High Lake Levels Move Walmart Bass Tourney To Skiatook Lake

Saturday, June 6th 2015, 12:14 pm
By: News On 6

The heavy rains from May are helping one local lake become a fishing tournament destination because other lakes in the area were just too high to launch boats.

The Walmart BFL Bass Tournament was scheduled to be on Fort Gibson Lake, but the high lake levels made it difficult to get boats in the water.

They found Skiatook Lake and saved the tournament, but now professional bass fishers face a new challenge, being on a different lake.

Skiatook Lake attracts boaters from all over Oklahoma, but May's deluge has helped bring in more than just people looking to have some fun.

People like Marcus Sykora, one of the several anglers competing in the Walmart Bass Fishing League Tournament.

Up to 400 anglers headed out on the lake Saturday, looking to qualify for a spot in the championship.

"I was excited about it really, to be honest with you. It's a lake that I don't have any history of and it's always fun going someplace you've never been and neither, quite frankly, does a lot of the field," he said.

6/5/2015 Related Story: High Water Hurting Recreation At Several Oklahoma Lakes

Chris Harris couldn't believe all the fishing boats when he launched Saturday morning at the Black Dog Park boat ramp.

"There are a lot of boats out here, we were surprised for sure," he said. "It's been down for so long and now this is probably the only lake that's regular, regular levels."

For years, Skiatook Lake levels were very low which hurt economic growth on the lake, but with the recent rainfall it's a different story, according to Skiatook Chamber President, Rick Jarrard.

"Ultimately, at the point we're at right now - 6-feet-3-inches down - we're saved for the summer," he said.

Jarrard said it's unfortunate that the other lakes lost the tournament, but they are very happy to showcase their lake.

"It feels absolutely tremendous," Jarrard said. "It's just unbelievable when you see so many different boats from out of state, knowing they'll be operating on our lake."

"It's just a beautiful lake, plenty of shallow cover with the water coming up, you know it's the only lake obviously we can fish in Oklahoma right now, so we're happy to be here and very appreciative with the hospitality in the community, these people are awesome."

The next Okie Division Tournament will be on Grand Lake in September.