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04/02/10 – high – cold water

04/02/10  – Well welcome to the 2010 Friday Updates.  I’ll be posting weekly updates throughout the season and hopefully I’ll be able to give High Spring Runoffyou more information about good fishing conditions than I was able to last year.  Last year’s high water was simply put – a bummer – and most up my updates suggested you stay away from the river and go fish ponds.  So here’s hoping for a normal river flow this season and a bit more river fishing.

And speaking of the river. It, true to form, is HIGH but dropping. But that is as it should be in early April.  Actually, you would have to say not only is it high but it is high and dirty as these pictures show.  That too is normal.  The good part of it is there is little snow behind this high water and unless we get big rains the runoff should drop quickly.  And we have the new inflatable bladders on top of the Shawmut Dam which should help flow control.

So I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict wading in Shawmut as early as I’ve ever seen it. April 23rd is my date for wading Shawmut this year.  That’s a full week earlier than I’ve ever seen seen it but I’ve never seen a spring like this – so – there’s my date.

But we don’t have to wait until then to fish the Kennebec.  Nope the upriver flows are fairly good actually.  Since there is still ice on Moosehead and Flagstaff and lower than normal runoff the flows up there are not bad.  The East Outlet is only running at 511CFS and should that hold until Monday that’s where I’ll be.  I’d be there Sunday – but – it is Easter after all.

The West Outlet is at 231CFS and Flagstaff is only 231CFS.  All of those flows are fishable.  The question is how long will they hold water back in Moosehead.  It may still be iced over but the Moose is dumping 1,748CFS into Moosehead and sooner or later they will have to start flowing East Outlet.  If they can just wait until Tuesday I’ll be happy.

The rest of the river is high as my upriver, across the river and down the river shots (on the left) taken from the back of the shop indicate.  Harris Station is 2,400CFS which might allow some wading down to the Forks but below that levels jump. Bingham is over 13,000CFS and Madison is over 21,000CFS so there is little fishable water there and of course it gets higher from there down.

High Spring RunoffThe biggest inflow to the Kennebec right now is the Sandy which is running at 6,800CFS.  That’s down from yesterday’s flow of 9,420CFS but still has a long way to go.  The Carrabassett is holding it’s own with a flow of 5,280CFS – down from yesterday’s flow of 6,290CFS.  It’s encouraging to see them dropping so rapidly.

Another early favorite that is high is Grand Lake Stream with a flow of 1,470CFS which is not a flow I’d make the trip to fish.  But the West Branch of the Penobscot is flowing at 2,447CFS and while high for some it is fishable.  Regardless of the levels remember that all the waters are COLD right now and fish won’t be moving a lot. You won’t be either if you fall in.  If you go fishing anywhere this weekend be careful.  Right out back of the shop the water is holding about 36 degrees and we’re a long way down from the ice.  The West Branch, Dead River and Upper Kennebec are flowing out from under the ice – hypothermia as they say is a real and present danger.

Some waters you don’t want to overlook are the local streams that get warm come summertime.  Right now they are cold and and high enough to provide shelter. That means fish will move into them and hold until the rivers calm down.  Give them a try.  Local ponds (at least in this area) are also open.  But don’t expect to fish any of the ponds at higher elevations – most are still frozen.

However, the higher ponds and northern lakes will definitely ice out early. In front of our camp at Pemadumcook (near Millinocket) we only had 17″ of ice in January. Our normal ice thickness in January is closer to 4-feet.  So like our ponds and lakes down here which are already open the northern and high elevation water will be opening soon.

If you decide to hold off on your fishing and want to do something outdoor related don’t forget the Maine Sportsman’s Show in Augusta this weekend.  It’s at the Civic Center in Augusta again and there are a lot of events and items of interest.  If you want to visit the Sportsman’s Show Home Page just click on this link.

High Spring RunoffWell until next week that’s it.  Remember waters are cold, levels are mostly on the high side and we’ll be wading Shawmut in THREE WEEKS.