March 14, 2012
Even though all marked boat lanes are now considered safe with the lake elevation above 168 msl, boaters will need to use caution when running all lanes.
In the past after lengthy periods of low water we have found that logs, limbs, and other debris dry out and when the lake rises rapidly these things float and are moved around by winds.
SRA crews are currently working on boat lanes and will move any floating logs that they encounter.
Again, if you see wood or other objects in the boat lanes, it is floating but can still damage your boat or cause bodily harm. Please use caution.
Safe Boat Lanes
Marked boat lanes are generally considered safe down to a lake level of 168′ msl. In 2011 while the lake was very low, 47 miles of the North-South boat lane were cut to be safe to a level 163′ msl.
What YOU need to know for safe boating:
Marked Boat Lanes are considered safe for NORMAL LAKE LEVELS – 172′ msl down to 168′ msl
Why aren’t boat lanes safe at lower levels?
Unfortunately all of the boat lanes were not cut at the same lake level.
The stump cutters operated at approximately an 8 foot depth. This depth could vary due to limbs restricting the ability to get to the trunk. In those cases the operator may have to shallow up a foot or more to have access to the trunk.
So if that lane or portion of a lane was cut at a 172msl and considering the depth a prop hangs down below a boat, there are places that are dangerous below 168msl. Some areas of the lake were actually cut again during low water conditions and are good at very low water levels.(example: Pendleton Bridge to Cypress Bend Marina).
We believe the Texas buoys were placed without any cutting and are very dangerous at low levels as they tried to use the main river channel. It is always difficult to tell someone not familiar with Toledo Bend the differences between the Texas lanes and the Louisiana lanes.
There are also have marked lanes that will be dry or very near dry at extremely low levels. Demand from local residents has resulted in leaving these lanes marked as they [the locals] know what levels they can run.
Why isn’t something done about it?
In 2011, while the lake was so low, 47 miles of the main North-South boat wane was re-worked to be safe to a level of 163′ msl. If the lake reaches very low levels again, there is a plan to fix more of the boat lanes for safety at lower levels.