Blood Lake: the O.C. Fisher Reservoir – San Angelo, Texas - Atlas Obscura

Blood Lake: the O.C. Fisher Reservoir

The end of times arrives, at least for the fish in the O.C. Fisher Reservoir. 


In a classic sign of the apocalypse, the water of the O.C. Fisher Reservoir in Texas has seemingly turned to blood, spreading toxic death throughout its massively receding waters.

While it’s gotten plenty of press from those who believe this is a sign of the second coming, scientists have a slightly less epic but still unnerving explanation for the red waters and piles of stinking fish, as well as other disturbing events in Texas. One of the many lakes that disappeared receded to reveal a piece of the space shuttle “Columbia”, which broke up over East Texas in 2003.

A severe drought has plagued over 75% of the state, in practically biblical proportions, drastically affecting all of the reservoirs which in turn has decimated fish supplies. O.C. Fisher Reservoir has in the past been a favorite spot for fishermen, despite never being completely full. Now it has been reduced to a few feet of stagnant red muck, downgrading the body of water from lake to pond and suffocating the healthy stock of sunfish, bass and catfish.

While mountains of rotting fish and trophy-worthy bass going to waste is a shameful sight to see, it’s not exactly frightening. What makes this reservoir truly a horrific sight is the deep red shade of the water that to many looks a little too much like blood for comfort. The cause of this chilling vision of biblical nightmares is Chromatiaceae bacteria, a member of the purple sulfur bacteria which thrive in oxygen-deprived water. They are common in stagnant water, and along with the lack of rain in the Lone Star State, responsible for the horror-show appearance of what was once a peaceful fishing spot teeming with life.

Know Before You Go

It's not dry anymore! !the drought is over. The lake is back to normal.

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February 28, 2013

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