LAKE CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- As the COVID19 pandemic rages on, Lake Conroe is busier than ever before.
"It is like being 500 miles away from the city, but only being 62 miles from the city," said resident Susie Allen. "When you come out here, you literally come over the bridge and you just become calm and peaceful."
"I've been to 65 countries in my career and people ask me what was the best and I have to say, 'Home, here in Lake Conroe is the best place,'" explained Lake Conroe Association President Kevin Lacy.
Lake Conroe was built after a long drought as a water source for the City of Houston. The dam was constructed in January of 1973, and filled by October 1973.
"I used to race my motorcycle down the lake bed. My friends and I, we owned the lake. Nobody was out here on this lake," said Ben Richardson, who now owns multiple businesses on Lake Conroe. His father was one of the first developers in the area.
"My dad didn't want stumps and trees in front of his beautiful subdivision. So, he had us out there with chainsaws and clippers cutting up all the stumps," he remembered. "It was supposed to take three years to fill up. Well, it took three months to fill up. There were three tropical storms that year."
"Lake Conroe is primarily a water reservoir for the city of Houston, but it's also one of the best recreation areas within an easy drive of Houston," explained Alice Best, a fisheries biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. "This is one of the best watersheds in the state. We have clear, clean water coming down from the national forest at the north end of the reservoir, which makes for an outstanding water quality in the lake."
The lake spans more than 20,000 acres.
"The most popular species out here is largemouth bass. We have about 36 percent of our anglers fish for largemouth bass," Best said. "We also have hybrid striped bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish. Some of the largest catfish we've gotten out of this lake have been over 80 pounds."