Anglers Concerned About New Zink Dam's Impact On Fishing

Wednesday, October 27th 2021, 9:45 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Oklahoma -

People who fish the Arkansas River are worried the new dam being built near Gathering Place will be devastating for fish migration.

They said they were told the new Zink Dam would allow fish to migrate, but now, they're not so sure.

The new Zink Dam is a $48 million project to replace the old dam on the Arkansas River near Gathering Place.

It'll include 15 gates and have added safety features. Plans also include a new pedestrian walkway, a recreational area, and a new Zink Lake.

But a year into the construction, people who fish the river have some concerns.

"There's a little bit of everything," said Jake Miller. "I don't know many places that boast 25 native species."

Jake Miller fishes the Arkansas River and said it's the best.

"The fishing on that river is incredible," added fisher Scott Hood.

Miller said years ago, when Tulsa voters approved the plans, he and other people who fish were under the impression the new Zink Dam would finally allow fish to pass through by putting down the gates during spawning season.

Anglers said they're hopeful this new dam will allow fish to pass during their migration period which is from about February to June.

Josh Johnston with the wildlife department said he's also concerned because now, there's no plan for that to happen.

"We heard a long time that this is a state-of-the-art dam that allows fish to go up and sediment to go down and now I think it's a concern," Johnston said.

The city said it never promised to keep the gates open during the entire four month spawning season.

"You either have fish passage or a lake but not both simultaneously," said electrical engineer Charles Pratt.

City councilors were supposed to discuss the issue Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed until November 17th.