Clean up in aisle number one...
Here's the latest scoop on the Savage River dam repairs:
-UPRC 's contractor completed their final service gate adjustments and integrated control system tests late last week.
-As of this past Monday they now have the ability to operate all gates and the jet-flow valve from the operating level (no crane is needed).
-They have one more restoration project on the service gate babbits which should be completed by this weekend, if possible.
-At that point they plan to do an AVF flushing release of about 2,000 CFS for a day. This will help to clear out several hundred yards of silt and muck in the channel below the outlet as well as any sediment that collected above the outlet.
-Right now all the flow is going over the spillway (except for 100 CFS from the jet-valve).
-The crew has observed improved clarity in both, the reservoir and the river. Once the repairs are completed and flows return to a manageable level they will do some spot checking with electro-fishing gear. They will have a much better idea of what lingering impacts they face and the scope of the recovery work after the survey is completed.
If things go well they should know the extent of the damage before the North Branch Advisory Group meeting on 6 April.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Flatlander Flies© green Rhycophilia caddis larva to begin my days fishing since I knew from Greg G's previous seining efforts that this section of stream held robust populations of this popular caddis fly. I was already sorry that I left my fingerless rag wool gloves at home and I hadn't even gotten my hands wet by landing a fish yet. Hopefully the air would warm up fast once the rising sun crested Shriner Mountain.
A perennial freestone tributary.
Elk Creek Cafe with my good friend Mike B from NoVa, we made plans to breakfast the following day at the Feathered Hook Inn in Coburn then jam it on over to Spring Creek for some highly anticipated baetis action in the face of an oncoming toad floating deluge that was bearing down on central Pennsylvania. It would turn out to be a text book baetis day that we'll both remember until someone is changing our diapers for us.
In short, it was the mother of all spring baetis hatches. Prior to the emergence, Mike put on a nymphing clinic for all the Spring Creek Regulars while yours truly took a very public and crushing skunk on the chin. Then the rains moved in and all hell broke loose. Mike's a former duffer turned fly fisherman and is a really great guy. In fact, he still spends most of his free time setting up hot dates for Tiger Woods, so that keeps him pretty busy to say the least.
Photo Credit: Mike B.
If my gear isn't dried out yet, it soon will be. They are calling for sunshine and highs in the upper 70's for this weekend. Those Grannoms are right around the corner too. Bring 'em on!
Posted by Wade Rivers at 6:41 PM
Monday, March 22, 2010
L to R: Bunyan, Bowhunter, Dropper, Glen G, Chief, Agrontrutta, Johnny Paycheck.
baetis mayflies soon became apparent the following day (Sunday) when Midger observed schools of suckers taking advantage of the elevated water flows. They were already pairing up for the spawn and dropping protein bombs in the form of sucker eggs in the shallow riffles of Paradise.
Chief's Gran Pescador 14 % Hard Cider (trust me, it'll make your Buffalo Run) I was lucky enough to stumble across a few pods of spawning suckers myself and all of a sudden my season was off to a very satisfying start. They weren't everywhere, so you had to hunt around to find them, but once you did you could stand in one spot and hook a 1/2 dozen wild browns in short order. Good solid fat fish that were beautifully colored up the way spring creek fish should be. Call me a sucker if you want but a size #14 Flatlander Flies© sucker spawn cluster imitation (aka Velveeta Emerger) is now a staple in my early spring fly box.
Flatlander Flies© CDC baetis emerger, nothing can erase from my memory the tenacity in which those trout took my sucker spawn imitation. The strikes were savage and you could see the tip of your fly line shoot forward like an indicator on each one.
Handing off the baton.
L to R: Bunyan, Agrontrutta, Bowhunter, Mutt Lange, Chief, Glen G.
Alas, I'm now back at in the soul crushing hell hole they call work and suffering from Post Sucker Spawn Stress Syndrome. And it's raining again in central Pennsylvania...
Parting query: What's the deal with Egg Hill? Where did that thing come from??
Posted by Wade Rivers at 7:31 AM
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Well, after a good many years, I finally made it for a full out, hard core, ski 'till ya drop real western skiing vacation. But that's all I wanted to say, and also that I have no pictures either.......
But not really. Actually, the pictures speak for themselves. Also too, events are still unfolding in my mind as it slowly sinks in a becomes real in my memory. In some ways, it seems more real now, than what it once did. I hope the pictures convey the openness and vastness that the mountains there possess, and the effect that they can have on person, as they they glide down a groomer, or pick your way though the bumps. This was the first time I skied so many days in a single span. Frankly, I somewhat surprised myself at the way my body held up, especially in light of the fact that last year when I skied just once, I had some knee issues for about 2-3 weeks afterward. There was none of that, and also no negative effects from the altitude either. There was however a slight bit of trepidation on my part because of my skiing skills, or lack there of, and the big time skiing that lay in front of me. The Pocono's this was not....
The first day I skied myself at Park City. Four of our party were going to Snowbird, as Doug was going heliskiing, Michele his girlfriend was going to ski Snowbird, as well as Sue and Molly. I needed rental skis before I got started. And Joe, unfortunately, had Southwest lose his bag with his boots, somewhere between Philly and SLC, so he was out of action for the time being, but was kind enough to provide shuttle service for me. I only vaguely remembered the layout of the mountain, and with the persistent light, to occasionally heavier snow, it only further clouded my memory of the place. So it was with caution I skied for a while, as I got my legs underneath me, and understood where I was at and where I was going. Park City is a very large place, even by western standards at 3300 acres. Its also somewhat fragmented, so its imperative you make the correct turns if you're planning on going somewhere specific. I missed a cut off to get back to the main lodge twice before nailing the car size gap between ropes successfully the third time. Because I was not all together mentally and physically, or at least that was my perception at the time, and mostly because of the weather, I neglected to take my camera with me skiing. Hence the scarcity of pictures from that day. All in all, not a bad day. I got some really sweet runs in on groomers that had about 3 inches of soft, untouched snow over them for a period of time, before it got skied flat. And I liked my skis, which were an all mountain pair of Blizzard demos. Soft enough for bumps and crud, yet good on the groomers. It was going to be even better skiing in the coming days...I was giddy with excitement and exhilaration.
Fortunately, Joe's bag arrive later that night, and plans were made to drive up Little Cottonwood canyon the next morning. We were going to drive until we ran out of road - we were going to ski Alta the next day. Driving up the canyon on that somewhat foggy morning was incredible, with the impossibly steep cliffs rising up from the road. Also of note, there are at least 4 avalanche gates on the road, which, yes, are frequently closed during heavy snow events, because of avalanches.
The drive in its self was spectacular, but by most accounts, the best skiing in Utah lie just ahead, at the open bowl/valley that is Alta. Although Alta and Snowbird can be skied on a combo ticket, the terrain is quite a bit different. Snowbird is a nasty, advanced mountain, and has only about 5-6 trails classified as intermediate terrain. The rest are blacks and double blacks. Maybe someday, I'd feel more comfortable skiing there. It is such a dramatic, harsh place, the buildings there are built to withstand avalanches, and have done so before.
Just a few hundred yards further up the valley, the bowl opens and Alta awaits.
The day was shaping up, to be just stellar weather wise. Bright, high altitude sun, and little wind. It would be in the 20's today. Just a brilliant, pretty day in the winter, what else better to do than ski!?! We were still finding untouched snow in the woods and glades!
Alta, while not as extreme as Snowbird, is not without its thrills, and challenging terrain. In fact, we heard the guns discharging all morning, as they tried to dissipate avalanche danger. It also has just a nasty, steep mountain face that looked about impossible to ski. The East Greeley face, is not for the meek and mild. Mistakes made there could be serious and painful, or worse. This was not within my repertoire. Catherine's area is also for the experts.
Just a blissfully nice day to be on vacation and skiing!
We took off the next day and kicked around in Park City. My body relished a break! I also dumped my 172CM skis for the same ski in a 165CM length. I was ready for a little more bumps in my life, so to speak.
The day after that, we were like crack addicts, and went back to Alta.....This day was dawning with the promise of powder in the air! By the time we geared up, it was snowing in earnest, as we waited for the lifts to commence running. This was to be my first real pow day, and it promised to be good!
This is a bowl called the Ballroom. Avalanche control was plainly evident. Visibility was sketchy at best, blind at worst.
We skied all over the mountain and found great conditions everywhere. The best was some untouched powder in the trees, knee deep and silky smooth. Save a 45 minute lunch break, we skied all stinkin' day. In fact, Sue, Doug, and I caught THE very last chair to the top of the Sugarloaf lift. They turned it off when we got off. I was just smoked after that orgy of skiing, and it was grand and epic!
This artwork summed up the day:
As luck would have it, all flights into PHL were scrubbed, and we would not leave Thursday as planned. So a bonus day of skiing was to be had the next day. Back to Park City. Another lousy day in paradise....
Not my last trip to the west to ski.....Can't wait until next winter!
Posted by GlenG at 8:19 PM
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Here's the latest doin's on the repair work over at the Savage River Dam in Western Maryland.
-The two upstream emergency gates are in place as of late last week.
-Temporary electrical, mechanical and hydraulic connections have been made to render those gates operational if needed (i.e. another large snowmelt event).
-Permanent connections will be made after all four gates are installed.
-For the immediate future, they will not be using the emergency gates to control outflow unless absolutely necessary to minimize downstream flooding.
- The contractor pushed hard in February, working almost around the clock in terrible conditions, to get the two emergency gates installed so they have some control of the outflow if and when the big snow pack starts to melt.
-Most of the snow survey stations around the Savage River watershed show between 4 to 7 inches of moisture content.
-Refilling the lake this spring should not be a problem.
-Fluctuations in the lake level and downstream hydrograph last week were the result of testing the new gate seals. Expect to see more fluctuations during testing in the weeks to come.
-This week the contractors are installing the right side service gate.
-Maryland DNR will push for a partial refill of the lake as early as possible to keep as much of the lake sediment in place as possible.
And after the lake is filled, it should be a great year for kayaking in the elevated flows of the lower river.
Thanks again to our source, Deep Throat - and they know who they are, for the latest insider you-heard-it-here-first scoop on the progress at the dam.
Posted by Wade Rivers at 8:31 PM