The gentle showers that broke two weeks of dry weather in the Yampa Valley this week have boosted streamflows and lowered water temperatures in area rivers.
The Elk River, measured at its confluence with the Yampa River east of Milner, jumped sharply overnight Wednesday to more than 250 cubic feet per second. The Elk had been hovering at about 100 cfs all week. By mid-morning Friday, it had retreated to 191 cfs, well above the average flow for the date of about 120 cfs.
Fish Creek had slipped below 2 cfs Monday, but surged to 14 cfs Wednesday night and was contributing 9 cfs to the Yampa at its confluence in Steamboat Springs by Friday morning.
Helped in part by the flows from Fish Creek, the Yampa at the Fifth Street Bridge was flowing at 91 cfs Friday morning. The river had dropped below 40 cfs during its daily cycle on four consecutive days this week.
The Yampa remained below 65 degrees Fahrenheit and measured 60 degrees Friday morning. Those are healthy temperatures for trout.
The water temperature in the Yampa exceeded 75 degrees as recently as Monday.
City officials continue to ask people to observe a voluntary suspension of most recreational activities in the Yampa, including floating, swimming and exercising dogs. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has not taken the step of suspending fishing in the town stretch of the Yampa, as it did in the summer of 2002.
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