Drought threatens OK’s oldest fishing tournament

Posted on: 2:28 pm, May 17, 2013, by and , updated on: 02:43pm, May 17, 2013

CANTON, Okla. – One weekend a year the population of Canton, Oklahoma, triples.

Hundreds of fishermen flock there for the annual Walleye Rodeo, the state’s largest and oldest fishing tournament.

However, the drought is threatening to put this long tradition to an end.

The water level is 13 feet below normal after 5 billion gallons were siphoned to replenish Oklahoma City’s drinking supply, leaving the lake only 20 percent full.

“Had to sell my boat,” Clyde Hood, longtime Canton resident, said. “It won’t be back to normal for 10 years I think, terrible.”

The town also boasts other attractions like a carnival and a street dance but it relies on the lake for its economic and recreational drawing power.

Businesses are reporting a 60 percent drop in revenue.

However, the tournament is still on for this weekend and the town has planned plenty of family friendly activities including a barbecue cook off, car show and sand castle contest.

The die-hard fishermen are willing to “rough it” for camaraderie, prize money and love of the sport.

However locals said they fear without significant spring rain, the 46th Annual Walleye Rodeo could be the last.