I head out this afternoon for the annual fishing trip in Montana. Historically we have gone either in March or in late May. The past few years it has been cold, wet, painful, but good fishing. This year we made the decision to give July a try. The only main concern with July is river flows. We had been once before in late June and experienced record-breaking flows of 15,000+cfs, which resulted in missed boat ramps, people falling in the river, and many fewer fish caught especially by the less experienced anglers.
We've been watching the river flows for a while now and I was really surprised back in June that the flows were WAY below historical norms, exactly when I would expect them to be going up. It gave me some mild concerns and seeing the trend in flow now verifies my concern. Flows have more than doubled in the past couple weeks and are now up to 7000cfs.
At this level I'm not too concerned. We've fished it successfully in the 6000cfs range before. The trend, however, is a bit worrying. Will it stop at 7000cfs?? Or in the next couple days is it going to jump to 10,000+cfs?? If it does we're going to be in some trouble. We can still catch some fish, but after the year with record breaking flows all the fly shops added a disclaimer to their boat rentals stating that they won't rent boats above 10,000cfs.
I sure hope the flow stabilizes or moves slightly in the other direction. If not, the next week may be less full of fishing and more full of swimming and world up soccer watching. Let's hope it's all fishing, and lights out fishing to boot.