The weather in Montana changes every 15 minutes. A I write this article, it is snowing! After a drought, fire season, and low watersheds, it is about time.
Most of Montana’s moisture comes from snow. Back in the early 2000’s, I remember a year when we had snow almost every month but no rain in Gallatin County. Finally, in October, it rained. I stood in the street to feel it on my face.
Snow means cooler temperature and less evaporation. Homeowners that water their lawns during the dry times loose most of the water to evaporation. Therefore, they are requested to set their sprinklers for nocturnal applications. This gives the moisture a chance to absorb into the earth. Two half cycles each night also helps.
The snowpack that you see in our 10,000-foot peaks takes about 100 years to soak in and percolate into our groundwater. Well water is Old Water. The rest flows down into the tributaries of our watersheds. Each Spring our runoffs last a few weeks of high-water episodes.
Snow is great for the lawns. Many lawn farmers fertilize their grass during the first snow. They can see where the fertilizer lands for perfect coverage. The grass and topsoil get a good soak and the fertilizer dissolves more quickly.
Hunters love the first snow. Tracking and spotting critters becomes easier. This also sets Fall migrations into motion. Big Game tends to migrate from the high places to the lowlands.
Trout waters have been pounded all summer long. Few fishermen are cold weather warriors, so snow signals less fishing pressure. These waters are also low since farmers have sucked out every legal drop, they could to water their fields. Now the cooler snow melt and moisture can refill our low waters.
For the skiers, ice fishermen, and snowmobilers, the Winter White means playtime. Sleds, skis, and augers are getting pulled out of the sheds and getting readied for the upcoming snow fun.
In Montana, there is a season for everyone.
For more Montana Grant, find him shoveling at www.montanagrantfishing.com.