Generation has been fairly consistent, even on weekends lately. Operators at the dam have been leaving the water off until about noon to 1 p.m. and then kicking it on and running anywhere from two to four units at 6,800 to 12,000 cubic feet per second. It's been pretty hot in the afternoons here, so I'm sure they're running a lot of water for a high power demand. It's back off by 8 p.m. each evening and off all night.
We've noticed that they've been drawing the lake down overnight, so in the mornings the lake is unusually low. This is not supposed to happen, but it does occasionally. You will not see any variation in the official lake level at the base of the dam, but you will see it below Lookout and down lake. Duane Doty told me today that the lake level at the narrows is so low that the channel is less than 10 feet wide and very shallow, barely enough water to boat up past it. So be careful when boating under these conditions.
Water temperature is holding at about 48 degrees and clear. When they run water, of course, it gets murky and blows out algae that's grown on the bottom of the upper lake. It all clears out in about hour after it starts.
Two things we want to report about our rainbows -- there are a lot of them in the lake and they are bigger than normal. They are both longer and thicker than newly stocked trout of the past. Of course, this is great news for all anglers fishing the lake right now. But, of course, it's still "fishing" and not "catching." Some days are better than others as far as catching numbers and size, but overall it's been very good.
Our rainbows are still wanting to chase something, especially early in the mornings. Spoons and spinners are working good, either throwing and reeling them in or trolling behind the boat. Duane's been trolling his crank baits and doing well, landing seven trout longer than 20 inches and losing eight at the boat just in the last week. He's also been throwing stick baits on quite a few guide trips -- after writing and posting his article, Committing to a Big Brown, about catching so many big brown trout using these methods.
The Berkely Pink PowerWorm is still a must for anyone struggling to catch fish. I can't stress enough how well this works. Fish it four- to five-feet deep early in the morning, and then move it deeper as the sun gets higher in the sky, seven-to eight-feet deep. Use two-pound line as tippet for more bites, but four-pound is okay.
Small marabou jigs are catching big numbers of rainbows below and above Fall Creek in the mornings. I boated up to the Lookout Island area early Saturday morning and threw sculpin/ginger and sculpin/peach 1/16th-ounce jigs using two-pound line and boated several dozen rainbows in the 11- to 15-inch range. Later in the afternoon, after the water starts running, we're throwing 1/8-ounce white jigs below the dam and all the way down past Fall Creek and hooking good rainbows.
Guide Bill Babler reported fishing above the Narrows this week using the jig-and-float method with either a sculpin or ginger micro jig, two-pound tippet. He's caught good numbers of rainbows.
I haven't been up there yet to try it, but with the water so low above the Narrows, boating up and wading this area should be excellent. If I get up there, I'll fish a #16 to #18 weighted gray scud or a San Juan Worm or a Mega Worm and probably will try a Zebra Midge and a soft hackle if they are rising on midges. I've been told there are big numbers of rainbows in the Narrows, and the stretch is full of freshwater shrimp.
Wading below the dam, I'd use the same flies. I saw on a forum post where a friend fished up these on Saturday morning and caught more than 50 rainbows on mainly small midge flies.