When I am out with my clients, I often get asked how much the water level fluctuates. Whenever I tell them about the spring freshet, quite often they ask me what it is. So I thought I would give people the opportunity to learn about it.
The freshet is when the river rises due to spring snow melt. The Fraser River is the longest river in Canada, with a length of 1375 km one can imagine how many creeks and rivers flow into it, all swollen with melting snow. Contributing to the Fraser Rivers volume , with an average discharge of 3,075 cubic meters per second. In freshet the Fraser can rise to over 12,000 cubic meters per second, with a rise on water up to 10 plus vertical feet. A considerable increase indeed.
The snowmelt starts sometime in spring. Typically around April , bit as early as March or as late as June. It is all dependent on the weather. I have been out on days when the river rose two vertical feet over the course of a days Sturgeon fishing. The river rises , covering the many gravel bars the line the sides of the river. Washing all the sticks and logs downstream, making the river a place for experienced boaters only. On the upside, it creates many nooks and crannies where the Sturgeon like to frequent.
The spring freshet usually lasts into June, but clears of debris in a few weeks of the peak. Once the river starts to recede, the Sturgeon fishing really picks up. Making for some spectacular battles and sore arms.