I recently had a conversation on Facebook about the water level at Lake Murray. There was conjecture about how low the lake actually was and how low it would have to be before all of the boat ramps would be closed. I worked at Lake Murray Water Sports from 1999-2006, so I have seen some pretty dry and some pretty wet years. Now, I have heard numbers tossed around all over the place. I heard that the lake was six feet low, seven feet low, so on and so forth. Then there are the people that have fished the lake all their lives and they remember in nineteen-hundred and such and such when the Lake was eleven feet low. By the way, eye witness accounts are terrible. There are still people in this town that swear they remember me in high school drunk and stripping down to a Speedo. I wish to set the record straight on that one. I was completely sober, it was the 1990’s and I got paid for it. It’s a long story. That story deserves a blog by itself sometime.
Here are the facts according to Richard Keithly, Assistant Park Manager. There is no official measuring standard at Lake Murray. This would cost several thousand in
up-front costs and a yearly fee as well. Some of the good things that are happening as a result of the low water are that some of the boat ramps are being extended. This is possible in normal years, but it is more difficult when the water is higher. There are three boat ramps currently open. These are Marina Beach, Elephant Rock and Marietta Landing.
Here is the rest of the story on those boat ramps. You may not have any trouble at all launching your flat bottom boat at Marietta Landing or Elephant Rock, but you could be in trouble if you decide to put your deep v-hull boat in there. It also depends on what type of vehicle that you are using. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle with some serious gripping tires you may be able to even go off the end of the ramp without trouble. So I called my very old friend Mike Groeber of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol who patrols our shoreline line keeping us safe from terrorists and seems to always find the shapely women in skimpy swimsuits that need assistance in their boats. I asked Mike if the Lake really was six feet low as people had stated. He said if it came up a little over six feet it would be going over the spillway. Now the lake isn’t normally going over the spillway or even a few inches from it. The general consensus is that it is roughly four and one-half feet low from what would be considered normal. That being said, it depends what year you are talking about. Remember June and July of 2007 when Lake Texoma was flooded? According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, we had rain eight hundred percent above normal precipitation between June 19 and July 7 of that year and Lake Murray was definitely going over the spillway. I have seen other years during the month of June where the Lake was extremely low. I said to Mike, “I guess it doesn’t really matter. What’s the difference in five feet or seven feet low?” He said “Two feet, you Moron! Don’t you know that? You aren’t very bright are you?” Mike has a very indirect way of speaking to me. It’s hard to know what he is thinking. He did say that this is his twenty sixth season at the lake and he could never remember it being this low. He reminded me of a politician. I was trying to pin him down and I said, “Ok Mike, give me something I can tell people.” His reply was, “You can tell them the lake doesn’t have as much water in it as it normally does.”