Predicting Blowouts....

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by homeslice, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. homeslice

    homeslice New Member

    What flow rate and water footage produces a blown out to your local rivers?

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  2. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Jeff Sawyer likes this.
  3. PT

    PT Physhicist

    I consider Western Washington rivers to be my local rivers. Do you really want me to start listing gauge height and cfs for what might be considered blown?

    Look at historical data and notice rises of 10k cfs or more for all western WA rivers. Consider those blown.

    What do you really want to know? When to go and when not to?
  4. homeslice

    homeslice New Member

    No. It's my first season fishing nw rivers so I'm trying to understand when rain frequency sustains suitable rise to rivers without blowing too much cloudiness. Looking over NOAA charts shows predictions for rain but I'm unsure where in the bell curve between the rise to it's peak (ex. 3 ft.) And it's drop would there be a blow out or a suitable level for fishing. Could the frequent rains keep levels high yet sustain water clarity or would there always be blow outs over a certain footage? I understand every river varies but understanding the probability of blow outs between a few days of rains with a 2 foot rise and several days of rain with a 5 foot rise may or may not produce bad clarity.

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  5. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

    My homewater doesn't really blow out. I've fished it at over 100k with great results. It actually seems to stack fish up in coves, looking for refuge.
  6. Dirty=good chocolate milk=bad
    Teenage Entomologist likes this.
  7. I will give u one quick tip if the rivers local ecosystem has been heavily logged by corporations a couple hundred Cfs spike can blow it out.
  8. homeslice

    homeslice New Member

    So the Pacific Northwest.

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  9. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

    If I drink miller lite I will experience a blowout.
    plaegreid, Yard Sale, dibling and 2 others like this.
  10. Teenage Entomologist

    Teenage Entomologist Gotta love the pteronarcys.

    I think 15,000 CFS is blown out for my local river, the mighty Sacramento.
  11. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Each river is different and each section of each river is different. I fish the Skagit which is a large river. Sometimes the lower river can be blown but above any of the many main tribs the river might be fishable. I have seen it blown above Concrete but the Baker running full on and dumping crystal clear water. By the time it gets below Hamilton the main stem Skagit water has been mixed with the Baker making conditions low in the system fishable. The only way to really know is to get on the water and try it.

    I have caught steelhead in water with less than 18 inches of visibility.
    Evan Virnoche likes this.
  12. Krusty

    Krusty Active Member

    You can can bank on the fact that the Seahawks will clutch and lose in a blowout no matter how good they looked throughout the season.
  13. krusty i hope your personal watercraft sinks with you on it
    KevinLS and Ryan Higgins like this.
  14. PT

    PT Physhicist

    I predict the Hoh is about to blow.....

  15. yah its not looking to promising
  16. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    I predict everything on the west side is going to blow out, if it hasn't already. And I have tomorrow off work; big whoop.
  17. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

    Bookmark this site and check it daily. After awhile you will get a feel when the river you want to fish is about to blow.
  18. JayB

    JayB Active Member

    I'd suggest logging into the "American Whitewater" river/flow database for Washington, and familiarizing yourself with the color scheme. Look for rivers that are currently flowing at "below recommended" levels. As a general rule, if the color is in the "green" range (good for whitewater) you can write off good fishing, and if it's in the "Blue" category, forget about it.

    I'd venture that this is %100 accurate for smaller rivers/creeks (Icicle Creek), 90-95%% accurate for medium sized rivers (like the Middle fork of the Snoqualmie), and ~75% accurate for big rivers with a broad channel (Skykomish).

    If you are looking for predictions rather than actual flows, use the NOAA predictions found here:

    Once you familiarize yourself with the data, and spend some time in a particular drainage, you should get pretty good at predicting when it'll be worth heading down to the river.

    Other random observations:
    -Not all gauge readings are equal - particularly if the highest gauge in the system is still a fair ways down the river. A flow of X cfs generated by snowmelt has a way different affect on the clarity than a rain event producing the same flow. This is *especially* true for tributaries that feed into the main stem, particularly in river systems where tributaries are fed by catchments at different elevations, with different exposure to the sun, etc. If it's snowmelt time, a tributary with a low-elevation catchment can be roaring, while another tributary can have a catchment that's in still in deep-freeze and be just a trickle. The same sort of thing happens while it's raining buckets in a low elevation catchment one catchment and snowing in a higher-elevation catchment that feeds into the same river.

    -If the mainstem gauge is rising slowly, the tributaries that feed into it can be raging, and if the mainstem flows are highish but dropping, the tributaries that feed into it may have already fallen into a fishable flow.
  19. KevinLS

    KevinLS Active Member

  20. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

    When I lived and fished in Washington I had most of the rivers that I fished down pat as to what was ideal and when one was blown. If you watch the rivers long enough you will learn and then you won't have to ask these stupid questions. You also have to watch the flow charts to learn it.