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Old 03-21-2011, 10:40 AM
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Default Montana River's spring runoff dates

I remember from the last few years on this forum that people are going to be at least 30 topics asking about spring runoff.

It is impossible to predict this far out, but so far the snowpack in the mountains this year is very similar to the snowpack last year.


Here are the dates, and the links that show last years spring runoff numbers

Rock Creek
USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Spring runoff lasts from middle of may to early july - In a different thread Dean_MT stated that people float fish Rock creek during runoff, but he also said wade fishing is next to impossible during this time.

Bighole river
USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Spring runoff lasts from late may to the second week of July

Gallatin River
USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Spring runoff lasts from late may to the second week of July - The river is almost always fishable in the short stretch above Taylors fork. The canyon section is fishable during runoff, but fishing the lower gallatin during spring runoff can be frustrating.

East Gallatin River
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/dvsta...selection_list

Spring Runoff lasts from late march through middle of July. This river is extremely difficult to fish during runoff, and has an extremely long runoff period. There are much better springtime options.

Yellowstone River

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Runoff lasts from middle of may well into July, the river is fishable in july runoff, but people die on the yellowstone. Pretty much expert rowers only until august.

Madison River(upper)
USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Runoff is only the middle of June, this is my goto spring fishery.

Madison River(lower)

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Runoff is all of June, however beartrap canyon is still easily fishable when flows are below 3000cfs.

Bighorn River

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Runoff is from late May to early July

Beaverhead

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Runoff is from early June to early August.

Stillwater river

USGS Surface Water data for USA: USGS Surface-Water Daily Statistics

Runoff is late May to early August



These are last years numbers, just because a river was in runoff last year at a certain time does not mean it is going to be in runoff this year. A week of 90 degree weather in mid may and all these dates can be moved up by a few weeks.

Last edited by MTskibum; 04-03-2011 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:06 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

Montana Ski Bum,

Great resource you took the time to tabulate and put out here. I'm hoping one of the Administrators or Moderators will make it a "Sticky", since I see it being used every year and, as you say, there are a bunch of inquiries on this every year.
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Last edited by Fly2Fish; 03-21-2011 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

Yeah, nice work Skibum. I love the USGS tables, that was a bit of work pulling all those together, thanks.

I just glanced at the Rock Creek chart - it doubled in four days in mid May. And not just doubled but went from a high but very fishable 535 to lethal 1060! In four days! That is amazing. And as with the Yellowstone, this is for experts with familiarity of the river, only. A guide not familiar with the upper channels took the wrong one last year and died.

It's gonna be another blowout this year, now it's just a matter of when....
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

Good call on the creek man, last year run off coincided with the salmon fly hatch.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

I was in West Yellowstone and Island Park (ID) yesterday... They have so much snow up there, I was surprised.

Down here (Bozeman) - all the snow in my yard was gone (then got a little last night), up there.. cars were buried. As soon as you get to about 5,500 - 6,000 feet - it's definitely still winter.
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Old 04-03-2011, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

MTskibum: I have to agree with the others, very nice work!

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Old 04-03-2011, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

Thanks MTskibum! This is a very helpful resource.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Montana River's spring runoff dates

Skibum

Nice timely and useful post!!! Nice of you to put that together for everybody!!
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