Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Late Little Red River Report: High Water Long Term?

Many of you may know this, or like me, have found this out the hard way, but the Little Red River is running high and muddy.  This is apparently the result of the flood gates being opened because something is wrong with the turbines at the dam.  

My buddies and I had heard this, but for some reason chose not to believe it.  We had heard that the flood gates had been opened about two weeks before our ill fated trip but could not believe that they would still be open.  We forced John to drive because he go a sweet new Subaru and trekked the hour and a half from Little Rock to Heber.  When we arrived, our stupidity was confirmed.

The river is indeed running high as if the full two generators are on and, as anyone that fishes there knows, it is nearly impossible to fish without a boat in such circumstances.  We, of course, being poor young fishermen, had no boat.  We messed around and chucked some streamers in the slack water on the side.  We even managed to catch a fish or two, but the trip was mostly a bust.

The real concerning thing is that there are rumors going around that this is going to be a relatively long term thing.  That is a huge bummer for fishermen around central Arkansas, as the Little Red is the closest place to catch a stocker when the need arises.  It is also a gem of a brown trout fishery.  While it is still very fishable with a boat, it is a shame that there will be no low water for a while.

The rumor circulating is that because the White River system lakes are low because of the drought, the Little Red is going to have to be used to make up for the deficit in generation.  I received a forwarded email from my buddy that is purportedly the email conversation between a member of TU and a representative of the Army Corp of Engineers.  Here's the gist:

TU guy,

In general, yes we will be generating heavily from Greers Ferry once we have a unit back online.  Right now, I expect there will be multiple days of continuous generation, though that may change in the next couple weeks. 

The rest of the White River lakes are indeed very low for this time of year.  While Greers Ferry is about 104% full, the other 4 are all about 63% full.  Our hydropower projects that we have in Oklahoma and Missouri are also around the 63% full mark.   Southwestern aims to keep our lakes balanced in terms of percent full because it lowers our risk and lessens the negative impact of droughts like the one that most of our lakes are experiencing.   I’m hopeful that spring rains will fill the rest of our hydropower projects, but until then we’ll be generating more frequently from Greers Ferry to slowly get it back in balance. 
-Corp Lady

So apparently if you ain't got a boat, better be headed somewhere other than the Little Red until the water is lowered- and that does not seem to be happening soon.  I very well could be wrong about this and this may be common knowledge to everyone else, but hey, I didn't know- the local fly shop did not seem to know- and I am betting a few other people do not know.  Anyway, I hope I am wrong. Hope y'all are fishing more than I have been lately- Stay Fly.

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