April 15, 2019
As you can see from the photo above, taken today, spring is taking its sweet old time showing up in the Moosehead Lake Region. It’s going to take more than a few warm, bright sunshiny days to beat down the snowpack and desolve 4 feet of ice.
Spring run-off hasn’t really started yet and snowpack this year holds a lot of water. Way more than the lakes have capacity to hold. As we begin posting daily water flows we’ll see flows begin to increase in a attempt to let excessive run-off go downstream. It’s about flood protection. When there is just enough water remaining in the snowpack added to average yearly rainfall (caculated by the 50 year average) flows will eventually go to minimum flow in order to capture the remaining water. The lakes fill then water is adjusted to inflow (what comes in must go out). If mother nature doesn’t throw us some above average rainfall all will be well. Mother nature plays a huge role in how water flows over the next three weeks.
As we reported earlier Brookfield Energy has a new water infomation web site Safe Waters. This site shows a lot more info than just current water flow. They have added predicted flows, scheduled releases and lake levels which don’t seem like much but divulges much more info if you know how to use it.
For now lets take a look at Moosehead Lake and the lake level number. When the Moosehead is brim full the number is 1028.98 feet , right now the lake level number is 1025.61 feet. Do the math and you’ll find the lake is still down 3.37 feet. Moosehead is a 75,000 acre body of water. Adding enough water to fill it an additional 3.37 feet is major water. And there is more than enough water and expected rain to fill Moosehead before this years run-off ends. So the water people keep a watchful eye on what is entering the lake and what still remains in the snowpack. When things cut loose all the little mountain streams around the lake run hard adding to what is coming down the Moose, which begins above Jackman plus what dumps from the Roach River drainage which is all the mountains to the southeast of Kokadjo. When it all happens, water level in Moosehead begins to change rapidly. Last year the prefect storm of run-off happened and Moosehead filled three feet in three days. Keeping an eye on lake levels is a good indicator as to what’s going to happen with river flows. Once Moosehad fills to capacity, 1028.98 feet, what comes in must go out or else dams can be compromised. Water management people prefer not to fill Moosehead to capacity so you’ll see the lake is generally maintained 3 to 4 inches below full so there is enough room to handle additional water from a rain event without having to dramatically increase flows. That’s done to accommodate us recreational users.
As summer comes and we emerge from the rainy season you’ll watch lake level gradually drop inch by inch throughout the summer. On the other end of the season, there is a provision in the license agreement that states the lake has to be drawn down to a certain level by mid-October for the lake trout to spawn successfully. If lake level is still fairly high come Labor day water has to be released to meet that goal. If it is a dry summer and low then don’t expect much of a bump in flow, which is one of the two componants we need to spark spawning runs.
So if you are into fishing as deeply as we are you can follow water data on Safe Flows as we do and with a few note on one piece of paper have a fairly good idea what might be coming.
So when you read our ramblings and preditons of things to come know that it’s not just off the cuff. We love doing our homework and sharing it with you so we can hopefully help you have many memorable days of fishing.
The Maine Guide Fly Shop will offically reopen for the season on May 1st.
We look forward to seeing and helping everyone enjoy their precious time on the water.