Swan Lake Water Level
As those of you who hunted the Jim/Mud/Leaf/Swan lake areas last year know, the water levels were at almost un-huntable levels at the end of 2009.
Does anyone know what has happened to cause the water levels to drop so rapidly? I am worried that it will be totally un-huntable next year. We heard a rumor that Friday Creek had diverted into the Knik river and no longer feeds this area.
It was a hot summer with little to no rain which led to low water levels. Knik on the other hand was a raging motha most of the summa.
Friday Creek does not feed Jim Creek. It more or less has in the past, many years ago, but not much of Friday Creek ends up in Jim Creek these days.
It is not that they dropped rapidly, they never came up to start with. In a normal July I can run a standard outboard to the back of Leaf to well past the outboard no go zone found during the season. This year I was lucky to get into the slough from Mud Lake in July. July water levels were about what I would expect to find in mid October.
From what I gathered from ATV folks that went up past Jim to Friday and Metal that Friday was normal last fall. If it had captured some other stream flow it would have been much higher and noticeable.
The upper parts of Swan Lake are fed by smaller streams off the mountain side. The USGS maps from the 1950's appear to show friday creek dumping into the far east end of Swan swamps. Maybe in the prequake days this was the case. Since then Friday has been on its own.
If the snow melts off too fast in the spring it does not feed into the lakes and slowly fill them. Last July it started dropping rather than filling so that by September it was pretty low.
There was not a lot of snow last winter and with the hot summer the water left early and fast rather than trickling in to the system.
Those of us that can change our equipment will be fine next season no matter what the water level is.
I ride JC on wheelers all summer and duck hunt the lakes north in the fall, I concur with the lack of rain, everything else seemed normal.
Not enough snow pack on the mountains to the south and then slightly warmer summers cause the snow pack to melt off earlier or more gradually so that the swamp does not end up retaining the water. Also keep in mind that this area of the state has had many episodes of warm weather during the winter that melts off the snow pack. Many times the last two winters I have noticed bare ground on the hills above town in mid winter. I don't go out to the Knik in winter but that valley is effected by the same weather systems that come in to Anchorage.
the rumor about Friday creek no longer feeding into the upper end of the Swan Lake swamps and that it now dumps more directly into the Knik does not make sense when you consider reports from ATV riders going out to Metal creek and the Knik glacier stating that Friday creek is mostly a series of puddles these days. If it had bypassed the swamps it would be a real stream like Metal creek or Jim creek, and not puddles.
This supports the concept that there has not been much of a snow pack on those hills to melt and fill the swamps.