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Reading and understanding the river flow charts (Read 1855 times)
rone
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Reading and understanding the river flow charts
Sep 23rd, 2011, 5:49pm
 
Would someone please share some insight as to the various flow chat information and what flows rates best for safe wading, when it begins to get "dicey" and finally - when it is best to just avoid drowning.
 
Thanks,
Rone
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Ants
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #1 - Sep 23rd, 2011, 9:47pm
 
Sorry Rone, but there is no straightforward answer to your question.  
 
At flow levels that are the lowest during the year, there is always a need for cautious wading due to hazards.  The river contains large boulders that are adjacent to deep holes, a misstep can easily have you over your head if caution is not exercised.  The river depth varies greatly even though at times it may seem uniform.  In addition, even when the water is relatively shallow (say knee high), there are boulders that are shin height that make wading tricky.  The water is not always clear so the obstructions may not be visible.
 
For a given flow rate, the water speed will be much higher in a narrow section than in a wider one.  
 
The footwear that you are wearing and the bottom conditions have a big factor in deciding whether the wading is safe.  
 
Finally, a lot depends on the individual comfort level for safety and your skills to recover when you fall.  
 
That said, there is always areas that are out of the main current and within shallow water that are safe for wading and also good for fishing.  I am afraid you need to work up to your personal level of comfort.  Remember, there is no fish in that river that is worth risking your well-being.  
 
Ants
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #2 - Sep 23rd, 2011, 10:44pm
 
Quote from Ants on Sep 23rd, 2011, 9:47pm:
Finally, a lot depends on the individual comfort level for safety and your skills to recover when you fall.

That said, there is always areas that are out of the main current and within shallow water that are safe for wading and also good for fishing.  I am afraid you need to work up to your personal level of comfort.  Remember, there is no fish in that river that is worth risking your well-being.

 
Rone,  
 
Ants has given you some really sage advice. Although he was a great outdoorsman, Teddy Roosevelt wasn't tallking about fly fishing or wading the river when he said "Walk softly, and carry a big stick." But he could have been! I always think of him when wading, even in small creeks, because I move slowly and carry a wading staff to see what the next step might bring. Even though my knees, hips, and balance aren't what they used to be, I seldom fall in the flowing water. Here's a link to a cartoon of ole' Teddy doin' his thing:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/Tr-bigstick-cartoon.JPG /280px-Tr-bigstick-cartoon.JPG
 
Be safe out there!
 
Dave.  
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« Last Edit: Sep 24th, 2011, 8:33am by WestlakeDave »  

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rone
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #3 - Sep 24th, 2011, 9:34am
 
Ants,
I was hoping for a little clarification as to the Kern.  In as much as I emphatically agree with everything you shared, I wasn't looking for a release from liability statement - just a basic sharing of comment as related directly to the Kern and a comparison as to the flow charts as posted and GENERAL wadability as related to flow rates.
 
My question may be broad but it would be nice to have a general bit of info that one could consider before driving up to Kernville.  
 
In other rivers that I have fished, there were several indicators as to when it just make sense to stay home, one of which was the flows as posted, particularly in the winter when steelheading up North. I was hoping for some similar comparisons for the Kern.  
 
Thanks for your concern and taking the time to respond.
Rone
 
 
 
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flypopper
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #4 - Sep 24th, 2011, 10:30am
 
I have waded the Kern with flows up about 1000 cfs but that's the limit for me, and I tend to be an aggressive wader, for what its worth. At these rates i generally hug the shoreline. When it is lower than that I wade out into the middle in the wider areas.  
 
I don't go in  without my wading staff.
 
Hope that helps
 
wetwader
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #5 - Sep 24th, 2011, 10:32am
 
Rone
 
I will speak for myself, and only myself, since each of us has our own comfort level on the Kern. I enjoy fishing the Kern when flows are 500cfs or lower as measured at Kernville. I can fish the Kern at much higher flow rates but I have to adjust my wading style. I prefer to wade out into the middle of the stream so I can adjust my casting angle to reach fish-holding spots on either side of the river. I cast mostly upstream and love the snag-free casting lane behind me that wading out into the river gives me. I feel pretty comfortable aggressively wading the Kern when flows are below 500cfs. That's why I love fishing the Kern at this time of the year. The fish are still active, the water is cooling off from summer high temperatures and some of the crowd has disappeared. The Fall is my favorite time on the kern.
 
The flow rates for the North Fork of the Kern at Kernville are reported in the last column of the Kern River Flow Report linked above.
 
Hope this helps.
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Ants
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #6 - Sep 24th, 2011, 3:45pm
 
Rone,  
 
Since you are a new poster, although you have been a forum member for a while, it may be easier for us to be helpful if the question is posed in a different manner.  
 
Please let us know which river in the CA area (that the forum generally covers) you have wading experience with and what time of the year that occurred.  Then, it may give us some insight as to where the comfort level resides for Your wading experience.  
 
Good fishing alternatives exists 12-months out of the year on the Kern.  Wading options vary throughout the year.
 
If you could give some description of what kind of wading you do and what is comfortable, maybe we can give more specific information.  
 
Ants
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"Old men should be explorers" T. S. Eliot. Bring along a fly rod for diversions. But, who will admit to being 'old'. Not me.
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rone
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #7 - Sep 25th, 2011, 5:57pm
 
Thanks to those of you that shared your comments as related to my question on flow charts as posted and general "wadability" thoughts.
 
From what was shared in several of the comments, I now have at least a basic idea as to my question and a rough equation.
 
Again,  thanks to all and stay safe out there.
 
Rone
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #8 - Sep 26th, 2011, 8:19am
 
Rone,
The Kern can be very dangerous.  I am pretty young and sturdy for the most part.  I wade pretty aggressively and when I fall I get back up and do it again.  I am 31 years old, 6 foot tall, and 200 pounds.  With that said, I am much more comfortable hopping from boulder to boulder if I can.  I had never taken a "Dip" in the Kern until I went with some buddies on a guide trip with Guy in March of this year.  The flows were about 1200cfs and some parts of the river seemed much worse than others.  There were 3 of us and 2 of the 3 of us got a little wet.  Rich and myself both fell twice, but it was well worth it.  Guy obviously saw that we were a little younger and willing than some of his other clients, so he tried some more difficult areas to wade.  I like wading in the river most when it is anywhere below 1000 cfs.  It is all in what you are comfortable with, and it is different for everyone.  I know that even though I am not scared to go chest high to get my fly out of a tree on the other side, a lot of the time it just isn't to smart.  I am willing to take a lot more chances when I am fishing with someone else.  A lot of things change about the river after every run-off season, and areas that you remember one year are most likely not going to be the same the next year.  I know you have already thanked everyone, but I like to put in my .02 if I feel like it might be helpful.
 
Jeremy
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rone
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #9 - Sep 26th, 2011, 8:36am
 
Jeremy,
Thanks for the remarks.
Rone
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Re: Reading and understanding the river flow chart
Reply #10 - Sep 26th, 2011, 1:45pm
 
I totally agree with ants about the caution of wading. Was up there recently & had a few mishaps myself.  Steps look like there only a few inches deep & then WHAM... your in chest high water.
 
John
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