People start thinking about getting wet when temperatures get this warm but low river levels are hampering recreation on the Deschutes River.
For the past six months, there hasn’t been enough water to form waves for surfers at the whitewater park in downtown Bend.
But flows are increasing and surfing is on the cusp of returning.
Wave surfers wearing wet suits would be in the water if there was enough water to form waves.
“It’s too low. It’s pretty screwed up at the moment,” said Seth Ehlinger of Bend.
The river in downtown Bend is running lower than normal because springs and streams in the upper basin are flowing less than half their usual rate.
“We are watching the gauges all the day long, taking care of the frogs upstream because this is their breeding and rearing season,” said Ryan Richard, River Recreation Specialist for the Bend Park and Recreation District. “The second we have that volume, and we know to the nearest 100th of a foot based on our gauges in the park, those gates will come right up and I’ll be posting a video.”
Higher flows of water were starting to be released from Wickiup Reservoir Thursday.
“That flow should be in Bend by Saturday or Sunday. It should make the river here increase by about 30% of what you are seeing here today,” said Jeremy Giffin, Deschutes Basin Water Master.
A 30% increase in flows should be enough to form waves and open the whitewater park.
Park managers advise wave surfers to use boards with short fins or foam boards that better withstand hitting the bottom of what will still be a shallow river.
You can check wave conditions on the Bend Whitewater Park’s facebook page. You don’t need a facebook account to check it.