WW: Sorry this took so long. Forgot to ask my co-paddler to bring our river records down to the city with him that weekend. But I was up at his place over the holiday and we actually canoed the West Branch on Saturday, putting in a little north of where you plan to start, just above the dam at Irvin Park -- closest gauge to the section we did was Hyde (where 879 crosses) and it was at 1000 cfm and 4.5 feet.
i checked the log and the past dry summer it was running between 3 and 3.75 feet most of our trips in that area. At 3' it was low and slow (scraped bottom gravel on a few areas). At 4.5 it is nice, with reasonable flow and deep enough tongues to shoot over the small drops ahead of some of the bridges without scraping. We even paddled a little ways up Anderson Creek and it looked like it would have been a fun whitwater run down that (though not in what we were paddling that day, a Mad River Adventure 16).
Water temp was around 45 Saturday so we were in full neoprene. Nice run -- had it to ourselves since everybody else was up at the race at Red Moshannon. Just us and some geese and a variety of wild ducks.
Due to the steady rain since Saturday night it is now up to 5.5' at Hyde. Rich just emailed me that the rain finally stopped about 1:00 pm.
I would advise you to just watch the gauge at Hyde:
I think 4.5' to 5' is a good level. Much above that and the low banks will be flooded, making takeout a hassle. Much below 4' and you start getting shallow spots and slack pools.
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