Where did all of the water come from?

If you are like the guides here at Mossy Creek you are always watching the weather and the stream levels.  A big part of our success guiding and leisure fishing revolves around stream flow.  The early fall is typically one of the driest times of the year here in the Shenandoah Valley.  Unless we get a tropical system, or have an unusually wet summer, water levels usually bottom out in September.  Not to worry, the water will return.

It has been said that the average deciduous tree drinks 3 to 4 hundred gallons of water a day.  The forested mountains that flank the valley act like a giant sponge, sucking up the ground water.  By mid-October the leaves are changing color and by late October they are falling.  All of the seasonal vegetation dries up and dies back.  This means less transpiration, and more water left in the ground. The October sun is lower in the sky, the nights are longer, and the days are shorter.   This means less direct evaporation of water.  Additionally, human activity changes and less water is used for gardens and yards, and farmers are done pumping and irrigating.

Fishing with leaves on the water can be a pain, but all of those leaves jam between the rocks and really help to dam up those nice trout pools we love to fish.  An added 2 to 3 inches of depth can make all the difference for a feeding, or more importantly spawning Brook Trout. All of these factors lead to the ground water level rising, and streams flowing better.  Even without rain, water levels always rebound in late October and early November.

Fortunately this year we have had above average rainfall.  Let's put that water in the bank and save some for next summer.

Here is a quick link to watch the seasonal change of groundwater in the Valley.

http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/AWLSites.asp?S=382523078535501&ncd=

 

Happy Fishing!

Brian Trow

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