Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Southwest Montana mountain lake notes for June 7, 2017

  • Current ice-out level: I don't think it's crazy to think that you could get to about 8,500 feet in the mountains around Southwest Montana right now. Of course it depends on many factors and is always a crapshoot, but Liz and I easily got to 7,800 feet a week and a half ago. This is not actually too far ahead of what I guessed to be a "normal" schedule in the book, when I surmised that 8,500-foot lakes should start to be fishable around June 15. Let me know if you go!
  • Grizzly bear trapping to begin in the Madison and Gravelly Ranges soon. Signs will be posted at all access points - be sure to check out the trailhead kiosk before you embark as they bait the traps which will attract bears. Unless you're a cooler cucumber than I am, you might want to find a different hike or lake if they're trapping bears.
  • Snowpack levels have PLUMMETED.  About a week ago, all of southwest Montana was over 100 percent and things felt promising. I'm starting to expect hoot-owl restrictions on the Big Hole, Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, Smith, Bitterroot, Clark Fork and upper Missouri rivers again this year.
  • My book should be in-house and ready to ship on Monday, June 12. There is still plenty of brown water to fill the rivers and lots of prime time at alpine lakes.