It’s a long way before the whitewater thrill is tamed…Posted July 7, 2011 by Gregg Armstrong, Co-Founder
California has experienced very warm temperatures this first week of July. This was true for lower elevations in the valleys and higher elevations in the mountains. The results of this swing in temperature from below normal to above normal has caused serious snow melt. Rivers are running at late-May levels even though it is July! We are on the downward gradual trend for 2011 flows, but due to residual snow in the High Sierra, it will take a long time to arrive at “low flows”.
My son was on the eastern side of the Sierra a few days ago; a place we frequented during family backpacking trips when he was young. To his surprise (and mine) he couldn’t get to the lakes we usually fish at in June and July because he needed snowshoes!!! Even if he did get there, they are still frozen and he would have needed to cut a hole in the ice and experience his first ice fishing… in July!
Take a look at the latest report (left). You’ll see not much has changed in regard to flow predictions. It seems we have been fairly accurate in anticipating the flows. Keeping 35 years of detailed flow records certainly has helped, in addition to good data from our friends in Sacramento at the Department of Water Resources.
In this week’s chart, the key number is the second right-hand column at top: “Percent of normal for this date”. Unfortunately, the Department of Water Resources is no longer calculating this number because normally they don’t have any numbers to report! My guess is that is that we are about 200% or more at this time. This is why this year rivers will continue to act like they are in May and June even though we are in July and August.
2011 continues to amaze and thrill us in regard to flows and whitewater action. Each river has a long way to go before it ceases to excite us!