Blue River Blow Out. Monday Morning Update – June 10, 2013
June 10th, 2013
The past couple of days here in the mountains have seen very warm temperatures and with that another push of of snow melt, bringing some rivers to a new peak flow. That became an issue here on the Blue River in Silverthorne late in the day on Saturday. Although the Blue is a Tailwater and generally has some pretty stable conditions, there are a couple of small tributaries that run into the river before it leaves town. One of which, Straight Creek, confluences with the Blue just a quarter mile downstream from the dam itself. This is the main drainage running along I-70 from the Eisenhower Tunnel to the east, directly down into the Blue river. The snow melt in this particular drainage became quite heavy on Saturday, jumping 50% over the previous days flow. The flow was so big, that in a couple of places the creek pushed out of it’s banks and washed out some culverts and streets, sending debris and high flows into the Blue.
Sunday brought more of the same as flows late in the day peaked higher than those on Saturday. For perspective, the high flow last night on Straight Creek was 160 cfs, which is about 3 times the volume that is currently being released from Lake Dillon into the river, from a creek that is about 1/10 of the size. As can be expected, this is seriously affecting clarity downstream of the confluence. Along with cloudy water there will be some additional debris, such as logs and branches, along the river, as well as some sand and small rock deposited in the stream bed.
While it may look ominous, fishing is not completely finished below the mix of these two streams. There does remain some decent action at times. A couple of things to note: Clarity is best early in the day as that is the low point of the daily run-off cycle. As the day moves into late afternoon that clarity will drop from 12-15 inches down into the single digits. We are finding some good results with the usual dirty water flies – San Juan Worms, Egg Patterns, Beaded Searching Nymphs along with dark colored Streamers. And if nothing else traffic on the river below the mix has been almost non-existent, this sort of occurrence usually scares people away before they even cast a fly into it.
There is still a stretch of low and clear water above Straight Creek to fish and that piece of river has been very productive. Small Midge and Mayfly imitations fished primarily subsurface have been best although, we are still seeing the odd dry fly event at times early in the day for adult Midges.
We are expecting continued high temperatures for the next several days. We’ll keep an eye on the clarity as it changes and post it here as well as our fishing report on TheColoradoAngler.com