Contrary to popular rural and redneck legend, Caddo Lake is not Texas’s only natural* lake. There’s also Big Lake, near the town of Big Lake.
Problem being, of course, that Big Lake’s water sources these days generally don’t flow. So Big Lake is often dry.
Which produces a further problem for site like Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: If Big Lake is really a lake, why are there no photos of the lake with water in it?
A comment at AustinBassFishing.com got me thinking about this again, no photos of Big Lake as a Lake. In the previous post here, we featured a photo of Big Lake Playa, sans water. I searched the internet at the time and found no photos showing water in the lake. My authority on Big Lake, Brad Wachsmann, swore that he had recently seen water in the thing (“recent” being “in the last decade or so”).
So, sorta good news: A few photos of Big Lake, with water, plopped onto the internet since our last search. Here are a couple from Panaramio:
Now: Can we track down the rumors of other natural lakes in Texas? Sabine Lake? Green Lake? Natural Dam Lake?
And, Dear Reader, can you find good photos of Big Lake with, you know, water in it?
* Is Caddo Lake a natural lake? Originally, the lake seems to have been formed by an enormous blowdown of trees, probably during a hurricane, well over 400 years ago. In that sense, it was a natural lake when European explorers first found it, and during all of Texas’s “six flags” historic periods. Or, what is known as the Great Raft, a log jam, dammed up the Red River near the confluence of the Big Cypress Bayou, in about 1799. By 1800, Caddo Lake was wet all year-round, and deep enough for shallow boat navigation. In 1835, Capt. Henry Shreve blew up enough of the logjam that steamboat traffic could get past (the guy after whom Shreveport, Louisiana, is named). After the Civil War, locals tried to expand boat traffic by completely removing the logjam. Instead of making traffic easier, this removal led shrinking water levels in the lake, and it destroyed navigation farther up the Red River. Several efforts to restore higher water levels achieved some success by about 1915. When oil was discovered under the swamp, pressures came from oil companies to make drilling easier — travel in the mud was difficult. After the invention of the Hughes drill bit (by Howard Hughes‘s father, the founder of Hughes Tool Co.) to allow drilling through water and mud into oil-bearing rock, a dam was built near where the logjam had been, to raise the level of what is known today as Caddo Lake. What is seen today is a human-enhanced version of the Caddo Lake known by the Caddo Tribe. This is all preface to the current Texas water wars.
- The oil rig used for Santa Rita #1, the rig that caused the pollution that killed Big Lake, is on the campus of the University of Texas.
- Caddo Lake could be vital water source in the future (ktbs.com)
- Budget cuts bad for state parks (mysanantonio.com)
- Invasive plant moving into other East Texas lakes (kfdm.com)
- Invasive plant moving into other East Texas lakes (mysanantonio.com)
- Legislature must stop pinching Texas parks’ future (star-telegram.com)
- Lakehills ‘a ghost town’: Medina Lake residents fear fish kill imminent (kens5.com)
- Did Two Day Rain-Even Help Lake Levels? (dfw.cbslocal.com)
We lived in big lake!!! No such thing as a lake there! Ugliest town I hv lived in! People r also terrible! Everybody knows everyone! On one has privacy! If u slept or not by the morning everyone knows! Even if u keep to yourself! Very ugly!!!
Unfortunately you will not find many pictures of water in the lake at Big Lake it’s been dried up my whole life. At one time the mayor wanted to drill wells to refill the lake because it doesn’t rain enough in west Texas to fill up the lake and keep it full. I’m 37 grew up in Odessa,Texas and I’ve never seen water in the lake. We actually have several lakes in west Texas that are now dry lakes due to drought. Good luck on finding pictures
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It would be a great name, yes?
It would also be in keeping with the rap tradition of mispronouncing things. Properly, it’s pronounced PLY-uh, as in Racetrack Playa, where the rocks slide by themselves.
Big Lake Playa
Texas’ greatest rap artist.
[…] Drought: check out this series of photos of Caddo Lake: from all the way full to bone dry now. Things have changed since I moved from Austin in […]