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04/01/08 – up and down the river

04/01/08 –

3 guys fishing

Well it’s a typical April Fools Day and once again the joke is on us.  Not much fishing to be had but there is some good news.  There are some stoneflies moving about as you can see by enlarging the photo on the right.  Actually, these guys have been on the move for a week or so and with the melt we’ll have today and tomorrow they should continue to be active.

But the access is hard in the places I visited this morning.  Wyman Dam in the fog.Wyman Dam is pretty well fogged in the snow is up to the top of the guardrails along the roadside.  But that didn’t stop three guys who were there at 7:30 this morning.  Nope it didn’t seem to slow them down at all.


Snow cover rails at Wyman DAm

One was fly casting and the other two had spinning rods.  I have to admit I didn’t walk down to ask how  they were doing.  You could walk on the crust and so the snow wasn’t much of a problem but by mid-morning each step is going to break through and the climb back up the bank is apt to be a tough one.

Solon was at a reasonable level with similar access.  The picture on the right Picnic Tables under the snow.shows the picnic tables at Evergreen Campground – the table tops are about at the top of the snow pack. Looking up and down river about all you Solon looking upriversee is fog and some bare ground right along the river edge indicating the river has been higher.  With the next couple of days of warmer weather my guess is that open bank space will soon be under water.

At the bottom of the page I’ve put up some pictures from last year’s April Fools run.  You can see there’s quite a difference from one year to the next.

Solon looking downriver

Dropping downriver to Shawmut where the edges are also bare the picture isn’t much better.  The snow in the parking area is deep.  As you drive around the Knee Deep in SnowFairfield area and looking at the snow banks you could get the idea that the snow is almost gone but if you get out and go walking around you find out differently.   I was some glad I didn’t break through to knee level with every step I took as it wasn’t easy getting back on top of the snow.  Same old story you take a few steps and things are swell and then  – bang – you drop through and when you push hard to lift yourself out the other foot breaks through – not fun.

Here’s what the entrance road looks like and it’ll be awhile before anyone is driving down to the landing.  Someone will try it though and soon is my guess.  Entrance road to Shawmut is snow bound.They do it every year and tear up the road for everyone else.  Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have 4-wheel drive.  Anyway, once you get down to the water at Shawmut it doesn’t take long to figure out that wading isn’t a good idea.  The level is high and the flow is fast.

Shawmut FlashboardsHalf the flashboards are down and there’s a lot of water coming over the dam.  The rest of the flashboards will go with the onset of a good thaw and then we’ll begin the long wait for them to put themWhite Rock is under water.back up.  My guess is we won’t see that until we get past the middle of May – perhaps not until the first week or so of June.

So that’s about it for this Friday Update.  Stay tuned – keep checking in and I’ll give you to lowdown on the river conditions.

And finally below is the first post from last year just to give you an idea of difference from one year to the next.

04/06/07 Welcome back to the Friday Update.  As usual the river is just what you would expect – cold andhigh.  Not as high as some years but high for wading.  Great for boating in the Bingham area as you’ll see in some of the pictures I took on opening day but generally to high for wading. Here’s a rundown of what I saw Opening day.

First Bingham.

As I drove into Bingham I could see the river was up but not the normal almost flood stage ones often sees in April.  The section across from the Bingham Motel was almost inviting.  I kept on going and crossed Austin Stream and wished that was open as the levels in it looked good.  However, the wild rainbows of Bingham deserve protection during the spring spawn so it was only a passing thought.  So I drove on to visit Wyman Dam my usual starting point for my April 1st run.

When I got to Wyman I was surprised to see the flood gates not only weren’t open but they hadn’t even been washed clean of snow.  A sure sign the melt hasn’t really started upcountry.

There were people fishing and I took a couple of photos and tried to highlight the guys with red outlines.  You can see two guys who must have walked down on the power line side to get some wading in.

A few people had caught fish and one guy came in yesterday with a picture of a 20″ plus Splake or Brookie.  I looked at the picture and couldn’t tell – tail was pretty square and it was a handsome fish.  The guy wasn’t sure either but said other than being curious he didn’t really care and his son (who caught the fish) surely didn’t care. His son was just happy to have caught such a fish on opening day.

There were people using the new boat ramp and when I headed back down river towards Solon I saw a group of people at the head of the Multi-Use trail so there must have been some wading going on down below.  Bingham is still not real high as you can see by this chart. The flow is being regulated and only a few spikes of really high water so far.

Then down to Solon which was fairly low. As you can see looking upstream there were people out in canoes and the rock pile just above the bridge was showing.

I didn’t see anyone wading but they certainly could have.  That may change soon with the melt we’re bound to have but until it starts Solon might well be a good area to try.

Looking downstream the river was clear of ice.  As a matter of fact all of the upper river sections looked to be free of ice. It was a different story when I got down to Madison.

Madison had ice and snow.  Now after yesterday’s storm everyplace has snow but there wasn’t all that much on the first when I was driving around.  That is until I got to Madison.  There I saw lots of snow and quite a bit of ice on the river.

Some GeeseAnd, I saw a lot of geese.  One field that had some large open areas had a lot of geese.  Enough so that I heard them before I saw them.  Those birds sure can make a racket. A nice bonus that comes with spring days is being able to ride around with your window part way down so you can hear such things.

My next stop was Shawmut and it was high.  High enough so that they had one bay of the mechanical gates wide open.  That’s right you guessed it the White Rock wasn’t showing.  It might be awhile before we see that.

All in all it’s a typical April.  Water is low when you think about what we have coming in the next few weeks and it’s tempting to think about some serious wading.  But for my money I’ll take the edges and shoreline for my casting and fishing.  That water is just to cold to risk much wading and at 33 to 36 degrees I can tell I DO NOT want to fall in.

Yep, I’ll be fishing the smaller feeder streams and lake inlets for awhile and leaving the main stem of the river to the soon to be returning Ospreys.