The Beaverhead River, near Dillon, is busted. The low water flow has come at the worst time. Currently the flow, which is released from the Clark Canyon Dam, is 25 CFS. That is the lowest legally allowed limit.
Clark Canyon Reservoir is at 58% capacity. The Centennial Mountains watershed, that fill it, have seen a dramatic drought cycle. These cycles usually last 4-6 years. This is year #2.
The Beaverhead is noted for having huge Brown Trout. Sadly, big, and older trout will be at most risk. The low flows will continue all winter. Less water will also impact spawning. Many potential spawning gravels are currently high and dry.
Drought conditions are blamed on Climate Change and less water. A healthy flow, for the Beaverhead, would be 200 CFS. Those conditions will not exist any time soon.
Maybe it’s just me, and a basic observation, but the agriculture in the area looked profitable, and healthy, due to irrigation. Farmers need to be successful to, but it would be nice if they liked to fish as well.
So many of Montana’s Blue Ribbon trout waters are no longer in first place. Low water, overcrowding, disease, predators like Pelicans, and so many other issues are a concern. If the water is present and cool, the fish can do the rest.