Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If You Don't Like The Weather...

There's a saying out here, "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes..." Turns out, they say that pretty much everywhere in the country when the weather is bad. Well, the weather was pretty bad for the past couple days or, pretty good depending on your perspective. Moisture is good this time of the year and like I said a couple months ago, it's hard to predict how much precipitation we're going to get in the springtime but we usually get some. I took this picture yesterday just south of town in the mountains.
So how has this helped snow pack? Apparently not much. I just looked at the snowpack report from SNOTEL and I'll be honest, I'm surprised. I figured we would be sitting pretty good but I'm seeing about 65-70% across the state. I think what's been happening is in between these spring storms, we're getting sun and 80 degrees. That knocks down the snow pretty quick and we must not be getting enough out of these storms to make up for it.
So let's take a little deeper look at this. Most of the streams feeding the Missouri Basin are where they normally are within reason. The Missouri itself is a little low below Holter Dam for this time of the year but that has a lot to do with how much snowpack there was a couple months ago and how much water was being held back to fill the reservoirs. What's flowing into Toston, upstream from the reservoirs, is above normal for this time of year by a couple thousand CFS. That means they are a little behind in filling them up, which seems a little weird since Canyon Ferry was at 96% at the end of March. What that also means is early run-off.
So with an early run-off what can you expect if you're planning a trip? Well, the positives are that the freestones across the state will start fishing sooner meaning the guides and other anglers will have a chance to spread out. The Missouri will most likely calm down a bit as folks head back to their home waters. That could be great for the dry fly fishing as a little less pressure never hurts.
Water levels on the Missouri should remain pretty consistent, which for some is good but for other's; we would like to get a bit of a flush. In the short-term, fishing should stay good. In the long-term, we like to flush the river because it usually means sediment get's blown out including some of the weeds and it seems to be better for the bugs later in the season. However, high water doesn't necessarily mean fewer weeds later on. In fact, it usually means the opposite. As for the bugs, fish still have to eat and with a little creativity, August can actually be pretty damn good even with a lower water.
As for the freestones and the rest of the state, it's really hard to say what's going to happen at this point in the game. An early run-off can mean low water late in the summer and temps coming up too quick. That can bring river closures, which usually means "hoot-owl" closures where you can fish up until either noon or 2pm and then take a boat ride. Of course all of this is predicated on what happens throughout the spring and we could easily get a lot more snow and a lot more precipitation. In fact, I'm looking out the window right now and I'm seeing snow in the mountains, which was not the case the last couple years. Don't panic!
Keep 'em where they live...

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