Lady of the Lake—Volume 1, Issue 3

It's the time of year where everyone is starting to come out of the woods and off to the lake--exchanging guns and ammo for rods and reels. With this transition, comes more traffic, more trash, and more trouble on our beautiful Lake Same Rayburn. One thing to keep in mind is how everything you do impacts other people and nature. As we go out and enjoy God's beautiful earth, we must remember that we must also nurture nature. Nature is not a self-cleaning oven--although it may feel like it sometimes in the stifling summers here in East Texas! Don't worry--I'm not here to get PETA-crazy on anyone or chain myself to the trees (too many mosquitoes). Heck, I enjoy getting out on the lake as much as anyone (*ahem*--hence, the title of this article), but I do so with kindness to my fellow people, animals, and the environment. So, I have compiled a list of "tips and tricks," based on my own experiences, to help you to help keep our beautiful lake, well, beautiful! People--Show kindness to your fellow fishermen (and fisherladies!) I have seen some pretty bad behavior out on the lake, from fights to unkind hand gestures, to not paying attention to how close to a wake zone you are. While I will admit, being bobbed up and down by the waves can be fun, it can also be dangerous, especially if kids are around. Remember some common-sense angler ethics. First, be quiet. This is so that you don't disturb those around you, but also fish don't like loud noises. So, whether it's your stereo, your engine, or your own voice--keep it down. Use your "indoor voice" even though you are outside. Don't cross any lines--literally and figuratively. Don't trespass where you aren't supposed to go, whether private property or "unsafe" zones. Respect the privacy of others. Don't intrude on other's space. If you think they're in "your" fishing spot, you are wrong. There's no such thing. Don't be a child and throw a tantrum, or a line or a gesture at someone. Take turns. There's plenty of space on that lake--114,000 to be exact. If you have issues with space here, well, then you just have issues. Period. Know all rules and regulations. These are posted at entry points, online, and on your license (which you should also have!) The only "fishy" behavior should be coming from the fish--not you. Use common sense and don't do anything that even looks suspicious. This includes the use of drugs and alcohol. It's great to enjoy a few cold ones every now and again, but don't go overboard, or you may end up overboard. Or in a jail cell, rather than your bass boat, which would be quite the sobering reminder that you should know your limits. Get to know your angler neighbors. Talk to and be courteous to them. Listen to tall tales in the marina lounges, local restaurants, or around a campfire. Take turns with the boat ramp. Help those in need. If you see someone stranded, give them a lift. Educate others. One of the best things about fishing, aside from the relaxation, is teaching others about it. You never know when you'll make a difference in a kid's life by teaching them this skill. Remember YOURSELF--take care of you too. Don't forget your life jacket and first aid kit. Be alert and aware. Take classes. Learn from others. But mostly--have fun. When you're happy, others are happy. Don't create a nasty ripple effect on other anglers. Animals--Kindness to our fishy friends and beyond! Research has indicated that fish do not feel pain like humans do. And to say fishing is cruel, you would also have to say everything we humans do is cruel--notice how big of a mess your windshield gets during "Love Bug Season" here in East Texas? Is simply driving cruel too? If so, we are all sinners in that respect. HOWEVER, you should never go out of your way to be cruel to an animal of any kind, whether they "feel" pain or not. It's just a bad example. I once saw some kids slowly torturing a fish by leaving it out of the water in the sun and then waiting until it was almost dead, put it in the water again, and then the cycle continued. That is a dangerous sign. When you don't put a stop to cruelty, of any kind, it teaches others that it is okay to lack empathy and compassion. Then, before you know it, we've got the next generation of serial killers on our hands. (Okay, perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions, but I'd rather not risk it). Remember to try to remove the hooks properly from a fish. Simply cutting the line may be easier, but that's crossing the line with regard to the health of the fish. Don't throw dead fish back into the lake. Also, don't catch more than you should--catch and release. Most of us fish for the pure pleasure of being out on the water anyway--not to put dinner on the table (although catfish sure is tasty!). But it's not just the fish, or what's in the lake, but all the animals around the lake--both wild and domestic. Leave wild animals alone. Don't tease the raccoon that wanders into your campsite. Admire how adorable baby Bambi is, but don't you dare touch him. Be kind to the local domestic animals, including the dogs and cats that sometimes wander away from their owners. Last summer, I actually had to rescue a dog that some kids were trying to drown at Hank's Creek. They got the scolding of a lifetime from me--in front of their own parents who did NOTHING to prevent this. Know when to stand up for the ones who don't have a voice. Also, know the proper authorities to call if you witness cruelty or poaching. Local law enforcement offices are pretty diligent about helping to take care of business. Environment--Kindness to our beautiful East Texas pines and lake Once on the lake, we were going full-speed ahead, when a plastic bag (with some snacks and gear) flew out of the boat. I couldn't let that go--metaphorically, although physically I accidentally did. We drove back and looked until we found it, albeit, still floating, about 20 minutes later. I don't even want to imagine the amount of "junk" that's on the bottom of the lake. Before you know it, there will be islands of trash popping up. And we thought that the tree stumps were bad. Secure your gear and take a trash bag with you. Never throw fishing line or hooks anywhere--this is dangerous to animals, humans, and equipment--including that $50,000 Ranger boat that you're so proud of. Anglers, just say "no" to fishing line tangles and report litterbugs! Make it fun. I once had my niece and nephew race around to see who could pick up the most trash (with gloves of course!) and the winner got ice cream. That also teaches responsibility and sets a good example. Unfortunately, recycling is too hard to monitor at the lake because people just throw trash in the barrels, but keep a separate sack for your recyclables. Beer cans and bottles are the bane of my existence--but hey, I've made some money from cashing them in at recycling centers. However, some people have to pay the price for this irresponsibility. When my niece was 4, she sliced her foot open on a glass bottle that was just under the surface of the water, requiring an emergency room visit, stitches, and one sad little girl whose day was ruined. Clean up after yourself at a campsite or a picnic area--you don't want to attract unwanted visitors (raccoons, ants, and bears--oh, my!) for others to have to contend with. Don't pour contaminates out--anywhere--whether it's beer, or oil, or fish guts. This just leads to trouble. And of course, remember, Smokey the Bear says it best: "Only YOU can prevent forest fires." I'd really hate to see all of our dreams of days at the lake go up in smoke--literally--because someone was careless. The Ten "Be's" to Be-autify our Lake 1. Be an example 2. Be brave 3. Be compassionate 4. Be smart 5. Be sensible 6. Be responsible 7. Be courteous 8. Be sober 9. Be educated 10. Be helpful Keep in mind that when you help to keep it green, you're also saving yourself some green. After all, Lake Rayburn is managed by the United States Corps of Engineers, which is a division of the U.S. Department of Defense. In other words--tax dollars are at play--but that's nothing to play around with. Can you imagine all of the wonderful things we could do for our lakes if we weren't wasting tax dollars on cleanup, patrolling, and poaching? I'm not trying to dry up anyone's fun, but these things can make for a happier experience out on Big Sam. I, for one, want to continue to be a "Lady of the Lake." So, ask yourself, is it in your nature to be kind to nature? Comment or "Like" on the Facebook Page to confirm your commitment to keeping our lake beautiful! Below are some website links for more information about keeping our Lake Rayburn in tip-top shape: Keep Texas Beautiful: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department: Corps of Army Engineers: Leave No Trace Guidelines:

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Lake Sam Rayburn Current Weather Alerts

Lake Sam Rayburn Weather Forecast



Hi: 49

Saturday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 30


Mostly Sunny

Hi: 57

Sunday Night

Mostly Clear

Lo: 37


Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 53

Monday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 42


Mostly Cloudy

Hi: 56

Tuesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 33

Lake Sam Rayburn Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 1/22: 161.00 (-3.40)

Lake Sam Rayburn

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jan. 19)

GOOD. Water stained; 55-58 degrees; 3.33 feet low. Fishing remains the same as we head into another cold front. Bass are good on Carolina rigs and crankbaits in the points, ditches and drains. Crappie are good on live minnows, then jigs after the live bite subsides. You will find them in creeks and river channels. Catfish are good in shallow to 15 feet of water, moving towards the creeks. Report by Lynn Atkinson, Reel Um N Guide Service.

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