Approximate Gauge Ranges (NOT GAURANTEED TO REMAIN ACCURATE!): River Low High ----------------------------------- Kings R. ??? ??? (too far downstream to matter) Buffalo R. (Ponca) 2.0 6.0 (6.0+ is good for the Hailstone) Cossatot R. 3.3 5.5 Lee Cr. 5.0 9.0 Frog B. 3.5 6.0 Mulberry R. 1.8 5.0 Big Piney Cr. 2.3 5.0 Illinois B. 6.0 8.5 Richland Cr. 3.0 6.0 (optimal from 4.0 - 5.0)
After a 1.5 minute Arkansas River report, this number gives you levels for the following Ozark runs: River Approx. range of levels -------------------------------------------------------- Buffalo R. (four locations) Big Piney Cr. (2.3 - 6.0) Mulberry R. (1.8 - 5.0) Frog Bayou (3.5 - 6.0) Middle Fork of Little Red (8.5 - 11.0) Lee Cr. (5.0 - 9.0) Illinois R. (3.0 - ?) Illinois Bayou (6.0 - 8.5) Kings R. (???) War Eagle Cr. (???) Cossatot R. (inflow) (350 - 2500 cfs) Be aware that some of the gauges (most notably Lee Cr.) may be located a long distance away from the section you want to paddle. This report is updated every weekday at around 11:00 AM.
The USGS has a 24 hr phone gauge for the Tot. The level you want is between 3.3 and 5.5 or so. Wish the USGS would do this for all of the streams!
This toll free number can get you information on the Buffalo R. levels at Ponca. They usually give the reading in inches of airspace under the low-water bridge at Ponca. This reading should be between 25 and 0 for a good run on the Buffalo below Ponca. It also corresponds reasonably well to many other runs in the area (see the Rivers List).
Kerry Moore and company can give you readings on the Big Piney Cr. that are more up to date than the Corps. His scale generally runs from 2.5 to 6.0 ft and is very close to the Corps reading. Kerry also rents canoes and rafts and provides shuttles for the Piney runs.
Turner's Bend can give you the latest observations of the upper Mulberry R. They use aproximately the same 2.0 to 5.0 ft scale as the Corps.
Since the Corps' Lee Cr. gauge is located several miles down from the whitewater runs, the rangers at Devil's Den may be able to give you a better idea of the creek's condition. They will usually just indicate how much water is flowing over the dam (i.e. none, a little, a lot, or a ton). There should be a lot of water over the dam for a good run on Lee.
This is the only guy who can give you an idea of the level of the Cadron Cr. (a class II run north of Conway). He rents canoes on the Cadron, too.
Talk to Ernie to find out if the play wave at Trigger Gap is surfable or not.
The proprietor of the store at Alber Pike can give you an estimate of the level of the Little Missouri R. He's fairly knowledgable about the river and will give you either a "go" or "no-go" depending on whether there's enough water or not.
Sometimes Frank Barton and Co. have information on river levels, especially the Cossatot. The call is free so it's worth a shot.
The paddlers that work here usually know what's up around the Northwest Arkansas area.