JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is lowering the lake levels of the B.A. Steinhagen Lake, more commonly known as Dam B, in order to perform maintenance work on the lake's dam. The project has significantly limited access to nearly all of the lake's boat ramps.
Town Bluff Project is located midway between the towns of Jasper and Woodville on U.S. Highway 190 in East Texas. We found even though the lake is seeing temporary changes, some fisherman said it's a good thing.
The B.A. Steinhagen Lake is a destitute site. That's because lake officials are maintaining the dam. "In order to do that we had to drop the lake partially about 4 and a half feet."
The lower levels have dried up the lake's shore.
"For an old man it's harder, it's harder getting in and out," said Herbert Mucklaroy, fisherman. "You can see what it is here at the ramp, it takes an extra effort."
However, Mucklaroy said fish are practically jumping onto his line. "Fishing is great, it makes it a lot easier to get to the places we want to get to and fish are concentrated in those places now."
Unfortunately, nearly all of the ramps for large boats are inaccessible.
"I think there's more small-boat traffic," said Mike Lyssy, fisherman. "I talked to two or three people and they asked me how I got my boat in the water."
Fisherman aren't the only one's reaping the benefits of the temporarily shallow lake. "It also assists in controlling the vegetation on the lake which will improve boating and fishing," said David Weeks, superintendent of Martin Dies Jr. State Park.
Weeks said without lowering the lakes levels, they couldn't have worked on preventing soil erosion on the beach.
"In the long term it's going to improve our visitation," said Weeks.
In Mucklaroy's 50 years of catching fish on this lake, this week has been quite successful. "We'll have a big fry, we must have caught 34 or 40," he said.
If you plan on using the B.A. Steinhagen Lake this weekend or next week, you can still take out small boats. With the much lower lake levels, bigger boats could be a problem. Not to worry, the lake should be back to normal by the end of next week.