Well as many of you are finding out, we are having a water ‘shortage’ issue on some of our Pacific Northwest rivers. The bottom line, we did not get the mountain snowfall this past winter we should have gotten and we now have low water issues. Rivers, such as the Skykomish are not dam controlled rivers and are dependent on the snow pack and consistent rainfall to get us through the summer steelhead season.
Western Washington is not the only Northwest area that has rivers that are suffering. There are many rivers strewn throughout the entire region. The Sandy River in Oregon is the lowest it has been in twenty plus years!
As far as the Skykomish River goes, you cannot get a sled launched at the Sultan ramp or the Lewis Street ramp in Monroe. Associate guide, Ryan Bigley decided to give it a look from the mouth up. Putting in at High Bridge on the Snoqualmie and running down to the mouth of the Sky to run up and see what was going on.
I asked Ryan, “How did it go?” Ryan replied something to effect of, “It’s all good…. It’s scary…” WHOA! What? You just can’t use these phrases in a sentence together and think it’s OK.
Bottom line is, from the mouth to the Highway Hole, upriver from Lewis Street, we have lost a lot of drifts due to the low water. In fact, we may only have about 4 drifts and that is not a strong 4 since there is no flow to speak of, in at least two of those 4 drifts. Many of the normal run routes are not accessible at all. There are new, ‘low water’ routes and it can be anywhere from scary to touch and go, depending on your skill level.
The bottom line is this. Running fun fun filled trips on the Skykomish and many other Pacific Northwest favorites is not going to happen until we get some water. We need rain. Not a lot! Just some normal weather patterns to fill our rivers. I believe the fish are there, but if we can get to them safely, then it is not worth it.
We have alternatives. Skagit River Sockeye is starting July 14th. We are still running Kokanee trips on Lake Stevens.