Sunday, June 20, 2010

A River Runs Over it......

Apparently every fly fishing blogger eventually borrows Norman Maclean's famous prose and butchers it for a title; so I thought I'd lower the bar to its lowest level, allowing future writers to feel comfortable raising it from there...


...It appears we're still at “peak runoff” in this part of the state and the breaches of shoreline and bridges have been pretty impressive for someone not used to such things.

(local bridge out, due to flooding on West Gallatin River)

..less than a mile from my home.

Down on the Bighorn there were significant changes for sure during this time of year (up to 12,000cfs was peak), but I began to notice there was a lot of politics and human-error involved in those high flows; and it wasn’t so much the annual runoff that was to blame for the devastation, as much as the Bureau of Reclamation and the idiots running the Dam?!

(Example 1: at very low flows; when they should have been a consistant 3,000...)

Now Imagine the river jacked up to 12,000cfs within one week and hundreds of pissed-off anglers and guides having to take 'two 13 mile floats in a day'..and nowhere to stop and wade..?!

"Those mother #$@*"'s!? (was a common saying; directed at BUREC at the time)after guides got off the river.


Then things got worse....

(Example 2 : ....BUREC would drop it back down to 2,000cfs within 24 hours...)

..You get the picture now, litterally.

And I'm glad that madness is all behind me.


Now after moving to Bozeman though, with Freestone Rivers locally, and no one at the controls but the Man himself; all bets are off on what the flow will be from one day to the next (we used to wager on such things back in Fort Smith)?

But as I mentioned in an earlier post:“I no longer give a damn!!”

Now when I see this white-capping brown water cresting, and swamping these rich %#@*’s who built trophy homes inside the flood plain, along with fishing and guide-trips being negatively affected, I now care little as I’m not working at a fly shop.


Speaking of the Bighorn and fly shops, I did chat with my old coworker Ryan down there two days ago and he gave me an update on the river conditions; and what was happening on the REZ. It appears they’re experiencing 9,000cfs flows, but not as bad as years past when things were much worse. It does though sound like there aren’t as many trips being booked as, besides the economy, ‘word has spread on that issue’, thanks to the last two years of mismanagement on Bureau of Recs. watch; and most folks’ wisely preferring to visit afterward.

“Good for the anglers, bad for the guides though”…? (and there’s a few of those I kinda miss too).

For those poor saps who do go during this time, having not doen their research, they're limited on 'how they can fish' and it resembles spinning-rod tactics, more that fly; as the guides incorporate the: "chuck and duck" method with two san juan worms and a bell sinker on the bottom?

Based on Ryan’s comments it sounds like that part of the state is getting as much rain as we are, so this is great news since this last Winters’ snow-pack was only about 50-60% in certain parts and considered “way below normal”.

Apparently, and again I’m kinda green on things like this, when snow-pack’s low and Spring doesn’t bring the showers it should; the flows during that latter and peak times of the summer can be dramatically affected and in some cases there are even "river closures" in my part of the state?

This year though I can’t imagine that would happen as we’ve had torrential downpours daily and I’ve heard reports Yellowstone NP is getting them as well.

What all this means, or so I understand it is this Summer 'should bring great hatches if flows remain strong', thus fly fishing should be great as well?!

...It also means while Montana had set aside 40 Million for the anticipated "hopper infestation", the rains have delayed and hopefully diminished this threat somewhat; not just for the fly-fishing (which we'll still see plenty I'm sure this Summer), but my care is for the cover and birds and big game too; since I like to take advantage of all the state offers.

While I kid I ‘don’t care’, I would like to experience some of these historically amazing hatches along with incredible days fly fishing I’ve heard and read so much about.


NOTE: It’s ‘possible’ I have something on the horizon as far as employment, but not wanting to jinx it; I better hold off..?

Still, whether I ever get a wage that pays for ‘everything and then some’; rest assured I’ll be doing more than my fair share of fly fishing this coming Summer (no doubt). It’s in my genetic makeup it seems, to forget about important items like work, payments, and responsibilities. All further proof my Mom screwed the mailman or I’m adopted and they never told me so; cause my Dad has none of these?


While I originally thought my ranching-neighbors were water-hogs and felt bad about a few instances of my own, when ‘draining the West Gallatin’, I now realize this time of year it’s okay to take what’s coming from upstream without conscience and utilize it as settlers did way back when. As there’s more than enough to go around, and I don’t think I’ve EVER lived anywhere where it rained quite so much; nor have I ever enjoyed seeing it as such?

You see I’m a bit of a manic depressive sort. If it rained in New York or LA or on a beach, or even in Georgia plantation; my mind would instinctively get bummed.

I can’t explain it, but rain always made me feel like shit, even after I planted a food plot; I always felt as dreary as the weather (and most times worse)?

..But there’s something about Montana that makes even the lightning storms pretty, the high-winds rustling the trees, and even the rivers overflowing their banks too; ...there’s just something ‘different’ about it is all….?!

I think it has something to do with the next day always seeming brighter or better, or that it’ll finally clear; and when it does I’ll still be in Montana; the place I always dreamed I’d live…