Have been reading the thread below from 2019 and need some help making sense of water release and power generation data? I will be making some trips there for sure. What is the optimal flow I am looking for to fish this river? I was trying to read the generation schedule, made me feel dumb.. cliffnotes anyone? I plan on going next fall,but have an opportunity go check it out in the beginning on June. Worth it in the summer? ie is the fishing ok and are the crowds manageable. Need to find some localish waters away from the fair weather crowds at Beavers Bend. Thanks Kayl
Post by darrelln09 on Apr 13, 2023 14:09:39 GMT -6
It's been a while since I have fished at the Lower Illinois but from what I recall, around 200 cfs was very good, especially in the Watts WMA area where I usually went. It's probably still okay down to about 100 cfs or a little less but down to 40 cfs is too slow. I think if the flow is around 400 cfs you can still wade in it but it does become a little swift is some spots. However, when they are generating and it's up there at 4000 cfs you can forget about it. You can't wade it and will be stuck standing on the bank.
For the generation schedule, there's a new link: www.energy.gov/swpa/generation-schedules. Be careful with the days of the week though. They usually post the new schedule only one or two days in advance. Check the date at the top of the schedule to make sure.
To make sense of the schedule, pick a day of the week and go to Column 6 (TKD) for Tenkiller Dam. As you go down that column it will tell you what hours of the day will have a power output. As I recall, anything above ZERO is too much and will have too much flow for wading.
Like I said, it's been a while since I've been there - 3 or 4 years - and I stopped fishing there because of the flows. They were either generating most days with 4000 cfs or pinching off the flow to 40 cfs with the minimum flow valve. Neither case was fishable and then they let the water level build up too high in the lake one fall and had to open the gates to 18000 cfs to bring it back down. If they would have released something reasonable during the off-generation hours they could have avoided that problem and allowed for good fly fishing too. But no. I believe there was some legislation passed to avoid those low flow situations but I'm not sure. I got frustrated, went into Missouri to fish the freestone creeks and trout parks, and never went back.
Last Edit: Apr 13, 2023 14:29:01 GMT -6 by darrelln09
Thank you sir! THat information helps a lot. It seems like it would be hard to plan ahead for a road trip during the week if they only give one or 2 days notice.. I will have to keep an eye on the flows. Missouri huh? That sounds pretty awesome.
Post by darrelln09 on Apr 14, 2023 18:08:41 GMT -6
You're right, it is a little hard to plan a road trip to the Lower Illinois although during dryer weather the schedules are usually pretty consistent from day-to-day and week-to-week. Also, power generation is less likely on the weekends.
There are four trout parks in Missouri that all have hatcheries. The Roaring River (25 mgd) is the smallest one but it's the closest to Oklahoma. I have fished there many times and have never been disappointed. Bennett Spring (100 mgd) is the largest one and can get very busy but it's worth going there once just to see the spring - it's amazing. The third one I've been to is Montauk (50 mgd). That one has the most fishable water but I'm hearing that it's been pretty crowded this spring. The nice part about going there though is that the Current River is downstream of the park and offers a lot of additional fishable water.
For the Missouri Creeks, look for a thread called "Missouri Blue Ribbon Trout Slam" in the Non-Local Waters category here. Also, check out the Missouri Department of Conservation website under the same topic. That information should get you started.
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2023 15:54:44 GMT -6 by darrelln09: Added average flow rates from springs in million gallons per day (mgd)