THREE RIVERS – Rick and Mitzi Anderson used to fish Choke Canyon so much, they felt there was a need for a lodge in comparison to motels nearby.
The couple built the Choke Canyon Lodge in 2007 with partners Blake and Donna Nelson and haven’t looked back since.
“There was nothing out here when we would fish the lake a lot,” Mitzi said. “There were a couple of motels, but nothing like a lodge for long-term stays.”
The lodge has 19 units, 18 rooms and a house available for guests looking to stay near Choke Canyon.
“We added ten condos next door eight years ago,” Mitzi said. “Those are for long-term stays.”
The units vary from king suites, to family oriented rooms, or even anglers looking to bunk with more than one angler.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the lodge remained busy with guests.
“For a while during COVID we had Phillips 66 guys that would book often,” Mitzi said. “We had a little bit of oil field workers and anglers. It all depended on what season it is for our guests.”
Choke Canyon was impounded in 1986 and is well-known for various species including largemouth black bass.
“Choke is a trophy gar lake,” Mitzi said. “It’s also a great white bass and catfish lake, but many come here for the bass. We have people from all over come to fish this lake often. We just had the best duck season in a while last year.”
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department shut down all of its state parks in April due to COVID measures.
“March and April are the busiest time for fishing with the spawn,” Mitzi said. “When they shut down Choke it affected us for a few weeks. Revenues were down some, but could have been worse.”
Finding cleaning supplies was the constant issue while operating during COVID.
“We couldn’t find supplies for cleaning at first,” Mitzi said. “Laundry soap was really hard to find. We had a lot of customers bring us supplies when they returned. That helped us a whole lot.”
The Anderson’s want everyone to feel like they’re at home when visiting the lodge.
“My goal is for you to feel like this is your second home,” Mitzi said. “People get to know each other here and become part of our family. We have a lot of repeat customers and mostly hear about us from word of mouth. We are not a normal hotel, but we will be your favorite place to go when you leave. We are like a mom and pop place, which you don’t get anymore. I want all of our guests happy.”
One repeat guest gifted the lodge a golf cart recently.
“We have a family that has been coming for years,” Mitzi said. “They bring their little dog and wanted to give us a golf cart they don’t use. They came back two weeks ago to drop it off. We are ever so grateful for the golf cart.”
The lodge is located at 141 Jeff Street in Three Rivers and can be contacted at 361-786-3999, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Filoteo is the editor at The Progress and can be reached at 830-254-8088, or at karnes@mySouTex.com.