Conchas lake on the rise

William Thompson:Quay County Sun

Officials at Conchas Dam and Conchas Lake State Park are expecting more visitors this year as the lake’s water level is up.

Gary Cordova, operations manager for the Corps of Engineers at Conchas Dam, said it’s not beyond the realm of possibility the lake could reach its high watermark this summer.

“The predicted runoffs of water from the Canadian River drainage should be above average compared to the last three years,” Cordova said. We are currently 27 feet below the ordinary high watermark, but the water level is 13 feet above last year’s level.”

Cordova said boaters will notice the difference this year.

“The lake as a whole will have a greater surface area,” Cordova said. “Boaters should notice the cove areas are larger than in the past.”

Julie Stone, park ranger with the Corps of Engineers, said people are calling in to check conditions.

“We’re expecting more runoff from the snow melt in April and we’re expecting some spring rains according to predictions,” she said.

Park Superintendent Aaron Martinez said people were using the lake before the recent snowstorm.

“The fishing was picking up, especially the crappie and walleye fishing,” Martinez said. “The fishing is continuing to pick up and it’s only going to get better and better. People who want to fish should come out in April and May before the big crowds come around Memorial Day.”

A full slate of activitiies are scheduled this spring and summer including a handicapped fishing clinic, a butterfly program that will allow participants to observe and net butterflies, and a native American performer who will bring a variety of native American crafts.

A native plant walk is also scheduled and a program on the Civil War and the western frontier.

Martinez said he expects some new visitors to the park this year as word spreads of the higher water level.

Know before you go
Conchas Lake camping info: 868-2270
Conchas Lake Marina: 868-2251
Conchas Lake cabin rentals: 868-3351
Conchas Lake boat rentals: 868-4591
Corps of Engineers: 868-2221
Park Manager: 868-2358