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Offline Lovetofish17

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Current vs gage height
« on: April 06, 2017, 10:56:07 PM »
Just curious and trying to minimize my learning curve. I figured I'd just check with the experts!  Is the current always going to be ripping when the river gets high, or is it sometimes high but still manageable?  Do the measured discharge numbers tell you anything about current flow, or is it just directly related to the gage height?

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Current vs gage height
« on: April 06, 2017, 10:56:07 PM »

Offline FM

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2017, 11:43:55 PM »
Height is what I focus on. The flow follows the height and the height follows the flow.  There is a direct and stable relationship. I like height  because it is easy to visualize. Trying to relate flow to conditions gets kind of abstract.
FM

Offline brownmk19

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2017, 12:55:05 AM »
I'm no expert, but I also use height as my reference point. I basically have a picture of what a certain area I fish looks like at a given water height and use that visualization. For example, there is an area near Wilkes Barre that I enjoy fishing. I know exactly what the water in that stretch looks like (how high it comes up the bank, etc) when hydrograph map for Wilkes Barre reads 8 feet high. If the gauge is greater than 8', I usually consider that spot unfishable due to high water. Guys who fish in boats a lot probably use the same logic, in reverse. They probably know the minimum water height needed to get their boat through a shallow stretch of the river without damaging their prop. I use the same approach for various areas of the river that I fish. I have a good mental picture of where the water is in relation to the bank at a given height on the gauge. That's what works for me. Hope that helps.

Offline FM

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 06:43:54 AM »
Just to make this a little bit more counter intuitive. The gauges are not all calibrated to the same zero point, at least as far as I can tell. It may be impossible or impractical. What this means is, for instance, if there are very uniform water conditions in place on the length of the river say in mid summer. You will find the the Meshoppen gauge reads 6 feet, and the Wilkes Barre gauge reads 1 foot. These are just my made up examples to illustrate that you can't expect to see the same gauge reading in two spots even though the same conditions are in fact present. Tough to explain and tough to visualize. Check it some time when the weather has been stable for a couple weeks and you will see what I'm getting at.
FM

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2017, 06:43:54 AM »

Offline DRY

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2017, 08:04:16 AM »
I knew I had read something about NWS/NOAA gauges somewhere. For those who are inquisitive and didn't flunk math/physics in school...... ;)  :)

https://water.usgs.gov/edu/measureflow.html

https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3001/pdf/fs2011-3001.pdf

Bill
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Offline Lovetofish17

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 09:43:54 AM »
Very helpful. I'm newer to boating the river, and don't get there nearly often enough. So I'm trying hard to learn the best way to get a good grasp on the conditions without driving there.  Lazy, I know. I've been keeping a log of the observed gauge height and what I find when I'm out there, but I haven't been out in higher spring flows yet.

For example... Have you found that the velocity of flow is typically always the same at a certain gauge height? If I go one time at 8.75' on the Harrisburg gauge and say this is running too fast, do I know that 8.75' is always going to be too fast? 

Does higher water always mean its running muddier, or do slower, steady rains sometimes bring the level up without making it chocolate milk?

Sorry to ask all these questions, but it's too tempting to not pick your experienced and helpful brains!

Offline FM

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2017, 09:57:37 AM »
My sense of logic and simple common sense tell me that if I have a bottle of bčer and tip it upside down it will drain out at a given speed or rate. If I decide to repeat it will produce the same results. I believe all things being equal if the river is at x height and the flow is at y rate today the the next time the river is at x height the flow will be at y again. All things being equal means in that location.
FM

Offline DRY

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 10:01:59 AM »
My experience:

1. river height parallels river flow...higher water levels equals faster flows

2. higher water height does not always mean muddy water...especially in winter with snow melt.  But if you get higher water after a heavy rain you can count on muddy water.

2. If you've been on the river at Harrisburg at 8.75 feet...you're nuts!!  ;)  :)

Bill
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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 10:01:59 AM »

Offline FM

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 10:10:46 AM »
This is Physics. Physics is Phun lol. Very interesting too. Imagine if you could take the river in a particular location with an X height and a y flow rate and increase the gradient. Or, tip the river bed and make it steeper. The steeper gradient would allow the y flow to increase. But I believe the x height would decrease because the volume of water would be passing through the location faster. Lots of variables but for us boating or standing on shore fishing most of them stay constant. We just have to consider gauge height and location.
FM

Offline 1iarrowking

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2017, 10:52:54 AM »
As someone who just purchased a river boat in Dec.and who has only been on the river a couple of times with a freind, this thread is very helpful and informative.  My friend gave me a couple of books which have some good info about the fishing conditions in relation to the height gauges but I'm open to all the help I can get.  He fished the river for 10 years with that boat but after putting the third hole in it and almost loosing it the third time he got it repaired and sold it. 

I have 75 miles to Harrisburg and 54 miles to Berwick so anyplace in between those points or south and north of those ponts is further. I can't just hop in my truck and have a look see very easly.  My friend fished between Harrisburg and the Juniata most of the time and never ventured past Sellinsgrove so he has no first hand knowledge further north.  Because there is no bass fishing south of Sunbury after May 1, I'll probalbly have to go north cold turkey or target another spicies.

Thanks again for all the help.

Ken
The older I get, the better I used to be.

Offline DRY

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2017, 11:32:34 AM »
Because there is no bass fishing south of Sunbury after May 1, I'll probalbly have to go north cold turkey or target another spicies.

Ken

FYI - Smallmouth season re-opens mid-June below the Fabridam (Sunbury). But it is C&R only for the rest of the year.

Bill
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Offline Responsible_Angler

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2017, 11:44:45 AM »
This is too good to not put my two cents into this conversation since I use ESRI GIS (Geographic Information System) for a living.  I agree with FM on the flow.  At the same guage the flow rate will be the same everytime the guage reads X height unless the earth shifts which is does over the years.  Rember the height recorded is at that particular guage so every guage and flow rate will vary along the whole river.  That is why they have so many guages.  The biggest factor that makes each guage have different height readings is the elevation above sea level, contour of the bottm and the width of the river.  The wider the river the lower the height reading will be at that guage resulting in 7 ft here and 10 ft there for an example.  Since have a prop propelled motor I keep a log of each of the areas I fish and log the minimum height I can operate in that area without my butt hole puckering the whole way up the river.  Thats where my kayak comes in handy. If I really want to fish an area that is too low for my boat I break out the kayak.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 11:55:50 AM by Responsible_Angler »

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2017, 11:44:45 AM »

Offline 1iarrowking

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2017, 12:13:04 PM »
FYI - Smallmouth season re-opens mid-June below the Fabridam (Sunbury). But it is C&R only for the rest of the year.

Bill

That's OK with me.  I think it was catch and release when I went with my friend. Anyway, we never kept any and we never kept any when we went on the Delaware either.  My freezer is full of venison and pheasants.  I may keep a walleye or catfish once in a while if I luck into any.
The older I get, the better I used to be.

Offline Lovetofish17

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2017, 06:08:33 PM »
Awesome info.  Thanks all. Eventually I hope to contribute something useful!

Offline Responsible_Angler

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 06:45:34 PM »
I'll give you one last piece of advice.  Take it slow and learn one area of the river at a time. Don't jump around to a dozen different areas.  Knowing one area like the back of your hand will result in better fishing success than knowing a lot of areas a little bit.  I learned that the hard way when I started lake fishing. I went to different lakes all the time and never had much success at any of them. Then I decided to concentrate on one lake until I really learned it before moving on to another lake and it paid off big time. I now have two lakes that I know that I can always catch a lot of fish.

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Re: Current vs gage height
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 06:45:34 PM »

 

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