Melted snow aids river flow

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Daytime high temperatures in the mid-70s have reignited spring runoff and boosted water flow in the Yampa River through town.

Kayakers with play boats on their roof racks were crowding parking lots adjacent to the major downtown waves by late morning Friday.

At 9:15 a.m. Friday, the river was flowing at 1,130 cubic feet per second and poised to climb into the afternoon. The Yampa recorded a daily peak of almost 1,500 cfs Thursday night, bringing it back to almost exactly where it was a week ago.

Streamflows slid during last weekend's cold snap, to a low of 700 cfs on June 1.

The average June 4 streamflow at the Fifth Street Bridge in Steamboat Springs is 2,300 cfs, but the river probably won't reach that level this year, said Eric Kuhn of the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

"The Yampa at Maybell peaked early," Kuhn said. "We're done. The Yampa at the Fifth Street Bridge isn't as bad as 2002, but it's not nearly normal."

The Yampa typically peaks above 3,000 cfs in Steamboat, and peak flows above 4,000 cfs are not unusual, according to data kept by the U.S. Geological Service.

The Steamboat Fishing Company is reporting that even though the river in Steamboat is above 1,000 cfs, the water is relatively clear, and anglers are able to catch and release trout on attractor nymphs including large stonefly patterns.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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