{"upriver":"6","walkin":"5","spin":"6","updateDate":"Tuesday, July 29, 2014","upcrowdday":"1","upcrowdend":"1","walkcrowdday":"1","walkcrowdend":"1","upriversum":"

By Terry Gunn<\/strong><\/p>\n

Normal high flows began on Dec. 1 and are scheduled to continue through January. These high flows are very good for the river . . . and ultimately all of us. They feed the fish by moving large food items around. The flows are 10,000 to 18,000-cfs and will be lower on weekends. Lower flows should prevail for the spring. It is possible that the flows might be adjusted upward if there is an above normal snowpack in the Rockies.<\/p>\n

It has been a very interesting fall-winter season on the river. So far, winter has passed us by and it has been one of the mildest that I can remember. The high flow event came and went with little change on the river. The most notable occurrence was the extreme low flows before and after the high flow event for the entire month of November. This was the first time that we have seen flows this low in decades and if we have any say in the matter, it will be the last time. The low flows combined with warmer-than-normal river temperatures, thereby creating low oxygen levels from the dam releases. As a result, we saw a rapid decline in some fish condition and we lost some fish. There are areas of the river that were more impacted than others; while some areas saw no decline in fish health or population. We saw almost exactly the same thing in 2005. Lake Powell was considerably lower then and the water was even warmer than this year. The good news is that we had a very healthy trout population beforehand and we have a very good population today.\u00a0\u00a0 We\u2019re still seeing slightly warmer temperatures in the river which has happened a couple of times in years past when Lake Powell is low and receives a large runoff. Current river temperatures are running about 55 degrees which is about 7 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year \u2026 Optimal temperature for rainbow trout is 55 to 60 degrees so we are well within normal trout temperatures. The river temperatures should return to normal when Lake Powell \u201cturns over,\u201d which should happen any day now.<\/p>\n

Recent fishing has been good and we expect the fish to begin spawning any day now. The spawn has begun later every year and while the peak spawn used to occur in early winter it now peaks in March.<\/p>\n

There has been an ongoing aquatic food base study taken place over the past couple of years. The purpose of this study is multifaceted:<\/p>\n