Water flows and wading the East Outlet

It’s not time to begin posting 2017 Fishing Reports. There is nothing to report. There is still lots of snow and ice and they are currently running 3000 cfs of excess run-off to keep Moosehead down so there is room to handle the major snow pack still in the drainage.

One question we are asked all the time is “What are good wading flows?”

There is a flow board with current river flow in the parking lot on the north side of the East Outlet bridge. Current flow is posted but there is no information regarding how different flows affect wading conditions. Years ago we put together this chart about flows and wading conditions. This could be very helpful for fishermen not yet familiar with East Outlet conditions.

On the East Outlet if the water flow is:

550 cfs (which is minimum flow by law) – You can wade almost anywhere and cross the river in many places. Almost too low. When the water is this low it’s a good opportunity to learn the just where the pools and deeper water begin and end. And fish are concentrated in specific places.

1000 to 1500 cfs – Considered by most to be the best wading conditions. All                                   the pools are easily accessible.

1500 to 2000 cfs – Still excellent wading but there will be no crossing the     river anywhere.

2000 to 2500 cfs – Still plenty of wadeable water but approaching the upper end for easy wading. Some of the spots we waded to at a lower level are now unaccessible. Fish spread out but new (secret) runs start to hold fish.

3000 to 4000 cfs – Marginal at best. All your favorite spots are a rush of water. You need to now look at the river like you have never been there.  New runs appear where they never were before. Fish move from traditional pools to these new runs.

4000 + cfs – Downright dangerous.

High water is good and bad at the same time. Big flows make it dangerous to wade but flood waters dump lots of fish from Moosehead into the river and attracts lots of fish from Indian Pond. When flood water recedes the river will be loaded with new fish and there is nothing wrong with that.