It’s just that sometimes it looks a lot different.
I fished the Yampa tailwater below Stagecoach reservoir this weekend without Tim, just south of Steamboat Springs, and it was the biggest I’ve ever seen it. The water below the dam averages 80-100 cfs most of the year except for a brief period every spring where they let it loose so that the reservoir doesn’t overflow. In the above picture, not only is the bottom release CRANKING out water at a scary rate, that’s also more water coming over the spillway than I’ve ever seen. I’d guess the flows were at least 600 cfs, but there’s no way to know for sure since the measuring station has been down for weeks.
This year is the biggest runoff year in the ten years I’ve lived in Colorado. Rivers are still hundreds to thousands of cubic feet per second above averages, and while they remain playgrounds for rafters and kayakers, fishermen stare wistfully from their cars and continue to tell themselves things like “Well, at least it’s good for the health of the river.” Throw in a wet start to the summer, with torrential afternoon rains at least once or twice a week, and rivers likely won’t be down to average flows until August.
But, I digress, as that’s not really what this post is about. This post is about home waters.