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Join the fishing frenzy on Lake Buchanan

lake buchanan

Buchanan Dam formed Lake Buchanan (top body of water) in 1939. Inks Lake is shown below the dam. Courtesy Photo.

Fishermen pulling hybrid striped bass out of Lake Buchanan can thank the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corp., which will be releasing thousands more fingerlings this summer.

“We’ve released 5.3 million fry and fingerlings since we started in 2006,”  says George Bold, director of the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corp. Of that 6-year total, 4.8 million were fry, or tiny one- and two-day old fish, and 475,300 were fingerlings. Just last year, 76,000 fingerlings were released in the lake.

The LBC also raises money to help build boat ramps on the lake. The Shaw Island boat ramp on the Llano side will be extended 60 feet sometime in February or March. The extension is needed because of the lower lake levels.

As of Feb. 18, the level of Lake Buchanan stands at 992.10 feet. That’s 19.6 feet below its historic February average of 1,011.67 feet. The water temperature is currently 60 to 64 degrees — that’s a little chilly!

Of the eight public boat ramps on the lake, only five are currently open because of the lake levels.

“If the water comes back up, this ramp we’re talking about at Shaw Island will be out of use because it will be under water,” Bold said. “I’d like to see that happen, since it would mean more water in the lake.”

LBC holds several fundraisers each year to pay for the fry and fingerlings and to provide the money necessary for boat ramp maintenance and repair. An annual golf tournament is planned for May 18 at Delaware Springs Golf Course in Burnet. This year’s barbecue will be held June 15 at the Hill Country Hall in Buchanan Dam. Even more appropriatelyhe LBC holds an annual fish fry at the hall. This year, the fish fry will be Aug. 31. A raffle also is planned, but no date is set as of yet.

Dam history

Formed to provide hydroelectric power and a water supply for the region, Lake Buchanan is used for regatta races, boating, fishing and swimming. Visitors bring picnic baskets, tables and grills to spend the day enjoying the water. The Lower Colorado River Authority has three parks on the lake: Cedar Point Recreation Area, Black Rock Park and Canyon of the Eagles.

The dam forming the lake was built by the LCRA. Completed in 1939, the dam is more than two miles in length. Buchanan was the first of the Highland Lakes to be formed. At 22,333 acres of surface water that stretches over Burnet and Llano counties, it’s also the largest.

The dam and lake are named after state Rep. James P. Buchanan, who secured the funding for construction. Buchanan served in Texas’ 10th congressional district until 1937, when he was succeeded by Lyndon B. Johnson, a politician on his way to becoming president of the United Statse and a champion of the Highland Lakes.