Friday, July 6, 2012

Drought? What drought?

We're T-2 weeks until I depart for Northwestern Montana for a week of fishing with customers. You may recall that I hosted a similar trip last year, one which featured many highlights including my first [2] ever bull trout on the Kootenai River. Well I'm confident we've got another great trip to look forward to, but we know one thing for sure; we won't be having any repeat performances on The Kootenai.

You see, while almost the entire country is experiencing record breaking heat, devastating drought and catastrophic wildfires, the Kootenai basin has been getting pounded by rain for nearly the entire month of June, to the tune of nearly 300% of average precipitation for the month. On top of a healthy snowpack all that water has Koocanusa reservoir, from which flows the tailwater section of the Kootenai, just inches from capacity pool. Meanwhile inflows from the upper Koot' and tributaries, which are dropping but still hovering around 60,000 CFS, are exceeding outflows from the dam which are currently steady at around 48,000 CFS [and no, I did not add an extra 0]. You can hash that math out if you like, but what it all boils down to is that my group and I won't be fishing the Kootenai in two weeks. For that matter, non one will be fishing it for a while, presumably until mid-August or later.

The silver lining is that a big water year like this - nay, an extraordinary water year - while putting the Koot' out of the picture, should mean healthy flows on the other area rivers, perhaps even providing some float opportunities on what would normally by late July be exclusively walk-wade fisheries. While I'm bummed about missing out on the Koot', I'm super excited to see some new water and scenery. As a bonus, upon returning for Montana on the 27th, I'm home for less than a week before jumping back in the cars and heading westward for the 2012 Dudewater Trout Crusade. Pouring over maps and potential routes last night, this one is shaping up to be even more epic than last years, and I promise to do my best job of documenting it to share with y'all. 

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