Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I started a discussion a fishing trip I may do tomorrow (as I write this). Then I thought maybe I shouldn't after seeing this thread on another forum that shows a very muddy river in that stretch, presumably right after a rain.

Turns out I may be spooking myself with the old NC Angler picture. In the clear river picture at that link the river was running about 480 cfs. In the muddy one around 850. Right now, with yesterdays rain having been heavy at times over night but now turning to light drizzle, it's 257.

Looking at river data from the last week or so, it looked like they anticipated the previous storm and stepped up the release ahead of it didn't rise to rapidly but was running over 2500 when the rain came and they didn't drop it back under a thousand until about 4 days after the rain, then kept it ~500 for a few days before cutting that in half to the current release. This got me really curious - what's happening with lake levels above the dam? That's what really drives this. I think...

So it gets interesting. I looked at historical lake data for a longer period. It looks like they try to keep it at about 252' surface elevation (altitude, not depth). Last week, they were drawing it down because it was about a foot high. The "big rain" of the 17th isn't even a blip on the screen. They had already started the draw down and the rate of drop stayed pretty even through that. Right now, it looks like it is pretty close to 252, so I will monitor it but I am hopeful the release won't change much.

What is really interesting to me about this is that while this is not my favorite river (may favorite is more rural) it's pretty darn good for being so close to town and it appears that being dam controlled makes it operate on a different schedule. I have no doubt that my favorite river is a muddy mess right now.

I may add to this entry as I learn more. 

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Comment by Allen Morgan on January 24, 2015 at 3:42pm

All the lakes around here are managed as a co-op by the COE to provide water flow and depth in the Kerr-McClellan Navigational Channel.  The "Nav Channel" as most locals call it connects this part of OK with the MIssissippi and beyond by water.  I've seen the COE hold back water in the lake upstream of me, sometimes as much as letting that lake get 30' high, while the lakes that are further downstream drain out.

We could use a  really WET year.  We've had two dry years in a row, some lakes are starting to dry out.

Comment by Andy is OptiMystic on January 24, 2015 at 2:57pm

Yes, COE. I know they have been trying to adjust how they release so that it is out of sync with the weather to do what little they can to limit flooding when a TS comes through, though they really can't do as much as a lot of the people downstream think. Right now they are releasing about 275 cfs and about 25 miles downstream it is running 2850; by the time it hits the salt it's about 15K. Not much they can do about that up here; it rained everywhere. Back when Fran and Floyd came through, people down there were really upset thinking the water should be held back. I remember someone from COE getting interviewed on the news about why they were releasing so much when there was flooding downstream and he said they would rather it come through the bottom than over the top...

Comment by Allen Morgan on January 24, 2015 at 2:37pm

Andy, I fish a dam-controlled river as well.  Sounds like it's controlled by the Corps of Engineers?  The one I fish is.  I have a website that's run by the COE that shows lakes levels, river levels, flow rates, etc.  I've been studying these numbers for years, and can usually tell when the Corps will begin releasing in flood conditions.

What I can suggest is that you study the numbers daily.  Maybe keep notes of when the dam released, at a given water level.  Keep tabs on this.  It also helps if you can bookmark that website on your smart phone; this way you can check water levels / release rates while you're in the field.

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