be inaccessible. Hot water temperatures along with limited inflows also increase the risk of harmful bacteria.
The Tulsa District office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has increased the drought severity level on Texoma under its management plan.
In the plan, drought levels are numbered 1 through 4 with 4 being the most severe.
Drought Level 1 is considered an alert phase in that drought conditions are developing but operations are otherwise normal.
Texoma dropped below pool elevation 612 on Aug. 17 and the lake is now operating at Drought Level 2, meaning the lake storage has fallen to 77 percent of its full conservation pool storage.
A friend of mine clued me in today on a new fishing song by Trace Adkins called ‘Just Fishin’
Pretty good song, but I am not sure it’s going to bump any from my top 10 list of fishing songs that I wrote about a few years ago.
At the time, my top 10 were these:
1. The Five Pound Bass by Robert Earl Keen
2. I’m Going to Miss Her by Brad Paisley
3. Fishing Blues by Taj Mahal
4. The Crawdad Song
5. The Fishing Hole: Theme to The Andy Griffith Show
6. Gone Fishing by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong
7. Fisherman by Casey Ashley
8. Beer, Bait and Ammo by Kevin Fowler
9. Fishin’ In The Dark by the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band
10. Catfish Boogie by Tennessee Ernie Ford
On second thought, maybe I should toss Beer, Bait and Ammo and slide Adkins new song in at No. 10?
Because if Beer, Bait and Ammo makes your list of best fishing songs, you might be a redneck. To see the video “Just Fishin’” click here.
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur has closed the Rock Creek multi-use trail area and its hunting areas due to the drought.
The high summer temperatures combined with the lack of rain have resulted in extreme fire hazard conditions in south-central Oklahoma.
Since July 1, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area has received less than 1-1/2” of precipitation.
These conditions have necessitated a temporary closure of the Rock Creek multi-use trail area and all recreation area hunting areas.
The Rock Creek multi-use trail area is now closed to all visitor use including hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. All hunting areas also are closed for an indefinite period of time.
The Rock Creek multi-use trail area and hunting areas are located west and southwest of residential areas adjacent to Sulphur.
An indefinite temporary closure of these areas to public use will improve visitor safety and provide a greater level of response, should fire suppression emergency response be necessary, officials said.
In addition, no swimming is being allowed in Travertine Creek in the recreation area. Buffalo and Antelope Springs which feed Travertine Creek are pretty much dried up so the creek isn’t receiving any fresh water.
There still is a temporary ban on ash producing fires for any fires utilized by visitors in park campground or picnic grills.
Gas grills for cooking are still permitted. Campsites are available for camping.
Visitors may also visit the Travertine Nature Center open each day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
For more information about visiting Chickasaw National Recreation Area and camping, call the Travertine Nature Center, (580) 622-7234.
Oklahoma’s total deer harvest during the 2010-11 hunting season exceeded 100,000 animals for the sixth straight year.
Statewide numbers released this week by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation showed that hunters last season checked in 109,314 deer.
That number was down from 2009-10 when hunters checked in 116,175 deer, the second highest ever.
The state record was set in 2006-07 with 119,349 deer. The last time hunters didn’t take 100,000 or more deer in Oklahoma was in 2004 when the total was 94,689.
The top producing counties based on last season’s totals were Osage (4,205 deer); Pushmataha (3,027); Le Flore (2,890); Atoka (2,751); McCurtain (2,520); Sequoyah (2,326); Craig (2,281); Roger Mills (2,094); Delaware (2,019) and Creek (2,005).
The top producing public hunting areas were the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area (836); Black Kettle WMA (542); the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (262); Honobia Creek WMA (226); Kaw WMA (221); Fort Sill (211); and Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge (206).
A few years ago I compiled my top 10 list of fishing songs headed by Robert Earl Keen’s “The Five Pound Bass.”
Even though I wrote that column three years ago, I still get an occasional e-mail from someone suggesting that I check out a new fishing song.
Discover Boating on Wednesday announced a top 10 list of its own: The 10 best boating songs as voted on by their Facebook friends.
Jimmy Buffett makes the list three times, counting his collaborations on songs with Alan Jackson and the Zac Brown Band, but he should have made it five times in my opinion.
Two more Buffett tunes, Son of a Son of a Sailor and The Captain and the Kid, would make my list along with Guy Clark’s Boats to Build (also recorded by Jackson and Buffett) and Blowin’ Like A Bandit.
Buffett’s A Pirate Looks at 40 was the top vote-getter on Discover Boating’s list. The others ranked in order of votes received were:
Come Sail Away by Styx
Redneck Yacht Club by Craig Morgan
Southern Cross by Crosby Stills & Nash
5 O’Clock Somewhere by Alan Jackson featuring Jimmy Buffett
Knee Deep by the Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett
Boats by Kenny Chesney
Sloop John B by the Beach Boys
If I Had a Boat by Lyle Lovett
Rock the Boat by Hues Corporation
You can hear the songs at http://www.discoverboating.com/newsroom/boat-radio.aspx
Jerry Cartwright of Oklahoma City e-mailed me this great photo and dropped a note in response to Sunday’s story about Mississippi kites.
Cartwright is retired from the United States Navy and has two families of kites nesting in small trees near his home in southwest Oklahoma City.
Cartwright discovered a fledgling kite on his front porch Friday morning.
“I monitored the youngster for several hours while his parents flew overhead screeching encouragement, sometimes dropping on the porch, possibly to feed the baby as you suggest, he said.
“Until I read your article, I was not aware they were migratory, so I probably won’t see them next year but it has been the highlight of my morning walk, watching them circle overhead looking for small animals for their morning feeding.”
Thanks for the photo, Jerry. I would love to see more photos from bird watchers or other people who encounter interesting birds and other wildlife in our great state.
Just email them to email@example.com and I will share them with readers in my blog.
The Washita National Wildlife Refuge wants to pass on information about Mississippi kites, gray hawks that are slightly smaller than a crow.
Kites can be very protective of their nests, and many people have experienced their well-known dive-bombing when they get too close to a nest.
These small raptors often nest in western and central Oklahoma towns and the refuge has been getting numerous reports of people finding the fledling birds in places such as Clinton and Weatherford.
Residents in Edmond also have been finding young kites.
As the summer comes to a close, the young kites that were born this season are learning to fly.
They leave their nests, and often hop around on the ground flapping their wings in an effort to get airborne. It can take several days for a juvenile kite to learn how to fly.
There have been many reports of these birds being found by concerned citizens who want to help them.
If you find a young kite, the best thing to do is to leave it where you find it. Try to keep dogs and cats away to avoid injuring the bird.
If it is in a street and can be caught safely, carefully move the bird to a nearby yard or alley.
Don’t try to help a young kite learn to fly by throwing it in the air – this could injure the bird.
If the kite has an obvious injury, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can be contacted to take the bird for treatment.
If there is no injury, it is very important to leave the kite where it is so that the parents can continue to bring food.
The Mississippi kites will be migrating to the tropics soon, and the young will need to fly with their families to find their way to their winter home.