Does COE control lake levels for fishing benefit?
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Posted on Thursday May 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM  
In the spring, does the Corps Of Engineers purposly control lake levels, advance or retard spawning habits of different species?
The more you practice, the luckier you get.
Posted on Thursday May 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM  
No they do not. Fisheries managers across the country are always reminded by the COE project managers that their dams were built for flood control. The priority ladder goes something like this: flood control (most important), hydropower generation (second), water supply, irrigation or other obligated water, then recreation and fishing start to enter the picture.

I am not saying it is wrong or right, just that the USACE has priorities for managing water levels. Any benefits or detriments felt by fish communities is a byproduct of higher priorities.
Posted on Thursday May 2, 2013 at 5:29 PM  
Would I be correct in assuming that in high-flood years, the COE staggers release from the different lakes to keep flow levels in the Nav Channel at a point that it's still safe to navigate with fully-loaded barges? If I remember right, a few years ago, the Corps would start releasing from Keystone until some of the other lakes had already discharged their flood pools. Keystone was running high for months.....
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Posted on Thursday May 2, 2013 at 5:54 PM  
What about lakes like Grand? Do they run by different rules since they are not COE?

The more you practice, the luckier you get.
Posted on Thursday May 2, 2013 at 8:44 PM  
The deepest pockets seem to have priority on Grand...
Posted on Thursday May 2, 2013 at 10:03 PM  
I believe in 1984 the situation was Verdigris, Grand, and Illinois rivers were all running high and they were holding Keystone until they had no choice but to release. This led to flooding from Tulsa down through Arkansas. Before Keystone Dam was completed the Arkansas flooded Bixby, Jenks and down stream in 1957 and 1959. We lived in Bixby and almost the whole town had to move to high ground to the west. If you have not seen Kerr Dam it is worth checking out on Google and comparing to the other dams in the area. It has to handle these rivers and the flow from Eufaula. Thats a lot a water.
Posted on Friday May 3, 2013 at 8:40 AM  
Grand is a little different than USACE reservoirs, but the same principle is true...recreational activities are way down the list of other priorities for any of the dam operators. That is not their fault though as the dams were not built with fishing as the top priority. Could these agencies do a better job of working with ODWC to provide better angling conditions without having a negative impact on their other priorities? In many cases I believe they could, but they still have to follow their own protocol and priorities.
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