Updated August 7, 2012
The Critical Stuff
We don't claim any responsibility in the initial negotiation of or the current provision of recreational releases on Ashlu Creek. We're sharing our experience and posting the important links. The critical pages you need to know about are these:
Recreational whitewater releases happen on weekends in May, August and September.
In order for a release to happen, you need to sign in at the Innergex whitewater release information page. Somebody has to sign in or there will not be water in the river when you show up.
Ashlu Release Details
Releases happen on select weekends in May, August and September for total of 24 release days each year.
Releases are from 9 am to 6 pm each day someone has signed in.
You should sign in for a release to happen. If you don't and no one else signed in there will be no water.
Signing in has to be done 24 hours before the release is to start - so if you want to paddle Saturday you need to sign in before 9 am on Friday.
Releases are subject to the availability of water - there is no storage capacity at the weir hence the operators can only release what water is already coming down stream.
Do not sign up if you're not going to show up.
You have the choice to vote for several flows from 16 cms to 32 cms when you sign in.
The flow released will be the average of all the votes collected for that day.
At times of low flow it is possible the requested flow cannot be met - if there is 16+ cms, they will release what is available. If there is less than 16 cms the operator is not required to make a release
At times of high flow it is possible the power plant will not be able to divert enough water to lower the water level in the diversion to the requested flow.
You should receive an email or phone call with the requested flow on release day, and whether they can provide this flow.
Online gauge readings approximately correlated to staff height under the 50-50 bridge:
12 cms = 0.45m (very low)
15 cms = 0.50m (low)
20 cms = 0.60m
25 cms = 0.70m
30 cms = 0.80m (high)
See the Ashlu river descriptions for appropriate water levels for kayaking based on the online gauge.
The staff gauge and the internet gauge are well correlated and usually accurate.
A plant operator is sometimes present during the releases but they will not adjust the flow if it's not to your liking. That's what the booking and release notification system is for.
There is not an option to vote for a flow low enough for the Bottom Mile section.
Paddling on non-release days from overflow is possible, but be aware that the diurinal cycle can change the flow quickly, especially in the evening.
There is no gauge for the Mine Run or the upper sections of the river. You can infer the level from the online gauge when the dam is overflowing.
This is a more complicated system than most recreational whitewater releases, but this is how it works so don't complain. Go and have fun!!
If you sign up for a release, be sure to go. Signing in and having no one show up is no way to maintain a good relationship with the dam operators and says little for our credibility.
Both bookings and actual usage are supposedly monitored.