If repair of a generator at Beaver Dam has been successful, plenty of cold water is flowing down the White River today, creating better conditions for trout and anglers.
Sean Harper, operations project manager at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Beaver Lake office in Rogers, said Thursday he’s “optimistic” normal production of electricity from the repaired generator will begin by today.
Beaver Dam has two hydroelectric generators. Unit No. 1 is the generator that underwent recent repair. Unit No, 2 has been out of service for months for a long-term repair, Harper said. Work on that generator hasn’t started yet, and it could be a year before it does.
That’s how long the process of awarding the repair contract could take, he said. It may be another year before the generator is fixed. Then cold-water releases from both generators can resume.
Water released through the dam is ice cold because it comes from near the bottom of Beaver Lake, which is about 200 feet deep at the dam. The water is 50-55 degrees when it turns the generators and emerges from the base of the dam. From there is flows down the White River toward Table Rock Lake.
For a couple of weeks, cold water has been released through a conduit in the dam that is rarely used. Releases took place through the conduit for about an hour each day, but not every day, while Unit No. 1 was repaired.
The volume of cold water from the conduit is slightly greater than the amount released from one generator, Harper said. The conduit release is about 5,000 cubic feet per second. One generator releases about 4,000 cubic feet per second at full power.
Releases of small amounts of water through the repaired generator began Thursday as tests were done on Unit No. 1.
Even with little cold water released, trout fishing has been good, said Lisa Mullins, a guide with Custom Adventures fishing service. Anglers have been catching good numbers of rainbow trout in the first four miles of the river downstream from the dam. That’s the section between Beaver Dam and Spider Creek.
She said fishing has been slower on the last four miles of trout water, from Spider Creek downstream to Houseman Access, because of warm water. Trout need cold water to survive.
With the low water, wade-fishing conditions are excellent, Mullins added.
Carl Caso, an angler who works at Beaver Dam Store, said the water temperature at Houseman Access reached the low 80s, much to warm for trout.
His advice is to fish upstream of Spider Creek.
“Fishing is good on just about everything,” he said. All colors of Power Bait are working for bait anglers. Small spoons are good to use.
Several types of flies are working, including jig-style midges in a peaches and cream color. Other productive flies are Y2K bugs and squiggly worms. Size 16 flies are working best.
The generation issue is hopefully resolved and cold water is flowing down the White River as usual. If it isn’t, Harper said the corps and other agencies will monitor water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels below the dam. Conduit releases will continue as needed.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at email@example.com.
Sports on 08/14/2018