Skagit river flows [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Skagit river flows

10-10-2002, 11:29 AM
Does anyone have info on why both the Baker and Skagit river dams are running at such low flows? The Baker river is a trickle. Running below half of traditional flow. What gives?

10-10-2002, 11:52 AM
With nothing more concrete than my observations, I assume they are replenishing their reserves. The past summer has been one of little rainfall and the utilities have been dumping water to help the spawning salmon thereby drawing down that reserve. Now that the chinook have effectively finished their work the flows have slowed.

Good time to walk the river banks checking out the various spots fish may frequent later on.

Just my $.02.


10-10-2002, 12:44 PM
Watersprite might have nailed it. My concern though is the redds. Even though the spawning might be done, the incubation isn't. Of course, drying out redds has never been much of a hindrance to them in the past so doubt it is now.

10-10-2002, 03:04 PM
Maybe Seattle City Light has finally learned a thing or two, let's hope so. From my position way up here in Marblemount, the redds have at least a foot or better of flow and things look okay. Replenishing the reserves now might add some protection for the redds when the really cold weather sets in and the precipitation again drops. Now if they can avoid excessive generation for our southern neighbors' benefit, and thus reduce this reserve before the onset of colder weather, we may avoid last years dry redds.


10-10-2002, 03:39 PM
Seattle City Light is not the problem. Puget Sound Energy operates the Baker River dams and that seems to be where the issues are. The Baker is running at a trickle. The low flows are exposing areas of the lower river bottom I have never seen in the 20+ years I have lived in this area. Remeber this is the same company that exposed king and chum redds to freezing weather last year by shutting off water to the Baker. Don't they care?

10-10-2002, 03:52 PM
Do they care? They are a profit driven group; conservation for them costs money.

Yes that + or - one mile of river is very low. Has been for the past several weeks.

As to last years low flows, remember they put in a new turbine which required a draw down. There shouldn't be this additional conflict this year, but who knows...


10-12-2002, 01:18 AM
The Sauk and Cascade are also very low right now. Yes, PSE has shut the Baker down to a trickle, but that isn't the biggest factor.when the Sauk, Cascade and the other tribs have very low flows as they do, the Skagit in the middle and lower river will have low flows too.

And as Watersprite has pointed out, PSE has always been such a conservation minded company that they dug a ditch to the Skagit and cut off the flow to about 2 miles of prime spawning habitat that used to be the Baker from above where the Hwy 20 bridge is now and flowed off to the southwest until it joined the Skagit. Don't worry, PSE always puts profits above fish.