Friday 1st July - The flows continue to confound. Everything points to the fact that the flows in the Frying Pan catchment have topped out, yet the inflows to Ruedi continue to exceed the outflows by enough to have forced the Bureau to raise the releases again in order to retain control over the level off the pool. Currently there is less than 3% to go and Ruedi is on track to be full by July 4th. The daily peaks of the inflows indicate that the top has passed but the volume of inflows over the entire day remain higher than expected. So it is just a matter of whether the residual unmeasured snow pack is dissipating fast enough to bring down the flows before the reservoir is full.
With the hot weather over the past week, the flows at Aspen in the Fork picked up over the past several days, confounding more predictions. But yesterday's flow didn't exceed the peak.
Bottom line, there won't be any floating this weekend and the wade fishing will be confined to the area near the dam or on the edges in the widest sections of the pan. The tributaries have slowed down so places like Taylor Creek also have some nice little fishing opportunities. At least there is a little fishing and clients have been having a good time. Most other areas have nothing. Have a safe July 4th Weekend.
Wednesday 29th - The flow continues to confound the experts. Even though on all readings it seems pretty clear that the peak has passed, the bottom line is that the experts don't know what to expect now. The reason is that all of the guages which read snow depth have no snow, so in theory there is little snow left. Yet the rivers continue to flow at record levels. It seems that there is so much more snow at higherelevations which is creating some uncertainty as to when the flows will slow. The Fork has been running at records over the last few days. Take the Basalt reading today. The records was 3570 yet the current flow is 4380 and the high today was near 5000cfs. At aspen though the record was 1660 and now the reading is 515cfs so the graph is obviously coming down.
Thomasville is also coming off its peaks but the problem is that ruedi is approaching full and at this rate will be full on 4th July. In order to stay ahead the bureau has pushed up the flow even though the graph is down. But they don't know how much more snow has to come from the highest elevations. So, it seems, that on the current flows the Fork is coming down fast but is still high and as Ruedi is near full, the flows will have to anticipate it filling and try and maintain control.
All things being equal, the graphs indicate that the peak has passed. But if there has been an underestimation of snow where there are no guages, Ruedi might fill and run over the top after July 4th. So it is now a real guessing game. The level will remain high at least for the next few days. It is just a matter of time and a function of the inflows.
Monday 27th - last nights peak at Thomasville was below yesterdays peak. With such a hot windy day, and now a lower peak, that is pretty compelling support for the idea that the upper Pan will start dropping quickly very soon. The low inflow yesterday afternoon was actually less than the outflow so, with 6.5% to go to fill Ruedi, if there is a bigger drop today in the inflow the releases will have to come down quickly to enable Ruedi to fill.
Well my prediction for the water level by the end of the weekend was off! But I think we are definitely past the peak now. We have had a very hot few days and with quite high winds on Sunday, one would expect the rivers to be higher than they are.
Taking a look at the Aspen graph for the Fork over the past 20 days, it is evident that the highest flow was on June 17th. Over the past 2 days, the flow on Saturday was higher than Sunday but did not approach the peak of the 17th. The Fork profile is similar but not as pronounced at Basalt. But that guage takes into account the higher flows from the Pan. Today the Fork approached 5000cfs at Basalt and given that the previous maximum for this day was 3920 in 2008, that sums up the pace of the run-off.
Looking at Thomasville, the peak today was fractionally higher than yesterday, but the low today is lower than yesterday. And today's flow was the second highest this year. So given that at present the low today is fractionally less than yesterday's, it seems that every indication is that we have passed the peak.
Today, the Bureau raised the Pan by 100cfs noting that Ruedi is now 92.2% full. That is 3.4% in 3 days. Looking at the snowpack, most of the guages are at zero, further evidencing how much has melted off in the last few days.
So all in all it seems pretty compelling that the peak has passed. If so, the flow will drop dramatically over the near term. So watch the guages. I will make a mid-week post as soon as it is definitive.
It is a safe bet though, that the Pan will be lower in a week than it is now. The forecast over the next few days is hot weather with possible thunderstorms and some wind and then hot and bright mid-week. But we certainly don't want much rain or unsettled weather.
The fishing has been excellent on the Pan with the high water pushing the fish to the edges offering some great fishing. We have some excellent photos this week. Cameron has been enjoying the high water so much he doesn't want it to come down!
So check back here in a day or so and I will post an update on the water levels and another prediction!
Current Flow: below the Dam 752cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The Bureau dropped the flow by 150cfs for a few days, but today raised it again, presumably to keep control of the Ruedi inflow. With Ruedi adding 3.4% in 3 days, the last thing the Bureau wants is the water flowing over the top. But it seems this latest lift will be very temporary and the flow will be cut back in the next few days.
The fishing has been excellent in the high water as the flow has been relatively clean and clear leaving the fish to enjoy feeding in the high fast water with Rocky Fork bringing in additional food ordinarily not introduced during the year when Rocky Fork barely flows.
The flows should come down very quickly in the lower Pan this week, so keep an eye the graphs or this report as it will be updated in a few days. The coming week will bring great fishing and as the flows reduce it will be easier to wade into areas where the fish haven't been touched for weeks.
Recommended Flies:There is good fishing now on both midges and BWO's. The water from Rocky Fork is bringing in a lot of other food as well, so the fish won't pass up the opportunity to take anything relatively well offered. Given the high water and the fact that the fishing has been confined to the area near the dam over the past weeks, now with the water clearing, lower down, the fish will be feeding well and will not have seen much traffic.
So apart from the standard fare, try bigger flies fished deep. Rubberlegged stones will work as well as attractor patterns in the fast deep water.
The midges will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try WD-40's #20, red and black chironocones #20, brassies #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22, copper johns #18 - #22, black polywings #18 - #22 and garcia's rojo midges # 18 - #22.
The caddis are evident now in the warm evenings as well as a few PMD's and midges. In addition as the water gets higher try bigger bugs in the faster water where it is deep. The fish will take large attractors where the water is fast enough and it is a little colored. It also enables one to get away with heavier tippet.
For the moment, the Fork is too high to safely wade in most areas and very fast for a float. Just come to the Pan. However, if the water level keeps coming down a little it will be relatively clear and the fishing along the edges will be good. So in a few days, if the water condition looks good, head higher up and try and fish the edges where the fish will be away from the flow. If the water is clear they will be feeding.
The Colorado is a sea of mud so just drive by, turn onto highway 82 and come up to the Pan.