High Water Sunrise
The river is at 14.2 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling a little to about 13.5 feet by the end of next week. We have come to expect low water in the fall and this is very high water for this time of year. How high is it, on a relative basis? Using USGS data, the average level for the month of October for the last 12 years is about 3.8 feet. This October the average is 9.0 feet, so far. Again, according to USGS, the highest water in any October for the past 12 years averaged 4.5 feet. This October we saw the 14.2 mark come and go. What does this mean? Who knows. It is very inconvenient for those of us trying to maintain docking facilities on the river. Because we move things closer to the bank in high water, those things are in danger of being left stranded on the bank when the water begins to fall. If we plan any time away from the river, it is always in the fall during the supposed low water period. Not this fall. Staying home is a necessity for the time being. The high water has more serious consequences for people making a living fishing in the Basin, although there are few of them left compared to the old days. My friend Kevin Couvillier runs lines commercially in Grand Lake near Franklin and he tells me that the swift current has his lines so tight that he can’t run them. He could, but if they break in his hands under severe pressure he could be badly hurt. And he is having trouble finding river shrimp to bait with. To him, this high water out of season is more than inconvenient. And the Ohio and upper Mississippi do not look like they are through with us yet, there is more water filling the channels up there and we might get even higher levels during this unusual fall season.
Rise and Shine, Jim