Yampa River flows drop quickly | SteamboatToday.com

Yampa River flows drop quickly

— The thrill of tubing the Yampa River is floating high for now. The question is, how much longer can it last?

Last winter’s abundant snowfall produced consistently excellent skiing, but 430 inches of powder failed to translate into an extended floating season on the town stretch of the Yampa. The river where it flows beneath the Fifth Street Bridge is currently just better than half its seasonal norm.

The Yampa has leveled off at about 275 cfs in the last several days after dropping steeply between June 15 and 26.

That didn’t keep hundreds of floaters from enjoying the river on Monday — at least until a violent thunderstorm lashed the west side of Steamboat Springs with rain between 2:30 and 3 p.m. “It was great,” Tyson Waneka of Steamboat said. “Better than last year when I hit my butt on the rocks.”

Floaters pay $15 for a tube rental and shuttle van ride, and $2 or $3 to rent river shoes. Backdoor Sports had sold out of its allotted quota of tube trips by mid-afternoon. The float takes about 45 minutes at current stream levels.

Jed Freeman of Broomfield said he enjoyed his float on the Yampa right up until he flipped in Charlie’s Hole and lost his expensive prescription glasses. Freeman maintained an upbeat attitude in spite of the loss and urged other tubers to keep their eyeglasses on a snug fitting leash.

The river was steady on its mean flow level until June 10 when it was still running at a rate of 2,000 cfs. The river’s volume typically begins to decline in the middle of June, but this year the drop has been steep. The mean flow for July 3 is 500 cfs, based on records that have been kept for 96 years.

People renting inner tubes to float through downtown are finding more water than the measurement at Fifth Street as they pass the confluences of Butcherknife and Soda creeks.

–To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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