April 12,2013, Well finally the melt has started. The Kennebec River in Sidney is about 15,000CFS and that’s close to the historical flow for the middle of April – just a bit low. Most of the online USGS site reports are active now but Spencer Stream near Grand Falls on the Dead River stills reads ICE. That sure tells me the water is still way below the comfort level for both the fish and I – still in the mid 30’s in the main stem of the river.
However, up in the headwaters area (Moosehead) they are holding water back. I’m not sure why – perhaps Moosehead didn’t fill up over they winter as they expected. I say this because along with all the unrecored inflow to the lake the recorded inflow (Moose River) is dumping over 1,200CFS into the lake – way over normal flow. Yet, the two monitored outflows from Moosehead only show a combined outflow of about 250CFS (West Outlet only 94CFS and East Outlet only 150CFS – if I heard the guy right). The lake may be lower than normal for this time of year but that ice has to be lifting up with all that inflow.
Moving downriver Harris is letting out a moderate flow most of the day and the Dead River is only running 300CFS or so out of Flagstaff. Pushing on down to Wyman the flow will pulse today from around 2,000CFS to around 4,500CFS about 7:00am and will flow at that lever or higher the rest of the day. That might make you think Solon would be high but William’s Dam’s reported flow for today is 4,000CFS all day.
Then comes the unregulated flows from the Carrabassett and Sandy Rivers and together they put the flow below the Madison Dam up into the 7,000CFS range. With water temps like these I guess I’ll pass on Madison until things warm up a bit. I’ll work Madison at this level if the water and air is a bit warmer but I don’t like way it balances out when I weigh hypothermia risks against the chances of catching a fish with these temps and flows. Madison, in my opinion, has one of those trip you up and knock you down type of bottoms – sort of reminds me of the East Outlet in that respect.
And speaking again of the East Outlet at 150CFS that might be worth a good hard look. I’d be looking hard in that deep pool below the dam – at 150CFS there’s not a lot of other deep holding water around and salmon don’t seem to care if the water is squirting out from under the ice and wicked cold – they seem to feed anyway. GLS is another spot I’d take a hard look at. Plenty of salmon in that stream and the flow there is about 350CFS.
The picture above was taken from spillway looking towards Castle Island and the one below shows Belgrade Stream by Wings Mills Dam looking upstream towards the Long Pond. But Belgrade is where I’ll be spending the next few days I think. Long Pond is open along the shoreline (near the downtown spillway from Great Pond) and on could launch a small boat and troll there is so much open water.
If they stop talking about snow I may have to put my canoe in here and start looking for some Pike. They should be moving out from under the ice and into the slow shallow areas with dark bottoms which will warm small pocket areas of slow moving water. When the ice leaves the shallow bays they will migrate there but for now a slow section or small cove in a still moderate to slow moving meadow stream is a good bet.
If you decide to hit some rivers and streams or head north towards the East Outlet tomorrow be sure and check the flow phone as flows really jump around this time of year.