R-C Rebound
By: Tom Lester II

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Like many lakes across the country, our own Richland-Chambers has gone through a transformation of sorts over the past several years. Ask any of the folks you know that might spend time on the lake and I'm sure they will tell you how different it looks compared to when it opened to the public.

A great deal of the big timber has fallen down, typical of new impoundments. Most of the small brush along the shorelines has been gone for a long time.

After it first opened and for many years following, R-C was a popular spot for fishermen of all types, especially bass anglers. With the abundance of cover for the bass to live in, fishing for bass was generally a successful venture. In fact, some national bass fishing circuits came here for tournaments because the lake and the fishing were so good. Then, things began to change.

As the brush in the lake began to decay, the fishing seemed to get tougher and tougher. Bass angler success rates began to decline and did so for a number of years. Not only did R-C loose favor with the larger tournament circuits, even the smaller tournaments quite coming to the area. This created a negative impact on our lake area businesses, as well as those businesses in town, which catered to tournament fishermen.

Our service stations and restaurants, along with motels felt the pinch most of all. One large tournament, such as the BASS events that came to R-C in the mid 90's, would impact our local economy as much as $250,000 - $300,000. Even smaller tournaments, whether one or two day events, would also impact our community and local businesses by several thousands of dollars.

Again, like many reservoirs in the US, the lake has changed again. With the appearance of native aquatic vegetation around the lake, the bass fishing is improving. As the bass spawn or lay their eggs in the lake, the small fish now have a place to hide from predators and grow up the become catch able fish. This is what the primary problem was for many years. As the brush and other cover along the shorelines declined, the small fish were eaten by predators and never allowed to grow up.

Now that the lake is rebounding with regard to the bass fishing, we are seeing more and more bass fishing tournaments return to Richland-Chambers. In fact, for the next three months, there will be 3 large, nationally run bass tournaments held at R-C, not to mention the countless number of smaller tournaments.

The BASS Federation is hosting a tournament the weekend of March 19th. On April 2-3, FLW Outdoors will host a Texas Tournament Trail tournament out of Oak Cove Marina. The Sunday afternoon weigh-in will be at the Super Walmart parking lot beginning at 4:00pm and is open to the public. First place at this won could net the winner as much as $70,000. On May 7, FLW Outdoors will also host a Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament at R-C. See the tournament page on this web site for more information.

All three of these tournaments are professional level events. Each tournament will have 400 or more anglers entered in the event. Although I won't be fishing two of them, I know that the TTT tournament that I will be fishing will see 200 pros and many of the non-boater fishermen spend as much as a full week here practicing for the tournament…staying in our motels, buying fuel, eating in our restaurants and shopping at our stores. Anglers from all over will be here for this tournament. Every dollar these fishermen and women spend in Corsicana and Navarro County adds to our sales tax income and supports our local businesses.

So whether you enjoy fishing, watching the weigh in or are not interested in fishing at all, everyone in our community benefits in some way when the fishing is good at R-C. I for one am glad to see our fishing improving and our local economy benefiting from it, too.
Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors.

Tom Lester II

For more information or to contact Tom, visit him at Fishing Pro Staff.

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