"We're going to open for full utilization this morning," said city Public Works Director Bob Stephenson, meaning that anglers are once again free to ply the waters of both the east and west reservoirs for still plentiful fish.
The east reservoir has been closed to fishing for nearly two weeks after fish began dying from the algae, which kills fish but has no effect on other animals or humans.
The west reservoir was closed to fishing last Friday after algae was found in it as well. Both sides of the reservoir were treated with ammonium sulfate.
The algae killed thousands of fish in the east reservoir. It was the farthest north the algae has ever been found. It was previously the culprit in a fish kill at Lake Texoma.
Though the algae causes no problems in humans, fishing was banned at the reservoirs out of fears that anglers could transport it to uninfected lakes. Now that there is no sign of the algae, the state Department of Wildlife Resources has given the OK for fishing to resume.
There is absolutely no harm in eating the fish," Stephenson said. "This toxin is not harmful to air breathers."
While the algae is gone, Stephenson said, the reservoir isn't out of the clear, since it is possible that microscopic spores lurk in the mud.
The state agreed to pay for one of the two applications of ammonium sulfate because the algae posed a risk to all state waterways.
Stephenson said the state conducted shock tests on the east reservoir and discovered there are still a good number of fish left in the smaller pond. He said shad -- "the canary in the coal mine" since it is most susceptible to the toxin -- still populate the reservoir, and the city plans to stock it with more fish.
He said the episode speaks well of how the Altus community works together to avert a threat.
"This is just a prime example of people working together to solve a mutual problem," he said. "Our citizens have been phenomenal. When we closed the reservoir to fishing, I did not receive one call of complaint. Everyone has been very cooperative."