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zthomas

Floating/shuttling Questions

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Hey Zack (since I know it's probably you who'll answer this),

I haven't fished the tailwater since the late '90s when I was living in Fayetteville. I've been wondering about doing a short float with the one-man pontoon up there and had a couple questions:

-Can I get down it even with no generation? Are the section you can and can't reasonably float at 0 cfs?

-If you're on the water and flow starts to increase, do you just get to a bank and wait it out? I'm looking at the recent corps data showing abrupt 9-foot increases in water level and 8000 or 9000 cfs flows and thinking that could be a wild ride in the 'toon.

-Is there a short float where I might be able to just walk back up to my truck from the take-out if I can't hitch a ride?

-Can you give a brief rundown of the numbers that mean good fishing/floating condition, as in Table Rock pool level, tailwater elevation, recent generation (or not), etc? I just don't entirely get how to read the corps graphs and such.

-Probably a dumb question, but is there any way to predict when the releases will come? Or do you just pay your money and take your chances?

I know that's a lot of questions, and I really appreciate it if you can answer a few. Just trying to get as much figured out as I can before driving up from FSM.

Best,

Zack

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Hey Zack (since I know it's probably you who'll answer this),

I haven't fished the tailwater since the late '90s when I was living in Fayetteville. I've been wondering about doing a short float with the one-man pontoon up there and had a couple questions:

-Can I get down it even with no generation? Are the section you can and can't reasonably float at 0 cfs?

We float Beaver at no generation all the time. What makes it tough is the Table Rock Lake Elevation. Beaver tends to be like a small lake with a few riffles in it. Also at 0cfs, there is still a little bit of flow. You will run into shallower spot downstream of the Bathouse access and around Parker Bottoms. Still no problem for drift boats......so a pontoon is a breeze. Downstream of Parker Bottoms gets to be a bit stagnant, so there is a bit of rowing.

-If you're on the water and flow starts to increase, do you just get to a bank and wait it out? I'm looking at the recent corps data showing abrupt 9-foot increases in water level and 8000 or 9000 cfs flows and thinking that could be a wild ride in the 'toon.

The 9' rise is very close to the dam, and the further downstream you go, the more it widens......which equals less speed. One could head to the shore.....or just have a ride. Its not a horrible ride if you are used to rowing a pontoon. Looks like most Gen is in the morning, so you could just plan around that.

-Is there a short float where I might be able to just walk back up to my truck from the take-out if I can't hitch a ride?

The perk of a pontoon is not having to have a ramp to launch. Putting in at the Dam Site Ramp is as far up as you can get. There are quite a few walkin access along the way and a few that are pretty wide open(easy to tote the toon up the hill. Downstream from the Dam Site Ramp about .35mi is the Bathouse walkin. Parking isnt far from the access. The next place to easily take a pontoon out is at Parker bottoms. It is about 1.5miles from the Dam Ramp. There are piers jutting out into the water that make loading and unloading pretty easy. On down past Parker Bottoms you get to the Bertrand Ramp. It is 2.84mi down from the Ramp. Using Google maps, you can pretty easily tell where the access' are located.

-Can you give a brief rundown of the numbers that mean good fishing/floating condition, as in Table Rock pool level, tailwater elevation, recent generation (or not), etc? I just don't entirely get how to read the corps graphs and such.

I prefer to use the Tabular form to read the water conditions.

Tabular Form

It tells the current Tailwater level as well as current generation. This also shows easier how long it takes the water to fallout. Remember, this guage is near the dam.....so the farther down, the longer the fallout. 916 is pretty darn shallow for Beaver. There are still deeper pools, but this makes for alot more riffles. Riffles equal less of a lake type fishing. Table Rock can get pretty high(ie the water backs up to the dam) and still be fishable. You just have to adjust your fishing depth. 918 makes for some tough wading in areas. 920 is pretty much no wading and only float fishing.

-Probably a dumb question, but is there any way to predict when the releases will come? Or do you just pay your money and take your chances?

Pretty much check out the predictions. These are STRICTLY a guideline. Keep an eye out on water levels. Since we have had little rain and Beaver Lake is low, they have been holding to the schedule pretty welll.......but anything is possible

I know that's a lot of questions, and I really appreciate it if you can answer a few. Just trying to get as much figured out as I can before driving up from FSM.

Best,

Zack

Hope some of that helps a little. The Dam Store can help with a shuttle if you don't have two people going. Another option, especially if there isnt much planned generation, is to park at Parker Bottoms and launch your boat there. Then you can row upstream as far as you want to fish. River left on up the river from Parker is great fishing. Don't let upstream worry you.....you shouldn't notice hardly any flow.

From one Zack to another.....best of luck. :)

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Thanks again--great information! If the weather doesn't turn, I'll be up there a week from Saturday while the wife and mother-in-law are at the mall in Rogers. It's all in the planning and presentation...

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