Apparently, Old Man Winter is clinging on to it’s final few weeks with an icy grip. Over the weekend Mammoth and Cooke City reported several feet of snow. This photo was taken yesterday in Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park, which is located on the Grand Canyon Loop a few miles north of Yellowstone Lake. WOW! That’s over 20 feet of snow along the roadside – crazy.
Our current snowpack in the Upper Yellowstone drainage is 162% of normal – those are similar numbers to 1997 when the Yellowstone River had a 100 year flood event (see flood photo). While it’s difficult to forecast, the weather National Weather Service has predicted a cooler and wetter June than average (see Forecast).
What does this mean for fly fishers coming to Montana this summer? First, off the best time to come, fishing is whenever you can – this isn’t a gloom and doom post. However, this summer plan for some high water and preferably push your fishing dates until at least until mid/late July – unless you’ve already planned your trip on the Missouri River or any of the private spring creeks of Armstrong, DePuy or Nelson. Missouri is a tailwater (dam controlled flows) and still fishes quite well at higher water levels. The spring creeks are not affected by heavy snowmelt as they are feed from groundwater springs. As one of our seasoned guides always likes to say, “full rivers fish best”. Those of you coming in August and September could see some fantastic fishing this season. Another bonus is the low probability of forest fires this season
if you want to look at the bright side of things.
If you have any questions or concerns about water levels and conditions make sure to give us a shout and we’ll get you the latest updated info.