SWPA Flow Schedule: Fact or Fiction?

Arkansas Trout Unlimited National Leadership Rep Bill Thorne on his drift boat sticks _ Steve Dally image

TWO FOR TWO is the score for the Southwest Power Authority river flow schedule the past two days, stranding guides, guests and paying customers.

Our own Bill Thorne was one of those caught out Tuesday, heading to Norfork to give Colorado guide and author Landen Mayer and buddy Ben Bortner a look around the White River style streamer game.

A little hot under the collar Bill fired off a please explain to the SWPA. Listed below is the response.

Basically it doesn’t matter whether you wade or float, own a river business or come to relax, spin bait or fly, an erratic schedule is annoying at best and life-threatening at worst.

You might wonder how if SWPA can do a 3 day schedule on weekends, the same system cant be used all week.

And in this day and age, couldn’t SWPA “facetwitterblog” out deviations from the schedule in real time.

The bottom line is better information on flow schedules, like we keeps hearing that similar entity the TVA does on its tailwaters, would give more.predictability to all fishermen.

More presictability would mean more fishing which is good for not only the guides, resorts and fishing shops but for gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, artists, flowing on through the community. SWPA should be delivering better schedules for business development.

Click the link to see if they turned on as scheduled at 8am this morning courtesy of Gene’s Resort webcam.

Mr. Thorne,

Thank you for your inquiry into Southwestern Power Administration (Southwestern) operations.  Southwestern is well aware that many people use our posted schedules to plan river activities.

Southwestern devotes considerable resources each day to insure that the schedules posted on our website and phone-system are our best day-ahead estimate of generation at each project. However, as stated on the website and the phone-system, actual generation releases from any project are subject to change from the schedule.

There are a variety of factors that may require changes to generation schedules at our reservoirs, including, but not limited to, changes in power demand, transmission system constraints, unexpected generator outages, and changes in reservoir inflow.

Our integrated 17 reservoir system serves customers over a 6 state area and these factors can change at any time and place. An unexpected change anywhere in the system can and will require changes from our posted schedule at specific locations that we can’t always anticipate.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.


Here is Bill’s original email

I am writing this to try and understand the swpa generation schedule.Surely you must know that the published generation schedule is a tool used by all the guides that make their living fishing Arkansas and Missouri tail waters. I can’t begin to express the frustration all the guides experience when actual generation deviates from the schedule.

Plans are made based on flows, when actual generation is nowhere near the scheduled flows these guides must totally change if not cancel their fay on the water.

What good is the schedule when it is so inacurate, day in and day out?

Any response that helps explain the system would be appreciated.


Bill Thorne

AR National Leadership Rep.

Trout Unlimited