CASPER - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department cautions sportsmen to be aware of sizeable increases in water flows in the North Platte River beginning April 2 as part of a flushing flow project.
The Department has requested the flushing flow in order to maintain fish spawning habitats and to increase production of invertebrates that fish depend on for food. The Bureau of Reclamation will begin releasing additional water from Gray Reef Reservoir in the early morning hours beginning Monday, April 2. Flows, currently at 500 cubic feet per second (cfs), will increase to 4,000 cfs and will then gradually decrease back to 500 cfs each day, with the maximum flow occurring between 3-7 a.m. The schedule will be repeated on April 3, 4, 5, and 6. The flows below Gray Reef Dam will then be stabilized at approximately 500 cfs for the remainder of the month of April.
The Game and Fish Department advises sportsmen to be aware of the potential dangers related to flushing flows. Sportsmen wading or floating the river during this time should consider the fluctuating water levels. Areas that can be waded effectively at 500 cfs may not be accessible at 4,000 cfs. This year’s flushing flow is later than usual to allow maintenance at the Dave Johnston Power Plant in Glenrock to be completed prior to the increased flows. The flushing flows dislodge a great deal of material, and completing the maintenance is required to allow the power plant to function during the flushing flows. Flushing flows have been a regular occurrence on the river since the ‘90s and have shown remarkable success for trout habitat. The flows also create additional work for Dave Johnston Power Plant personnel by requiring them to clean intakes and use cooling towers to reduce the intake of material dislodged during the flushing flows. The Game and Fish Department appreciates the willingness of personnel at the Dave Johnston Power Plant to accommodate the flushing flows.
Flushing flows are normally scheduled for completion by March to avoid any impacts to spawning rainbows. Some spawning will have begun by the start of the flushing flow; however, the peak of rainbow spawning occurs in mid April. While some of the early spawning rainbows will be negatively impacted by the April flows, the benefits in habitat for the majority of the spawning trout outweigh the impacts.
(Contact: Robbin Kepple (307) 473-3400)