SAN ANTONIO -- “This is very unfortunate to see it like this,” said Kyle Lyssy, a recreational fisherman who is scoping out a spot to drop his boat--drop it and hit water, that is-- in a lake that’s literally hit rock bottom.
“I’ve lived around here my whole life and this is a new, personal record for me to see it like this,” added Lyssy.
Medina Lake is at 13 percent capacity, and the views are Armageddon-like—with boat docks clutching at cliff sides, and stairs and ramps that lead nowhere.
With some merchants reporting business down 70 percent, recreational sports have dried up a bit, too.
Built a hundred years ago to help farmers irrigate their crops downstream, the lake serves its purpose well. In an effort to keep the remaining water inside the basin, officials have shut off the gates that allow the water to travel downstream.
Now, lake managers are waiting for Mother Nature to step forward and refill it after two years of drought.
“As weather dictates, it will be up or it’ll be down. It can fill fast, and it can stay down if we have an extended drought, like we do,” said Ed Berger, the manager of the Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, which operates Medina Lake’s dam.
Berger said this isn’t the lowest Medina Lake has been. In the 1950s it was twice as low, with only 20 feet of water at its deepest end.
Lake users are remaining positive, doing needed repairs and picking up debris around their docks. And fishermen like Lyssy are positive, too.
“My thinking is that the lower the lake level gets the more concentrated the fish get. I should be able to just scoop them out with a net eventually,” laughed Lyssy.