From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 6 - May 9, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online


The amount of water flowing across the old Fremont Lake dam fluctuates daily: Saturday morning there was 22 inches, that afternoon only 18, but on Tuesday 17 1/2 inches of water flowed over the dam.
How low can it go?

by Rhonda Swain

How low can it go

With the drought Sublette County has been suffering bringing the water level at Fremont Lake to an historic low, 14 concerned Fremont Lake water users met at the old Fremont Lake dam Saturday afternoon to discuss the drought and its effect on the water supply.

Jack Doyle and Paul Hagenstein both measured the amount of water flowing over the top of the old dam and compared notes. Hagenstein remarked that the 18 inches going over the dam is "the highest itís been since November;" itís also three inches more than were flowing over the structure earlier in the week, but also four inches less than during the morning hours Saturday.


Paul Hagenstein and Jack Doyle use a measuring tape on the stick Paul inserted into the water flowing across the top of the old dam to determine how much water is crossing the dam.

In an interview Tuesday, Hagenstein said that 17 1/2 inches were going over the dam on Tuesday morning.

The group, comprised of ranchers and members of the Pinedale Town Council, discussed the history of water storage in the lake, noting that the only years anyone can recollect the water being so low were 1963 and 1977.

Rod Rozier remarked that if the lake is "at an historic low now, if we drop it another foot or 18 inches, what happens? How much more beach will show up around the lake?"


The Pinedale waterline lurks just below the surface of Fremont Lake, resembling some giant sea monster or submarine.

They also discussed the fact that, if the channel is lowered and/or deepened, there would be 7,000 acre-feet of water available to them above the old dam.

After some discussion regarding widening and deepening the channel that flows over the old dam, several of the group wondered about the water level, because if the channel was deeper, more water would go out all the time.

Gary Wilson wondered if they should "shut the dam down and quit worrying about stock water and the golf course, and let the water in the lake built up for about 10 days" to get the level up.

With none of the ranchers irrigating yet, and only stock water being used, it was suggested that the situation isnít as critical as it could be and in the end, the group decided that, with high water still in the future and more moisture on the horizon, they would do nothing at this time. They did advise Doyle to have the project surveyed and look into the permitting process and costs, with an eye on having these details taken care of in the event that the drought continues and they need to do the dredging this fall.

Photos by:  Rhonda Swain

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