I thought the meeting went fairly well. It is a matter of educating boaters on the amount of flexibility and the difficulties in estimating late runoff inflow into the reservoir, which directly impacts downstream releases when it's full.
Water districts are very conservative when it comes to water supply for their customers. On top of that, once in the early 2000's the reservoir didn't fill when water was released for downstream boatable flows. This occurred going into a series of drought years, which caused shortages for water customers and a long time to recover the reservoir storage (remember the years in a row of no boatable flows?). This is still very fresh in the minds of the District, so every effort is made to make sure the reservoir fills before considering recreational or downstream releases.
However, the reservoir can only store so much, so any inflow that is greater than the storage available will be released downstream. The operators allow for downstream releases to begin prior to filling the reservoir completely, in order to smooth out the release, but the backside of the release hydrograph is very tricky. When the SNOTEL stations are all melted out, there is still some inflow expected, but there is not a good way to quantify that amount. During this time, the forecasters are running blind, and it is very difficult to estimate the remaining inflow. This is when the operators will be on the conservative side and ramp down in case the remaining inflow is very little. In most years, there is usually more inflow, and that is why you see the back end fluctuations in releases.
I believe there are some ways that the reservoir operations can be tightened up to some extent with some new forecasting and reservoir operating tools, but don't expect a perfect pre-defined schedule of boatable flows, mother nature is too variable for that. Also remember that a full reservoir is good news for boaters and farmers alike.