Springtime beckons the trout fly fisher. A little sunshine and warmer temps and there you are at the river’s edge with all your gear and every pattern you tied all Winter or purchased, begged or stole (ok borrowed). Depending upon snow pack, temperatures, weather systems, or dam output etc., the river may sharply rise during this time year. Aside from your observations, if you live close to the river, you should take advantage of any reporting systems that provide river flow data (height or cubic feet per second). Anyone launching a drift boat does this. But, the bank bound fly fisher may not do this and should. 

Make note during your outings of how the river was for wading, fishable water, hatches etc. in the areas you fished. When you get home note the river height/flow (CFS) provided by the resource and make note of it and keep it.

Keep track during these times of the spots you visited and if  you could not safely wade or find much inside water (seams, edges close to shore) to fish. What was the height? Try to make it back as Spring progresses into Summer. Note how the river fishes as the river drops 6 inches, 1 foot, 2 feet. Once the Summer time lows come the levels will stabilize. You will then be looking for deeper, cooler, oxygenated waters for trout and steelhead. In the Fall, you will reverse the process of watching what happens to the river as Fall storms move in.

Keep track of the river levels in a journal or some file. It will save you hour to two hour drives to rivers that are blown out and perhaps steer you toward other rivers that are not rising with snow melt, higher temps or have dams controlling the water levels.  

Query river flow, gages, etc. for the area near you and you should find available updated data that kayakers, guides, etc. use. You can use it too.

Note a comment made mention that the graph above was not legible given the size. I apologize for that. It was merely a symbolic gesture of a river rising. In the comment section, I provide the link re the above graph and it can be opened via the link I provided in the comment response and then clicked upon again to better enhance…sorry about that.