Low lake levels closing several boat ramps on Lake Sam Rayburn

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Dozens of boat ramps are closed as the drought takes its toll on Lake Sam Rayburn.

"Fishing is still good," Robert Mathison said. "Just getting in and out is a little difficult, but other than that, we do fine."

Mathison and his friend J.D. Norris are no strangers to boat ramps at Cassels Boykin Park.

"I come out here every day the sun shines," Norris said.

Lately, options are slim around Lake Sam Rayburn.

Old ramps at Cassels Boykin Park are unusable because lake levels are low.

Three of the five new multimillion-dollar ramps were designed to give access to the lake during a severe drought like this. The two shorter ones have been shut down.

"Whenever you deal with mother nature, you've got to go with the flow and sometimes like now you just sit back and say wow, how long is it going to take to come back up," Angelina County Commissioner for Pct. 4 Scott Cooper said.

The county says the lake is dropping about three to four inches every week, exposing the ends of many boat ramps.

The county said they're using their time wisely. Low levels allow workers to perform maintenance while cutting costs.

For Cooper, seeing the ramps out of commission is disappointing.

"It's bad that we're having an economic downturn and then one of our economic draws is also seeing a downturn, so we're kind of getting a double whammy at this point and time," Cooper said.

When you're on a roll catching 8,000 fish a year like Mathison and Norris, you'll find an open ramp.

"It frustrates you, but you do what you've got to do," Mathison said. "If it gets too bad, we'll drive to the other side of the lake. We'll find a ramp that's open."

They're not about to let the drought ruin their fishing game or their sense of humor.

"Shoot all we got to do is just go about 50 miles an hour, turn that boat sideways and it will launch off the bridge by itself," Norris said laughing.

The county plans to move forward with scheduled fishing tournaments at Cassels Boykin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also closed several other ramps across Lake Sam Rayburn.

CLOSED/UNUSABLE Boat Ramps: Mill Creek, Twin Dikes north ramp, Rayburn Park west and north ramps, Marion Ferry, Ewing, Etoile Park, McAllister, Cassels Boykin new boat ramp west 2 lanes and old ramp, Shirley Creek, Monterrey, 83 Bridge, Lakewood, Whip-per-will, Townsend, Black Forest, Sandy Creek, Harvey.

USE CAUTION - small boats ONLY - Twin Dikes Public Ramp. Post designates end of ramp.

USE CAUTION - Kingtown, Hanks Creek Park, Caney Creek

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