The end of this year’s Winter has been a bit lacking, in terms of water. As we enter another drought season, the prime watersheds are about 25% below yearly averages. The mountain snow is beginning to melt early, and precipitation has been limited. We are also above average temperatures. ￼
This may mean a nice Spring, but the summer fishing could be an issue. We can certainly place blame on La/El Nino’s or climate change but, we will need to see. As usual, fishing could be a challenge this summer, not to mention forest fires.
The worst scenario is for an early runoff, Hoot Owl restrictions, algal blooms, fish kills, and dewatering for agriculture. None of these are good for trout.
I also remember a season in the early 2000’s when we had a similar winter. There were just a few weeks of freezing cold and snow was light and inconsistent. What happened in May was the beginning of a precipitation pattern that held through the summer. I was guiding then and needed to carry rain gear every trip. It seemed like we had rain or light snow twice a week. The waters stayed up, the fish stayed wet, and everyone was happy. I almost never needed my sprinkler system to water the lawn.
With some luck, maybe we are in line for this type of weather cycle. The truth is that weathermen never predict perfectly. It will be what it will be.
If Montana waters do dry up, maybe consider fishing reservoirs and lakes. The lower Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers also hold lots of warm water species.
Pray for rain!