Water Worries

As far as fly anglers are concerned, this spring has been one for the books. Monster hatches of bugs and an extremely mild runoff mean more time on the water and long stretches of dry fly fishing on the rivers. We really shouldn’t complain, and few are. Sure, the windows of great fishing have been mostly mid-week, leaving the weekend warrior with less of the great days. But even the good days have been gooder than usual for spring in western Montana. Montana anglers have been happy to throw the dries, and finding fish in places we usually can’t fish until later in the season. Things are good. Though that sentiment might be changing, as late spring wanes into early summer, the flip side of the easy runoff coin seems to be turning up a lot more. Low water year. Three words no one in western Montana likes to hear.

A skwala visits with us on the lower Blackfoot in May. The bugs aren’t just coming in droves,
they’re staying around for a while. Lets hope the water does the same. 

One of Montana’s best columnists, George Ochenski, has taken to the pages of the state’s broadsheets with a column that outlines the concerns that might arise if we continue to see dry days in the state, and it’s worth a read if you’re interested in a quick primer on some of the issues that effect water usage in the west, most notably the clash between big irrigation and what has long been seen as small sportsman. That view might be changing, with Montana outdoor outfitters bringing more than $6 billion into the state last year, it seems that the concerns of our rivers and anglers could have more weight in the decisions that are made in a low water year. Read the article in the Missoulian, and smile next time it rains on your parade.

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