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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious if anyone has any input on when the release of water from the dams on the Yak will be this year. I'm trying to plan some camping/cabin over Memorial Day Weekend and to my knowledge from last year, it will be blown. However, I don't know if that was early due to higher snow pack or differences in climate, or just when they feel like flipping the switch. What are the factors involved here? Where would I go to find out the answer on when they are planning on releasing water this year? Thanks for your help.
-Steffan
 

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Just swimming around, chasing fish in Beervana
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All I know is that I was over there last week (5th-7th) and they bumped the flows up a little on my final day there. It didn't rise much but it put the water off-color for sure. I was a little bummed to say the least.
 

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Now hanging at the other, better new place
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I just got this email:

"The word came down the pike yesterday from a close source of the Worley Bugger that the Bureau of Reclamation is going to begin dumping water from the Yakima River’s storage reservoirs on Saturday night. This decision was based on “no” low lying elevation snow pack, so they want to dump what they have now to make room for higher elevation snow when it begins to melt? I don’t agree with it and many farmers probably don’t either, but I’m not in the water management business. If you are planning to fish the river, you better do it today or Saturday and plan something else Sunday, because it will most likely be out of shape.
Have a great weekend!
Steve Worley
Worley Bugger Fly Co. "
 

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The Yakima is currently running at drought conditions, like stated above, due to lack of low elevation snowpac. The YIN needs higher flows to wash out the native and hatchery Chinook and Coho. At the end of May last year the Yakima was running over 5000CFs and in the middle of April 2900CFS. They did just give it a blast on Wed. the 14th that raised it maybe 600' to 1800CFS. Now it is back to 1340CFS and normal would be around 2900CFS. So the YIN will be requesting charges to wash out the smolts, I do not know how often.
Craig
 

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This was in yesterday's email from Worley Bugger, not as good as Matt's predictive info for this weekend, but it explained the brief ups and downs we've been witnessing:

"If you are familiar with the rivers gauging station graphs you probably noticed over the past ten days the river experienced a sudden spike in water and then a quick descent. Yesterday again was one of those days. A release of water from the Yakima's storage reservoirs has been shot into the main stem portion of the river. Due to our lack of natural occurring runoff this spring, water releases have been deemed necessary to try to reproduce this natural effect in order to relocate juvenile salmon, so they can begin their down stream migration to the Pacific. If you notice now, the river has taken a drastic drop and today is almost back to the stage it was before the initial release of water. Clarity is excellent and river is in great shape for the weekend.

This has to add to the frustration of our local farmers and ranchers living in the Kittitas and Yakima Valley's. With a short fall of winter snow pack, water is going to be a commodity for irrigating purposes during the high heat of summer. Recent spring snow storms settling some snow fall across the Cascades Mountains late last week is hardly enough to make up for the lack of snow accumulations over the winter months. We can all expect much lower water flows in the river this summer. At what level will they operate? Let's wait and see."
 

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Dad, Angler, Guide
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To get an idea of where flows may be over the next few months, use this NOAA flow forecast link (see below). As indicated by others we are within a water short year, so I think you'll have lower flows than normal by Memorial Day, but a boat would be nice to have. To track the snowpack and to get an idea of what our water year is shaping up to be use the snow - precipitation update link below.

http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/stp/station/stpplot/stpplot.cgi?UMTW1

ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/data/snow/update/wa.txt

In responce to a post that referenced correspondence about Bureau of Reclamation water managment, I'll pass on some more information. The rising flows, as observed at the Umtanum Gage as of today are from low lying snowpack and are mostly coming form the Teanaway River. No storage releases are occuring, at present. The higher flows are welcome as it should make it possible to push the high numbers of smolt out of the upper basin. At times over the last month, flow releases from the reservoirs were used to push smolts out, but currently the natural runoff should help 1. try and fill the reservoirs for irrigation demand and 2. give the river a much needed flow pulse to aid in the outmigration of mostly juvenile salmonids (plus possibly some kelting steelhead).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You could definitely see the difference in clarity at the confluence of the Teanaway on Saturday. The chocolate milk meeting up with the super clear water of the Yak made for quite a sight. River right seemed to stay in shape all day just below to merging of the two rivers...
 

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It's an interesting process. I usually fish west of the Teanaway and I've observed the 24 hour pulsed outputs from the Cle Elum river to prompt the migration of juvenile fish. This weekend the flows remained constant. The Teanaway obviously represents ground water run off, but augmenting the flow of the Bristol flume must be a way of sequentially pulsing juveniles down river. I wonder if the Cle Elum river won't pulse again until raised for summer flows?
 
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