It’s here now! The Hydrologic Cycle has done its job. Plenty of moisture is in our Montana Ecosystem. Here in Bozeman, we had over 148 inches of snow. Many places throughout Montana have had high levels of snow that is now waiting to melt.
As our regular temperatures rise and stay above freezing, the snow back will start flowing into our watersheds. Some will absorb into the soil, but most will end up in the creeks, streams, and rivers. Lakes will fill, and our water supply should be healthy.
Heavy snowpack’s are not a bad thing. Our late summer water flows will be healthy and lead to excellent late summer and fall fishing and boating. Fire season will be shorter. There will be plenty of grass for critters and irrigation water. For now, the melt off is a concern. Some roads and campgrounds will remain closed. Higher altitude roads will be muddy and impassable. Creating deep ruts in these areas ruins road use later. Some flooding and debris blowouts are also possible.
Gradual increases in temperatures will create a gradual, but longer runoff. A spike in temperatures will promote fast and sharp increases in flows. The water released is also colder. How the flows will go is a guess. Nature will do what it does.
Best case scenario is great fishing in mid-June. Worst case scenario is normal, clear flows at the end of July. Either way, fishing in late summer and fall will be great.
As far as fishing goes, find areas that have a dam release. Flows may be higher, but the water will be clearer. Headwaters will be fishable first. Small headwaters may be the way to go. Side channels and edges will have less visibility, but a fish must eat. These areas will have enough visibility and tend to concentrate the fish.
Welcome to Montana!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.