East Texas fishing business much improved from last year

SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Marina operators and businesses supporting water tourism are just as pleased as their customers to see lake levels at near normal.

Barbeque is served up to San Augustine chamber members, but fish is on the mind of Jackson Hill Marina operator Terry Sympson.

"There's a lot more fisherman out on the lake," Sympson said. "A lot less complaining and a lot more people calling about it."

Last year's drought was a killer region-wide.

All it takes is rain for a lake to rise. Crappie Xtreme founder Dennis North is more than ready for East Texans to wet a line.

"RV parks are full," North said. "The lake is doing good. A lot of fishermen coming out, so it seems like over here in the east side, Toledo and Rayburn have bounced back quite well this year."

Sympson and North are teaming up in San Augustine County, a perfect place to spread fishing fever.

"San Augustine is right exactly halfway between these two wonderful lakes," Sympson said. "Between those two lakes you're talking about 300,000 acres of some of the best bass, crappie and catfishing in the entire United States."

The anglers would love to make up for last year's losses, but know they're still treading water.

"Just like anything, you can never make up what you've lost," North said. "You might recoup 10, 20 percent of last year." 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife reports Sam Rayburn Reservoir brings in over $47 million in revenue. San Augustine County's proximity to Big Sam and Toledo Bend makes the city a gateway for opportunity. As long as the reservoirs levels stay up and the fish keep biting.

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