A little April snow is a great thing for Montana snowpack

A little April snow is a great thing for Montana snowpack

It is cold out there and windy, but a little snow now will help keep us fishing in the dryer summer months. We are doing the happy snow dance.

ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/data/water/wcs/gis/maps/mt_swepctnormal_update.pdf
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MONTANA SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent Update Feb 2013

MONTANA SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent Update Feb 2013

Snow pack in the Bitterroot is 82% of normal as of today, Feb 25, 2013. Right now, a winter snow storm just blew in and there is a white-out outside my office window. That is GREAT news!
Here are the tables showing the data. See the links below the photos for the NRCS site.

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/cgibin/snowup-graph.pl?state=MT
 
ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/data/water/wcs/gis/maps/mt_swepctnormal_update.pdf

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Bitterroot River levels in June 2012

Bitterroot River levels in June 2012

The river is big and fairly fast, but also pretty clear and fishing. Watch out for new hazards such as down Cottonwood trees. Below the charts is a slideshow of photos from the middle Bitterroot on June 11.

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May 16 Bitterroot 2nd runoff pulse

May 16 Bitterroot 2nd runoff pulse

Bitterroot air temperatures have been in the high 80’s for the last three days and the snow melt is increasing the river flows. The air temperatures are supposed to drop in the next few days and rain is predicted next week. This will be interesting.

Here are some photos at Victor Crossing taken the afternoon of May 16.
Victor Crossing is about 5 miles upriver from the USGS water data gauge
at Bell Crossing and about 40 road miles down river (north) of the USGS
water data gauge at Darby. Below are photos of the river at Victor
Bridge, the charts for both gauges, and a snow pack map.

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May 10 on the Bitterroot River – flows are stepping up

May 10 on the Bitterroot River – flows are stepping up

The Bitterroot had clarity on May 7 and still on May 8 – also terrific caddis hatches! But now the weather has been much warmer and the flows are stepping up. See the charts below.

Bitterroot River on May 7 north of Angler’s Roost
Darby gauge station is upriver from Angler’s Roost – on May 7 flows at Darby were about 1900 CFS
Bell Crossing gauge station is downriver from Angler’s Roost. On May 7 flows were about 3,000 CFS
Still snow in the mountains!!! Bitterroot is 89 % of normal.

Links to snowpack and USGS river flow gauge stations are in the right side bar.

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2012 spring runoff has begun in Bitterroot River late April

2012 spring runoff has begun in Bitterroot River late April

Air temperatures were in the 70 degree range beginning about April 20. These photos were taken April 24. Look at the graphs and you can see how the rivers have been rising. The last two days the Bitterroot Valley air temperatures have been over 80 degrees. These photos were taken when Bell Crossing flows were at about 4,700 cubic feet per second (cfs) – 2 pm. Right now it is 6:30 pm and the flows at Bell Crossing are at 5,480 cfs. That is a big jump. The gauge downriver (north) near Missoula measured 8,190 cfs at 8:45 am and now at 6:30 pm it is measuring 9,280 cfs – closing in on 10,000 cfs!!!
The snowpack in the Bitterroot River Basin earlier this month was over 100%. Today it is 89%.
The photos are all taken from Bell Crossing starting upriver looking southwest and rotating counter-clockwise to the east, then south, finally southwest into the parking lot. As I was there, a LOT of large woody debris was moving down the river.

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