Friday was the first time that six-year-old Myla Starr of McKenzie had ever been fishing, and she seemed to be
having a good time.
Friday was also the first day that Carroll Lake was open for fishing and boating after being closed to the public for
nearly six years.
The daughter of Dakota and Cheyenne Starr, Myla was out at the lake with family and friends for a day of fishing
and picnicking while her parents were busy as essential workers.
Myla’s grandparents, Sonny and Donna Baskin, and friends of the family, Eric Chambers and Allan Smith, all
said they were glad to see the lake reopened.
“It’s awesome and very much needed, especially with all this mess going on,” said Mrs. Baskin. “It’s good to get
out in the open and enjoy the fresh air.”
“I fished here a lot before it broke,” said Chambers. “It seems to be stocked really well.”
According to Tim Broadbent, regional fisheries manager with the TWRA, the state agency that oversees the lake,
Carroll Lake has been thoroughly stocked with large mouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, catfish, and even an
experimental stock of walleye.
“We’ve been looking forward to this opening for a long time,” said Broadbent.
Carroll Lake had to be closed back during the summer of 2014 after historic rainfall overwhelmed and damaged
the floodgates to the spillway, causing the whole lake to drain into the surrounding creek system.
Work on restoring the lake began in August of 2016, overgrown vegetation was cleared out, earthwork was done
to deepen the lake in some spots, new floodgates were put in place, and then in January of 2017, those new gates
were sealed, starting the slow process of letting the lake refill.
Since then, the TWRA has been monitoring the lake’s progress and stocking it with fish.
An original reopening date of April 4 had been scheduled, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced officials to delay it
until May 1.
Broadbent said those who come out enjoy the lake are encouraged to practice social distancing.
Broadbent also pointed out that for anyone age 16 to 64, a fishing license, a daily or yearly permit, or a sportsman
license is required to fish at Carroll Lake or any other state lake.
Currently, the lake is opening daily to the public 30 minutes before sunrise and closing 30 minutes after sunset.
According to McKenzie resident Reggie Wiggins, who was at the lake Friday fishing with his grandson, Jack
Brown, 5, there were a lot of people there that morning, though the crowd had thinned out quite a bit by the
“I’m really glad to see it back open,” said Wiggins.
“I’m exited,” said Jim Hatley of McKenzie, who was there fishing with his 13-year-old son, Dalton. “It gives
families a place to go and fish and enjoy the outdoors.”