Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day in West Yellowstone

Some fellow fishermen pay their dues this morning.
I joined some friends to camp on Hebgen Lake last evening and woke to snow dumping on my camper. Didn't think too much of it - this happens at 6,667 feet. Fished Hebgen for a bit this morning (still not much for midge activity, and only a few risers - I caught nothing), and as the snow piled up, I decided I better get going down the gravel road while I still could. By the time I got to Big Sky (about half way home), I had driven through snow and slush the entire time. Glad I left when I did, because I got home to read this:
"A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5500 FEET REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT MONDAY NIGHT.
* TIMING AND MAIN IMPACT: SNOW... HEAVY AT TIMES... WILL CONTINUE IN THE MOUNTAINS THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR WILL BE POSSIBLE AT TIMES TONIGHT AND INTO EARLY MONDAY MORNING.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: TIME OF DAY AND SNOWFALL RATE WILL PLAY A LARGE ROLE IN SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS IN THIS LATE SEASON STORM. HOWEVER THE POTENTIAL EXISTS FOR 10 TO 15 INCHES OF NEW SNOW BY MONDAY EVENING FOR ELEVATIONS ABOVE 5500 FEET."

That said 10 to 15 inches! West Yellowstone had a good start, with about an inch by the time I left. Camping in snow is quickly becoming my Memorial Day traditional.
Runoff is really going to be an event this year. The Madison drainage is currently at 186 percent of average, and this storm might add a lot. And 186 percent is not nearly the highest snowpack for Montana right now. The Jefferson drainage is at 189, Missouri Headwaters is at 201 percent, the Gallatin drainage is at 215, the Sun, Teton and Marias basin is at 255, the Missouri Mainstem is at 290, and the Judith, Musselshell and Smith basin is at 321 percent of average for today. (see link here)
We're already seeing record flows - and not mere records, but flows many times the record over decades of gauging. And currently, we're adding more snowpack than we're melting. Few rivers will be the same after the deluge, and few fish will be skinny. 



Some additional photos of the weekend:

2 comments:

HighPlainsFlyFisher said...

The talk of snow seems kind of refreshing after waking up to a humid , hot morning here in the midwest. Weird weather this year for sure , those are some crazy snowpack numbers....Jeff

Trout Magee said...

Wow I don't know what I would do if we got 15 inches of snow here. Get the sled out I guess:)