Wait just a dam minute
Update: 1:12pm 7/5/19
Water is back up (about 6″ too high), overnight trips are cancelled but day trips are still on. Should be good to go for overnight trips by early next week. This time of year, water will drop quickly to low levels and lots of sandbars.
Update: 10:56am 7/2/19
Well this just got interesting, albeit the timing could have been better before we sent all those cancellation announcements. All of a sudden, flow rates at arguably the most important dam on the river have been cut dramatically despite the most recent river predictions. If this new flow rate holds, trips should be good to go by Friday (still small and limited sandbars though). Graph below – 12kcfs is okay, less than 10 is great. The water at this gauge takes ~36-48 hours to reach us.
Update: 10:16pm 7/2/19
It happened. Lots of rain dropped right on top of the watershed over the past two days at the worst possible place. Overnight trips are cancelled through at least Sunday. There’s still quite a bit of shakey weather to come so it’s entirely possible this gets pushed out longer before sandbars come back in reasonable numbers (graph below will continue to update daily).
We’re still putting out day trips but you’re looking at a small handful of wet sandbars to stop at so the option to cancel an existing reservation will be there. On the other hand, lots of access to backwater routes you otherwise couldn’t get into very well with the extra foot of water depth. Worth keeping in mind that currents will be a little faster and with fewer places to stop so I wouldn’t recommend this as a first time trip.
More updates to come as this very hot, humid, and unstable week unfolds.
Central and southern Wisconsin have been getting hit pretty good these past two days. Enough so that we’re now flirting with water levels above our sandbars again. For the next two days we’ll be right at our self imposed limit for overnight camping. Day trips shouldn’t be a problem as everything currently sits. Overnight trips should be fine for Tuesday and Wednesday but it’s questionable for Thursday-Sunday.
We’re a little limited on foresight with this one because most of the rain has fallen very close to our location. The increase doesn’t show up on river forecasts until it’s already on top of us so it becomes more educated guessing. My guess is that the disconnect between Castle Rock and every dam above it (10kcfs differential when 3-4kcfs is normal) means river managers are trying to stay ahead of our moist forecast. I don’t think the rain we’ve already had quite justifies what we’re seeing (but I could be wrong). Long story short, if this is the case and our forecast holds steady or improves, I think this weekend will be doable (albeit with small sandbars). If we end up getting a few storm trains, we’re probably underwater.
The graph below is going to be your best bet to know what’s coming in the PDS-Spring Green area. It doesn’t account for the Baraboo River tributary but it’s been holding around 1kcfs for the past few weeks, i.e. mostly inconsequential. Further downstream of us you’ve got a few big tributaries like Otter Creek in Lone Rock, the Pine River in Gotham, and the Kickapoo River in Wauzeka plus lots of smaller creeks that were hit hard yesterday and will likely make anything downstream of Muscoda not campable regardless of what happens this coming week.
We’re aiming to be near or below 13.5′ to send out overnight trips. I don’t like 14′ but it is doable for groups that are dead set on camping out. Again, day trips should be fine unless something crazy happens.