Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation

LOST CREEK AND
EVENING HOLE
RESTORATION PROJECT

 

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  Click for Broken Bow, Oklahoma Forecast

Biologists complete “one of the most ambitious streams restoration project ever undertaken in Oklahoma” (11/09/2006)   ........ EVENING HOLE UPDATE

It’s not everyday that biologists can create a brand new trout stream, but fisheries personnel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently did just that.

“When we showed people where we were thinking about building this new creek, I think people thought we were a little crazy,” said James Vincent, southeast region fisheries biologist for the Wildlife Department. “The area looked like it would make much better squirrel habitat than trout habitat.”

In Beaver’s Bend State Park along the Lower Mountain Fork River, fisheries personnel transformed an ancient stream channel into a brand new ¼-mile trout stream, dubbed Lost Creek. While the area was still dry, fisheries personnel used bulldozers and backhoes to clear the channel to create a series of riffles, runs and pools that would become first-class trout habitat when water was directed into the new stream.

“We used a huge, 20-ton water control structure to divert a small amount of water into Lost Creek. The channel winds through woods and eventually dumps back into the Lower Mountain Fork River,” Vincent said. “Not only is this going to become a great trout fishing area, it is also just a beautiful place to take a walk.”

Streams biologists did not stop there. Just down stream from the start of Lost Creek, fisheries personnel turned their focus on a ½-mile stretch of the Lower Mountain Fork River, known as the Evening Hole.

“The fishing wasn’t as good as it could have been in this particular area of the river,” Vincent said. “The Evening Hole had three problems - the water was too warm; it moved too slowly; and there was a good amount of silt in the area. None of these conditions are good for trout or for trout anglers.”

Vincent and his colleagues came up with a plan to make the area more desirable for trout.

“After we received all the necessary work permits, we dumped about 600 loads of gravel along the banks of the river to narrow the channel. This caused the water to move faster through the area which will keep the water temperature from rising too quickly and help to move the dirt and muck on downstream,” Vincent said. “We also recycled every big rock and log we could find and placed them in and around the Evening Hole and created a good number of places for trout to hide and to find food.”

The Wildlife Conservation Commission recently voted to establish special trout fishing regulations on the Evening Hole and Lost Creek areas. Upon gubernatorial approval, anglers will be required to use only artificial flies and lures with barbless hooks and may harvest only one rainbow trout and one brown trout 20-inches or longer per day. When the proposed regulations were opened to public input recently, the Department received overwhelming support of the new regulations.

“This is certainly one of the most ambitious streams restoration project that has ever been undertaken in the state. We can’t wait for people to come down and see it for themselves,” Vincent said. “This is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together. We certainly couldn’t have done this without the strong partnership and support from a wide range of public and private organizations like the Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation, the 89er Chapter of the Trout Unlimited, the Oklahoma Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Oklahoma State Parks and Resorts and the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to name a few.”



Biologists used 600 dump truck loads of gravel to narrow the river channel, causing the water to remain cooler and move through the Evening Hole faster. With the addition of large rocks, logs and islands, fisheries personnel transformed once sub-par trout habitat into a first class fishing area.  The 286 trees for the Evening Hole were planted in January and February

      Evening Hole - After Restoration

Wildlife Department fisheries biologists used bulldozers and a good deal of imagination to transform an ancient stream channel into a new trout stream called Lost Creek.