Leaves Up Into the Trees: http://floradoragardens.blogspot.com

RUNOFF: I suppose I typically associate that with snow melt and the Spring time, early Summer runoff that scours out rivers and keeps bank anglers and river runners waiting for better fishing conditions. Of course, kayakers, rafters and thrill seekers are ecstatic.

I watch the river gages to see when some of my favorite rivers will drop into shape. Much of time, I am not dealing with the typical Spring time, snow melt, high water scenario. Rather, I more often am dealing with Winter time heavy rains and surface runoff that pushes rivers well up into the trees and makes wading forbidden. Then it is the waiting game. Which rivers drop into shape sooner than others. Do I know at what height the river is getting fishable and is the water clarity closer to “steelhead green” rather than chocolate latte? 

One learns the minimum levels to consider fishing on say the Deschutes River (Oregon). Risk takers will ignore this, of course, and some will perish. I am to risk avoidant to wade in waters that are like walking on bowling balls with less than a foot of clarity. “Flows can fluctuate in May. High but steady or decreasing flows are fishable, but once you get above 6500 cfs or so (Madras gage), it’s hard to find good spots to fish. When flows are high, you should look for the same TYPE of water that you usually fish, but it may be in a different place. And there won’t be as many places to fish as there are at lower flows.” (Westfly)

River gages, when available are a valuable resource in deciding whether the timing is right to drive an hour or more to a river to fish, especially in the Winter. I can drive a short distance and look at the Sandy River for color and flow and decide if it is worth driving up to Oxbow or higher, but gages help too. Watching weather predictions, river forecasts and dam releases will help in your decisions to travel or not travel. In the Spring, the ‘runoff’ is hopeful for the long term as snows melt and temperatures warm…hope springs eternal that months lie ahead of decent fishing. Not so predictable in the Winter. 

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Writing Challenge Topic: Safety First