There are several useful tools that can help an angler really see why this snow melt blowout is happening (besides all the snow of course) and understand when it will end. The Oregon State Marine Board maintains a page that shows how full the Willamette Valley reservoirs are and how much water is coming in and going out of each reservoir. The entire Willamette Reservoir system is at 96% full. Cougar is the least full at 93% of full pool. I’ve been using this page in combination with a snowpack data page maintained by the NOAA. It is pretty cool–you can animate snowpack depth, snowmelt, etc. over the season, last two weeks or just the past day. The bottom line is that there is still lots of snow in the Cascades that will continue to melt if t stays warm and in combination with the spill levels necessary due to the full reservoirs make fishing conditions in these systems difficult. Of course, if you just want to check the river levels there are a couple of really useful sites. The NOAA breaks the state up into a few zones that don’t precisely match the statewide angling zones but pretty close. The NOAA page I use most contains the Northwest Zone, Willamette Zone and a Couple of Central Zone streams. The benefit of this page is that it also shows projected levels, the drawback is that there are fewer gauges. The USGS Oregon River levels page has just about every gauge in the state and is a great source of data. The only drawback is that it does not forecast levels. These tools are all useful and can help you determine where you have the best chance of getting into good fishing. What they are telling us now is what we already knew: the high levels on the Willamette tribs are here to stay for a while.
The blog crew will continue to try to think outside the box and point you towards some good fishing.