April 15th is the date in Montana where we transition from measuring snow to rain for our precipitation, so it's a good time to look at the current SWE (Snow Water Equivalent), in our watersheds ...More
April 15th is the date in Montana where we transition from measuring snow to rain for our precipitation, so it's a good time to look at the current SWE (Snow Water Equivalent), in our watersheds and try to forecast what's to come in the next 3 months. We'll still get some high elevation snow in the next month (6 inches at Big Sky yesterday for lucky late season skiers!), but most of our precipitation will be in the form of rain from here on out. April, May and June are by far the three wettest months of our year in Montana, so we can expect some soggy days ahead, and we'll need them to make that solid snowpack pay off in late summer.
Aside from the Smith/Judith/Musselshell basin, we look to be in pretty great shape this year; 89-119% snowpack across western and central Montana is excellent and as long as we get near average rainfall and no early onset extreme heat we should be sitting pretty this season. We paid for it this winter with 2+ months of bitterly cold temperatures and way above average snowfall.
What does this mean for specific watersheds? Well, that is a bit harder to forecast. Some rivers like the Big Horn and Blackfoot are already running high. Most others are about average to a bit above and are fishing well for spring conditions. They are also providing excellent spawning conditions for our rainbow trout reproduction period, which bodes well for the long term health of our wild trout populations and fisheries.
We should expect a solid run-off period for all of our freestone rivers (Yellowstone, Gallatin, Clark Fork, etc.), and the potential for more intense but shorter releases on our tailwater rivers (Missouri and Bighorn).
If you like to fish lower/cleaner water and/or dryflies then the next month is an important window of opportunity for you. Midge, baetis and skwalla hatches are underway on many waters and the fishing is solid to fantastic. There will be a period of time around mid-May to mid/late-June where lots of our rivers should be in some state of run-off, so options will be more limited and you'll have to choose wisely for productive fishing.
There are no guarantees when it comes to water and weather, but as of today we like the layout of things to come and we hope for a nice 'average' year from here on out.
You’re intently studying the river and feeding a few sipping trout in a foamy seam along the bank of The Missouri River. Your focus is sharp, the excitement level is high, and the beauty of your ...More
You’re intently studying the river and feeding a few sipping trout in a foamy seam along the bank of The Missouri River. Your focus is sharp, the excitement level is high, and the beauty of your surroundings overwhelms the senses; everything unimportant to the moment fades into the background. Suddenly, a golden eagle flies overhead casting a shadow over the lazily rising brown trout you’re attentively examining. For its own safety, the trout instinctually stops rising. The eagle put it down, at least for the moment.
While awaiting the brown to resume its feeding rhythm you take a quick glance toward your watch, the short hand is approaching the 5 and the long one is aiming somewhere toward the bottom. Inevitably you’re late, again. Dinner at home is supposed to be served promptly at five and there is no way you’ll make it there in time, your wife is going to be furious. You’re already dreading the phone call where you have to explain, once again, how you have succumbed to the phenomenon known as river time.
For many of us, river time is a commonality of life. When we say we will be home at five it really means seven, or eight if the fish are rising. No matter how hard we try, time just seems to get lost when we are out on the river. There is just something about the sound of moving water, the beauty of places we fish, and the motion of casing a fly that transports the mind into another universe. Anyone who spends time on the river is probably already familiar with this feeling; for those who have yet to experience this phenomenon read below, your time will come.
River Time: [riv-er /tīm/] n.; pl. 1. the indefinite progress of losing existence with the normal timeframes people keep using a clock; typically taking place on a river when fly fishing is involved. 2. a point in time that can not be measured using hours and minutes.
Good news, fish-heads - with forecasted temperatures approaching 70 degrees tomorrow it should be a nice spring day to get out on the water. The bad news is you'll have to be choosy about the ...More
Good news, fish-heads - with forecasted temperatures approaching 70 degrees tomorrow it should be a nice spring day to get out on the water. The bad news is you'll have to be choosy about the water you sample because low level snow melt has brought a few of our favorite rivers up enough to make them at least questionable if not unfishable.
The Missouri River is clear and temps are on the rise - 38.5 degrees! Slow swing, nymph it deep or look for midge sipping noses. The Madison River is stable and already at 40 degrees - should be good. The Bighorn is running big but will fish well for you under a real big bobber.
The Yellowstone, Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers are high and variable, heading in the wrong direction for weekend fishing opportunities.
Most importantly, renew your fishing license and get yourself outside on a gorgeous day to knock the cobwebs off your cast. If you want to get serious give us a call and we'll set you up on a Spring Speical trip with a top-shelf MFO guide.
We'll see you on the water!