In the wake of two people dying after falling into the river and being swept over Elk Falls

Hydro turns down the ‘tap’ which should improve fishing conditions

Water flows along the Campbell River to be reduced beginning Friday night and will continue to decline into August

Water flow along the Campbell River will slowly be reduced over the next week which should make for some good fishing conditions.

Starting tonight (Friday), BC Hydro will reduce the current flow of water from the John Hart Dam reservoir from 160 metres per cubic second to 120 metres per cubic second.

Typically, the rate of flow during July is 70 metres per cubic second.  However, a higher-than-average snowpack in the mountains, combined with a cool and wet spring, filled reservoirs in the Campbell River water system.

Hydro’s been releasing more water in order to maintain optimal levels for power generation, but now that’s it’s finally getting warmer and dryer, the flow rates can be eased.

For now until Aug. 6, BC Hydro will reduce the flow from the dam by 75 per cent with the target of 40 metres per cubic second. This flow rate is expected to remain constant through to mid-September.

“This will be ideal for river recreation and the sports fishery, particularly for pink salmon, and a planned fish habitat gravel placement project,” said BC Hydro spokesman Stephen Watson.

The gravel placement project takes place Aug. 7-10. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Campbell River Salmon Foundation, will be dumping gravel into the Campbell River by First Island, immediately downstream of the generating station.

The gravel will be placed near the main river channel and enhance salmon habitat for spawning.

As a safety precaution, BC Hydro will close the public access gate into the river near the generating station Aug. 7-10. Fisheries will be co-ordinating heavy machinery to move the gravel and place it within the river bed.

“That is a significant concern for public river safety, particularly tubers,” said Watson, who added, “Destiny River Adventures will be allowed access during the work.”

Reservoir levels

The Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake is at 219.9 metres and slowly declining.

By early August it will go down to the 219.3 metre range before beginning to slowly rise slightly above the 220 metre range by the end of August, when it will slowly decline again; 219 metres to 220 metres is a good level for summer reservoir recreation.