The calendars below describe the "boating releases" tentatively scheduled for the Tuckasegee River below Tuckasegee & Cedar Cliff Powerhouses in 2012. Note that by passing your cursor over the colored calendar cells the release information will appear in a pop-up text window. Unscheduled releases occur year round. For the current three-day release schedule, consult the Duke Energy's Tuckasegee Generation Page.
The Tuckasegee release schedule is complicated. Three bits of information are key. First, boating releases are timed to arrive at the Tuckasegee Gorge put-in in Dillsboro between 10:30-11am. They generally last 4-5 hours. Second, releases are made from either the Tuckasegee Powerhouse on the West Fork of the Tuck or the Cedar Cliff Powerhouse on the East Fork of the Tuck. West Fork releases average 200 cfs; East Fork releases average 500 cfs. Most non-commercial boaters prefer the higher East Fork releases. Note that the flow at Dillsboro can be considerably higher than the release level due to the contributions of feeder streams. Third, while unscheduled releases occur year round, Duke Energy accomodates wade fishing by avoiding daytime releases the entire month of April and those days of the months of May, September and October without scheduled releases.
The timing of the releases is tricky. The two powerhouses are located 11 and 22 miles upstream of Dillsboro, and the time required for the releases to make their way down river is affected by the amount of natural flow. Duke Energy works with the Dillsboro River Company (the outfitter across the river from the put-in), to time the start of the releases, but the science is not exact. In addition, there are several popular alternate put-ins, including the Eternity and Devil's Dip park and play spots. Eternity is only in play when the East Fork is releasing. The water takes about 20 minutes to reach it. Devil's Dip is located just upstream of Bryson City, about 35 miles downstream; the water takes about 13 hours to reach Bryson City. Duke Power attempts to time the anticipated arrival and departure ("recession") of the releases at their Tuckasegee Downstream Flow Page.
The most common put-in for the Tuckasegee Gorge is the public access point between the river and the Dillsboro train station. The most common take-out is on river right at the bridge just upstream of Tuckasegee Outfitters. Don't linger in the loading area at the take-out; park instead in the lot downstream of the Tuckasegee Outfitters's office/store. Park in the spots farthest from the store so that paying guests can use the prime spots. Also, bear in mind that the gravel road in front of the store is one way in the downstream direction -- this means that to drive back to the loading area one must get back on the highway. A quick "hello" and "thanks" to the folks in the store is always appreciated; my daughters and I invariably purchase popsicles or candy bars.
2012 Tuckasegee & Cedar Cliff Powerhouses Boating Release Schedule
200 cfs500 cfs
200 cfs500 cfs