Today the S. Fork, N. Fork and the main stem of the New at Crumpler and Mouth of Wilson looked great. Really good clarity. Starting to get a little low for some, however. Gauge on the S. Fork at Jefferson was about 1.9ish. Still an easy paddle if you are watching ahead for gravel bars, monitoring foam lines and picking good chutes. Anybodys guess as to what storms may do during the week...but Sparta should be good at the moment....
If you're floating Bridle Creek to Independence, I'm sure you'll be leaving some plastic on the rocks at Molly Osborne Shoals. However, the low flow may take a little of nastiness out of Penitentiary Shoals. I've had really good days of catching on this stretch.
An update: On Tuesday, the water in the New was still looking great just west of Sparta. However, it was reported as being quite muddy around Boone. The gauge on the S. Fork at Jefferson spiked up several inches yesterday as well. So...there could be a "slug" of muddy water heading downriver....which may arrive when you get there...or it may have moved on through and cleared up.... With the afternoon thunderstorms popping up in different locations, it's often a guessing game as to how dingy the water will be, or where sections may be clear enough for decent fishing.
It's frequently a gamble. Thunderstorms popping up can be hard to predict. At least you can feel pretty sure there will be plenty of water to float...it just may be muddy in your chosen section. I remember one time the water was crystal clear at the takeout. We drove 4 miles upriver to launch and it was chocolate milk there. Hindsight being what it is, had we asked the shuttle driver he would have told us it was muddy upriver. We could then have alterred our plans and gone downriver to float a different stretch and probably stayed ahead of the mud. If it's muddy from a localized storm, that may clear pretty quick (i.e. in a day or so). But, if it is from a heavy rain over a larger region...it may take 2-3 days.
The USGS gauge on the S. Fork spiked a couple or 3 inches the other day...but it is back down to about 2 feet so should be plenty of water but you will have to "read ahead" to look for shoals, ledges etc and watch for the foam lines and pick the good chutes to run. If it goes back up a couple of inches due to a storm or two, you may easily just float over obstacles...but it may be dirtier than desired for good fishing....bring out the spinners...
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