From Canyon Ferry to Fort Peck: Captain’s Column (5.8.14)
By angelamontana

Posted: May 8, 2014

The Bureau of Reclamation is anticipating a strong spring run-off at Canyon Ferry Reservoir this year. They normally will draw the lake down in the spring accommodate for the water coming in from the Missouri River but this year it seems that they might have Canyon Ferry a little lower than normal. The snowpack is well over 100 percent of normal and because Canyon Ferry is essential a holding reservoir its water elevation fluctuates more than say Hauser and Holter Reservoirs which sit below it on the Missouri. The low water has some anglers frustrated because it makes it tougher to launch a boat in Canyon Ferry. As of Monday the water elevation was below the recommended minimum launch level on all of the boat ramps with the exception of the ramp at Yacht Basin on the north end of the lake. “We have been assured this is a short term deal, “said Sharon of the Silos RV Park. You can also call Sharon at 406-266-3100 for daily updates on the boat ramps on the south end of the lake. The reservoir water level only has to go up a couple of feet for the Silos North boat ramp to be above minimum launch. You may also check out the boat ramp information on the Bureau of Reclamation web site by logging onto and clicking on Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

The annual Canyon Ferry Spring Spawning survey wrapped up last week, and this is what Adam Strainer had to report from FWP, “Optimal surface water temperatures over the past week brought in a number of large female walleye during the 2014 spring spawning survey on Canyon Ferry Reservoir.  Eight ripe or spawned out females, larger than 28-inches, have graced our trap nets since the last update and the number of walleye captured, tagged and released increased to more than 600 total .  The largest walleye captured to date was a 31.7-inch, 15.0-pound ripe female and numerous other spawning aged females, greater than 20-inches, were also captured. However, due to lack of males and the number of spawned out females being captured, FWP crews will likely conclude the 2014 spawning survey later during the week of April 28th”. Trout, Perch, and Walleyes weren’t the only species capture during FWP.s nets this year. “Two more northern pike were sampled since the last update, bringing the spring total up to five.  The largest of the most recent pike captured was a 46.5-inch, 30.04-pound giant.  Over 1,600 rainbow trout have now been released from traps, as well as hundreds of other fish”.

Downstream from Canyon Ferry, on the Missouri River, the water elevation on Fort Peck Reservoir is projected to be very good this summer, according to John Daggett from U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, “This morning (Monday May 5th), our lake elevation is 2226.0 All boat access points on Fort Peck will be useable this year including Crooked Creek. The bottom of Crooked Creek Boat Ramp is 2225.0  Crooked Creek Boat Ramp should be useable later this month with the elevation predicted to get to 2230.2. In April our basic forecast also shows the lake getting to 2238.3 by the end of July.  Our basic forecast assumes normal precipitation”. Full pool of the 134 miles reservoir is 2250.0

(Written by the Captain)