Posts Tagged ‘river gages


Every Day in May Challenge: ‘Runoff’


Leaves Up Into the Trees:

RUNOFF: I suppose I typically associate that with snow melt and the Spring time, early Summer runoff that scours out rivers and keeps bank anglers and river runners waiting for better fishing conditions. Of course, kayakers, rafters and thrill seekers are ecstatic.

I watch the river gages to see when some of my favorite rivers will drop into shape. Much of time, I am not dealing with the typical Spring time, snow melt, high water scenario. Rather, I more often am dealing with Winter time heavy rains and surface runoff that pushes rivers well up into the trees and makes wading forbidden. Then it is the waiting game. Which rivers drop into shape sooner than others. Do I know at what height the river is getting fishable and is the water clarity closer to “steelhead green” rather than chocolate latte? 

One learns the minimum levels to consider fishing on say the Deschutes River (Oregon). Risk takers will ignore this, of course, and some will perish. I am to risk avoidant to wade in waters that are like walking on bowling balls with less than a foot of clarity. “Flows can fluctuate in May. High but steady or decreasing flows are fishable, but once you get above 6500 cfs or so (Madras gage), it’s hard to find good spots to fish. When flows are high, you should look for the same TYPE of water that you usually fish, but it may be in a different place. And there won’t be as many places to fish as there are at lower flows.” (Westfly)

River gages, when available are a valuable resource in deciding whether the timing is right to drive an hour or more to a river to fish, especially in the Winter. I can drive a short distance and look at the Sandy River for color and flow and decide if it is worth driving up to Oxbow or higher, but gages help too. Watching weather predictions, river forecasts and dam releases will help in your decisions to travel or not travel. In the Spring, the ‘runoff’ is hopeful for the long term as snows melt and temperatures warm…hope springs eternal that months lie ahead of decent fishing. Not so predictable in the Winter. 

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Writing Challenge Topic: Safety First


Fly Fish Planning

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.



River Levels: Where it Was…Where it Is..Where it will be

If you can access river levels for your favorite, open streams, then chart optimum levels for safe wading. Call the shop or go on line and check out which gage provides indications of the river going up or dropping into shape. Watch the weather and soon you will have a better sense of when to go.

Sandy River Water Levels (Now & Then) TM/SB

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

August 2020

Please visit MUNCY DESIGNS (click)

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