Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local Sports

August 21, 2011

Low Lake Levels Create Launching Problems 

Gone Fishing with Jerry Miller

LONGVIEW — Launching a boat on our area lakes is beginning to be a problem.  On some ramps you have to be very careful when you launch and not back out too far. 

            You need to use caution when launching at the deep end (dam) on Lake Palestine.  One boater last week while launching a pontoon boat at the dam backed out too far. and his wheels dropped over the end of the concrete.  He panicked and tried to force the wheels back over the concrete.  This resulted in a twisted and broken axel. 

            Whenever your boat trailer wheels drop off of the ramp you must back your trailer at an angle so that you can ease it out one tire at a time.  If you try to force your tires to roll straight out, you will only damage your trailer.  Instead, keep backing your trailer at an angle until you are able to ease your tires back out and over the ramp drop off.

            There is a single ramp and a double ramp at this location.  I’ve been using the single ramp without a problem.   You can also launch at The Villages but not at Lake Palestine Resort. 

            On Lake Tyler it’s okay to launch at Lake Tyler Marina and Hill Creek.

            Lake Striker is only two feet low, so you can launch at the dam and at the eight ball area.

            On Lake Bob Sandlin the Titus County Ramp is good to go.  You can launch at this ramp even when the lake is about 8 feet low. 

            Lake Athens ramp is very shallow.  I wouldn’t recommend launching there.

            On Lake Fork the ramps in the dam area and mid-lake are still in good shape.

            The only place you can launch on Lake Murvall is at the dam area at Murvall Marina.  They recently brought in heavy equipment and added gravel to fill in the holes, thus leveling out the launch area.  No problem here.

            You can still launch at the concession area on Lake Jacksonville.  Even thought the lake is 4 to 5 feet low, it’s still possible to launch, although I did witness a man launching a big barge last Thursday, and his trailer wheels dropped off the concrete ramp.  He did manage to get his boat loaded back up, but with great difficulty. 

            The problem with this launch now is when you turn the corner to go out into the lake.  This area is a little over a foot deep.  I used my trolling motor to navigate this strip.  By Labor Day you may not be able to launch here unless we get a lot of rain.  The New Hope launch is inaccessible.  I suspect the launch at the dam is also too shallow.

            Martin Creek is 10 feet low.  They have a serious problem at this site.

The New Hope lanch site off Highway 747 is inaccessible. Boaters can still launch at the concession area on lake Jacksonville, but use caution.

            If we don’t get substantial rains over the next month you will see more boat ramps closing.  I would be extra careful when launching at any shallow ramp.

            Ron Stacey and I launched his 21-foot Triton boat at the dam on Lake Palestine last Tuesday.  We motored up to 515 bridge and caught a lot of small sand bass on small Cleo-type spoons.  We were fishing the old inundated bridge area.  All the sand bass were holding in deep water (22 feet) and wanted the spoon swimming near the bottom.  We were fishing the spoons off the sides of the sunken bridges.  I did hang one big striper, and I also landed a slab crappie that was nearly 16 inches long.  The crappie was about 12 feet down near the edge of the old sunken bridge.  The action was good from about 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  There is a ton of shad in this area.  We did see one school of sand bass schooling on top. 

Pray for rain.

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Jerry Miller can be contacted at: gonefishing2@suddenlink.net

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