“This is probably my favorite place to come,” Joe LaBelle said.
Labelle and Jack Evans are just two of the many people that call Clark County Lake home.
And their biggest passion is fishing.
“Reel it in!” LaBelle told his son.
A few months ago, the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism announced they were lowering the lake to repair a damaged spillway.
Officials said construction would continue through the winter and finish intime, so people like LaBelle and Evans can get back to the water this summer.
But those plans are changing because they were unable to secure a bid.
“We’ve estimated the cost of $1.6 million,” Mike Miller with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said. “We have that in our capital improvement budget to do that, and the first bids we got were way more than that.”
Miller said the department is currently reviewing bids, and plan to close the lake this summer once a bid is finalized.
“We know it’s a popular area, and we know it’s in a part of the state that doesn’t have a lot of fishing opportunities, so yeah everybody is frustrated,” he said. “We didn’t want to delay this project either.”
While the department is reviewing another round of bids, Miller said they will continue to lower the water levels.
“It took months for this lake to go down the way it is now,” he said. “We would delay it even more if we started filling the lake up. Our goal is to start and finish this project.”
“They kind of tried rushing it and started draining the lake before they even got bids ready and now there’s a delay.” LaBelle said. “That’s frustrating, instead of it being ready for this summer.”
“I’ll just go elsewhere if that’s what it amounts to.” Evans said.
Miller said while the bottom valve is open to lower the water levels, he said the fish are going to be ok since there is enough spring water flowing in.