Gauge Description:

This river is primarily dam controlled, although it usually runs after periods of heavy rain. The two USGS gages on the Dead River were retired years ago. Remains of the [outside visible] staff gages however still exist, and they can be used to verify water levels. There is a gage on Spencer Stream near the put-in.


Scheduled Releases

Dam-controlled: min 1200 cfs (quite bony); at about 2400 cfs, the rocks get more padded and the water, more fun. For release levels call 1-800-557-FLOW; select "Kennebec" and "Flagstaff" to get the flow from Long Falls Dam (Flagstaff Lake), or call FPL Energy at 207-795-1342.


Additional Release Notes from FPL Energy:

We will be releasing water from the dam as necessary to provide the above flows directly below Spencer Stream.

Kennebec Water Power Company hopes you enjoy these recreational opportunities in a safe manner. Proposed releases are subject to change due to license restrictions, current availability of water and/or unanticipated weather/water conditions.

Carol Clark
River Engineer
(Happy retirement to Wes Hallowell, thanks for many years of great service.)


USGS Gage—Spencer Stream at Mouth

Gage ID: 01044550, Location: 45d 18m 07s, -70d 13m 26s.
A new gage at the mouth of Spencer Stream next to the Dead River put-in was recently installed. In addition to showing natural inflow from Spencer into the Dead, it also is affected by Dead releases. River level information is being collected to help create a correlation chart to enable Spencer Stream readings to be translated to estimated Dead flow levels. Please send any gage observations and river flow measurements to the Streamkeeper.


USGS Gage—Dead River at The Forks

Gage ID: 01045000, Location: 45d 20m 57s, -69d 59m 25s (approximate); datum 600.5 feet.
This gage is retired. It was in use from Sep 1911 through Sep 1979. The gage house was dismantled and removed in May 17, 1999. The river at this location has a drainage area of 872 square miles.

The staff gage is located above what is now the Magic Falls rafting facility; drive up ~150–200 yards past the cemetery and look for a path leading down to the water. The gage is in two parts; the upper fastened to a tree on the right, and the lower sticking out below the lip of the river bank. It is heavily overgrown with grass and brush and hard to find. Note that you must add 3.0 feet to readings on the lower section to match the chart below. At river levels of 5000 CFS and higher the lower section is under water. The gage physical condition in 2008 was poor.

The gage correlation chart below was compiled by an unknown paddler. It has been verified as coming from Rating Table 3.0; valid from 3/28/56 thru 9/30/79. Recent (2007–2008) river observations against other known measurements show that the information is still reasonably accurate. Maximum discharge during period of measurement was 28,700 cfs on March 20, 1936 (gage height 10.54 ft). Minimum flow (since Sep 1923) 61 cfs on Dec 23, 1968.

Transcribed in 1993 by hand by the Streamkeeper from an old copy posted at Ed Webb's campground. Reproduced exactly as posted at Webb's in years past.


                     Dead River Gage Correlations

  Gage is located river left upstream of New England White Water
  (where the CMP parking lot is located) and the cemetery on a tree
  approximately 50 feet upstream of the disused USGS gage-house.  The
  gage is easily accessable by car by following the road through NEWW.
  The gage levels and corresponding CFS are provided by USGS survey.

      GAGE     CFS            GAGE    CFS             GAGE    CFS

      2.50     835            4.50    4555            6.50    10300
      2.60     965            4.60    4795            6.60    10630
      2.70    1095            4.70    5035            6.70    10980
      2.80    1240            4.80    5285            6.80    11350
      2.90    1390            4.90    5545            6.90    11710
      3.00    1550            5.00    5810            7.00    12090
      3.10    1715            5.10    6075            7.20    12850
      3.20    1890            5.20    6350            7.40    13640
      3.30    2065            5.30    6630            7.60    14430
      3.40    2250            5.40    6910            7.80    15220
      3.50    2440            5.50    7195            8.00    16030
      3.60    2635            5.60    7490            8.20    16860
      3.70    2830            5.70    7785            8.40    17700
      3.80    3025            5.80    8085            8.60    18570
      3.90    3230            5.90    8390            8.80    19460
      4.00    3440            6.00    8695            9.00    20370
      4.10    3650            6.10    9010            9.20    21300
      4.20    3870            6.20    9325            9.40    22240
      4.30    4095            6.30    9645            9.60    23200
      4.40    4320            6.40    9970           10.54    28700


USGS Gage—Dead River near Dead River Maine

Gage ID: 01043500, Location: 45d 13m 49.65s, -70d 11m 59.4s.
This gage is retired. It was in use from 1940 through 1982. The river at this location has a drainage area of 516 square miles.

The remains of the gage can be found near the bridge just below dam outflow on Flagstaff Lake (near Grand Falls). The physical condition in 2007 was unknown; however representatives of Florida Light and Power mentioned to the AW Streamkeeper [in 2011] that they still use this gage [by visual observation] to set and verify Dead River release levels.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Dead River near Dead River, Maine
usgs-01043500 800 - 13000 cfs II-III(IV) 01h07m 451 cfs (too low)

gauge graph
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
800 -13000 cfs barely runnable-high runnable II-III(IV) gauge is important or has warning

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Dead [ME] OC-2 Slalom n/a Matt Muir
3y76d02h43m @Dead Spencer Falls to West Forks [ME] Remains of Gage upstream of Magic Falls 0 cfs Skip Morris
4y85d06h01m @Dead Spencer Falls to West Forks [ME] Don't always believe the advertised level. 0 cfs Skip Morris
> 10 years Dead [ME] Bottom of Mile Long Rapid 5500 Skip Morris
> 10 years Dead [ME] Grand Falls Panorama unknown Bob Dunn
> 10 years Dead [ME] Poplar Hill Falls 2400 cfs Mark Lacroix
> 10 years Dead [ME] Surfing at Quatro 6000 cfs Mark Lacroix
> 10 years Dead [ME] Open Boating at Medium Flow 2,300 cfs Bob Dunn
> 10 years Dead [ME] Kayak Below Grand Falls 2300 cfs Bob Dunn
> 10 years Dead [ME] Kayak in Poplar Hill Falls 5,500 cfs Bob Dunn