Here’s to hoping the Toledo Bend Reservoir doesn’t rain on Orange’s fishing tournament this weekend.
Heavy rains north of Orange have created floodwaters that are flowing downriver.
The Sabine River Authority stated in a press release persons having interests in the Sabine River Basin below the reservoir are hereby advised that on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 9 a.m., the reservoir elevation was 172.9 ft. Mean Sea Level.
Currently, one generator is out of service for repairs and the other generator is operating 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Seven spillway gates have been opened two feet and two spillway gates have been opened one foot. Total releases are 22,890 CSF.
T-Roy Broussard of Swamp People and a member of Fishing League Worldwide, belives the water flow will affect the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, held March 19-22, at the City of Orange Boat Ramp on the Sabine River.
“It definitely will hamper the fishermen,” Broussard said. “There is an overwhelming amount of water coming down the Neches and Sabine Rivers that has flooded the backwater areas from below the dam to Beaumont.
“Not only will it muddy the water up and cause the fish to not bite, it also will have low levels of oxygen from the vegetation dying. In my opinion, this will cause a chain of events that will possibly cause a fish kill. I have seen this before when there isn’t enough growing vegetation to oxygenate the water. During the winter, vegetation dies off and starts to grow in the spring. This is the worse time for this to happen. I’m afraid it will be tough for these guys that fish the Neches and Sabine Rivers.”
David Montagne, general manager of the SRA, said forecasters are projecting more rain later this week. Deweyville will be a little above flood level with the heaviest rain predicted forSaturday.
“It will be tougher to fish but they (the professional anglers) know that,” Montagne said. “If they’re a great river fisherman, they may win it too.”
Montagne said current flood levels are out of the bank, but not in the roads. He added because there’s been a drought for the past three years, the water level is still seven feet low at the top stage of Toledo Bend.
“It’s moving and picking up and that may be better. It’s running so fast and the lake is so big. We have a dissolved oxygen problem when there’s a drought. It’s no problem on the fish but it’s harder to find them from low flows and lots of heat,” he said.
Montagne said the rush of water is not necessarily a bad thing because fresh water and the alluvial plain needs overflow to stay healthy.
“We’re matching outflow with the inflow. It depends on how much rainfall there is,” he said.
Roger Bacon is a guide and a tackle representative from the Lakes area.
He said this weekend tournament will separated the wheat from the chaff for the professionals.
He mentioned authorities opened the Louisiana Wildlife Refuge at the tournament two years ago on a Saturday, The anglers went in blind because they haven’t fished it and they “caught pretty good.”
This time, the refuge is already opened and Bacon believes this will spread out the fishermen.
Bacon also fishes the Lake Sam Rayburn and said the Neches River too is at flood stage, muddied out and rolling.
He also thinks the anglers will have to fish in a smaller area due to the river being washed out.
“It’ll be a tough event, but somebody’s going to win it,” Bacon said. “A lot of these guys would rather fish a tough tournament to level out the playing field.”
He further foresees anglers fishing in either the marsh on the Texas side or making their way to the wildlife refuge.
Some may drive all the way to the Houston area and try the Trinity River Basin and get away from it all.
“There’s not going be a lot of them fishing on the Sabine River. It will be a battle of attrition. The water’s up and they won’t be able to see things in the water they would normally see,” he said.

About David Ball