Snowpack Now, Fish Later

In the Rockies, if you don’t love winter you better have a real good alternate plan. Like maybe heading to Hondouras for a while. But it doesn’t take a John Denver triple play to know that winter in the rockies can be long and hard if you don’t plan on taking part in it, and while year-round anglers might be cursing the snow for ruining their weekend fishing plans, they aren’t complaining too loud. Winter snowpack is the lifeblood of our rivers, and this winter we are adding some serious plasma. Ski areas are rejoicing, and you don’t have to look hard to see a smiling fishing guide in the lift line right about now.

These mountains are holding next year’s water.
Photo by Zach Orth.

In western Montana snowpack is above averages across the board, and there is still a good chunk of winter left. Like many areas of the country, March is western Montana’s biggest snow month historically. Take heart, those of you slinging a shovel instead of a Sage: that white stuff you’re cursing now will mean steady water and good flows later into the season.
If you haven’t learned to love snowpack, you just have to fish through a few summers with fishing restrictions and early takeouts to get a real appreciation for the white stuff. The rivers are happy and getting happier, and so should you. 2014 is shaping up to be a heck of a time to be tossing bugs on the Blackfoot. Now, if only big snowstorms had an effect on the dreaded Whittaker bridge tube hatch…


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