The Army Corps of Engineers operates Summersville Dam as a flood control project on the Gauley River so flows are dependent on dam release. Good flows can happen throughout the year depending on the weather and reservoir operations. One way to tell what the next few days will bring is to check the trend on the Craigsville gage. If Summersville Reservoir is at summer pool level (1652.5'), then what comes in, must go out. (Outflow = Craigsville * 1.25.) Check the Huntington District Reservoir Summary for current pool level of Summersville. You can also call for recorded information at 304-872-5809.
Summersville Reservoir is a center for powerboat recreation during the summer months; at the end of the season the Corps must lower the lake 75' to make room for next spring's floods. The dependable flows from fall drawdown attract thousands of paddlers to one of the country's most popular runs at a time when many other rivers across the country are running low. These scheduled releases begin the first Friday after Labor Day. The Army Corps provides a release schedule every year that typically includes 5 four-day weekends (Fri-Mon), one regular weekend, and one Sunday release for a total of 23 release days. The typical fall release is 2800 cfs which is considered ideal. As flows get up around 5000 cfs, the river cranks up another notch. Everything is bigger, faster, and swims will be long. The play, however, is still outstanding if you have the skills to negotiate the river safely. If you have absolutely no problem with the normal 2800 cfs release, and routinely play your way down, you'll have a great time and likely discover some new spots. Alternatively, the Lower Gauley is always an option with great play if you're nervous about the idea of a bigger Upper Gauley. The Meadow River comes in just above Lost Paddle, which is about halfway down the run and can change the character of the run significantly or not at all depending on recent weather. For the level for the second half of the run add the Meadow Flow to the flow given above.
Note: USGS stopped reporting discharge in October 2003. The virtual gauge above is based on the old rating curve.
|Gauley at Summersville (cfs)|
|virtual-8515||400 - 5000 cfs||IV-V||00h55m||496.929 cfs (running)|
Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.