Despite the drought, Lake Sam Rayburn generating at 47.1 million dollars a year

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After months of meager rainfall, the largestreservoir in Texas is still shoring-up the local economy.

"People don't realize how muchmoney goes into fishing. You get a beautiful day like this what do you want todo? Go fishing," said fishing guide, Lynn Atkinson.

Lake Sam Rayburn generates 47.1 million dollarseach year. According to a just released survey by Texas Parks and Wildlife.

"It has impacted a lot ofbusinesses. Everybody wants to develop more," said Atkinson.

Professional fishing guide Lynn Atkinsonis on the water every weekend. He says lower levels from the historic droughthave actually helped his business.

The 79-mile lake is known around theworld, 25-thousand anglers frequent newly-developed areas like Cassels-Boykin Park.

The pavilion the park and ramps helpto bring more tournaments here on this end to help Lufkin and this area,"said Atkinson.

A single fishing tournament can bring at least120 thousand dollars; Lake Sam Rayburn hosts more than 400 a year.

The costs of casting a line isn'tcheap, contest entry fees, transportation, hotel rooms, and don't forget aboutfood.

"They come and start pre-fishingweeks in advance, so that's where a lot of this money comes from is thesepeople continuing to come out here," said Atkinson.

That survey also found that Jasper Countysees the most revenue of the six counties bordering the lake.

There fishing generated 19-million dollars. Aboost for East Texas businesses still riding out the recession.

"The lake doesn't close we fish yearround," said Atkinson.

The lake's economic impactreaches far beyond the surrounding counties. Hundreds of full and part timejobs created can be traced back to the lake. Even better news, officials expectthe mild winter to only increase revenue generated by the reservoir.

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