Lake Houston fills back up

February 9, 2012 5:08:27 PM PST
What a difference a lot of rain can make. Local lakes are filling up.

In August, much of Lake Houston looked so dried up, boats couldn't launch from their ports. But recent shots taken from SkyEye 13 HD show the lake full.

The transformation is recent. About three weeks ago, Lake Houston was lower by several feet. No one is complaining when the rain comes now.

Last month, you could call Wayne Hargrave a big fish in a small pond. He could still hunt for catfish, but he had to travel farther to deeper waters to find them. On Thursday, he caught a big one just by the Lake Houston bridge.

"Thirty-eight pounds," he said.

Water now laps against piers and docks. The boat ramp at the Lake Houston marina is usable again. It's another sign that conditions have improved.

Maxi Blackshire is back with his fishing pole. He stayed away all last year.

"It was real bad," Blackshire said.

"You couldn't even fish?" we asked.

"No ma'am," he said.

Lake Houston is classified at a 100 percent of its full level by the state. A series of downpours gets the credit, along with dam gates that feed the lake finally reopening. And something else is back: the snowbirds, they're called, like Chris Winrick, a visitor from Indiana.

"I got here and it started raining two days after I got here, so it was back up when I got done," Winrick said.

The fish never left. For a time, a lot of people did. But for now, nature seems back in balance.

And remember that 38-pound catfish? It turned out to be a mother-to-be. Hargrave released it. Call it restocking the lake.

In neighboring Montgomery County on Lake Conroe, the recovery isn't as strong. There's been rain, but the draw down of water last year by the city of Houston left its mark. Near Highway 105, a floating pier is still mired in mud and a lot of boat ramps are closed.

One benefit of exposed shoreline is a lot of debris was spotted and removed on this section of Lake Houston.