Hebgen Dam failure ...11.30.2021

Nonno

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Not good!
Tailwater rivers are always susceptible to dam issues. They are artificial environments. Dams giveth and dams taketh.
Yeah, they create dependable environments for the fish, and good fisheries, but they always seem artificial somehow.
 

jzim

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A lot of the spawning season fry were probably wiped out.
 

fatbillybob

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A lot of the spawning season fry were probably wiped out.
wow...Is that confirmed? For those with boots on the ground what is the snow pack looking like? Lots of Cali ski resorts not open yet. Mammoth has very little snow about 1ft. The colo. and UT. resorts barely 2 ft. I skipped fishing freshwater last season to give the fish a break. This next season is not looking good. Big Sky has 8" base! This Hebgen thing just adds to the misery.
 

Nonno

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406 Fly Lines has posted some updates to face book on recovery efforts to relocate fish stranded in pools back to the river channel, but unfortunately nothing can be done for those redds that been left high and dry.
 

Longs for Cutts

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wow...Is that confirmed? For those with boots on the ground what is the snow pack looking like? Lots of Cali ski resorts not open yet. Mammoth has very little snow about 1ft. The colo. and UT. resorts barely 2 ft. I skipped fishing freshwater last season to give the fish a break. This next season is not looking good. Big Sky has 8" base! This Hebgen thing just adds to the misery.
There is functionally no snow below 8000 feet. Numerous record highs for the past month in Montana, including close to 70 a couple days ago in Livingston (previous record mid-50s). Flowers were blooming on SW facing slopes when I walked my dog this morning. It is supposed to cool off with snow over the next few days and NOAA long-range outlooks are calling for cold and wet. We desperately need it or there will be no fly fishing in Montana after mid-June next year.

Here is my take on the dam: https://flyfishmontana.biz/area-fishing-news/hebgen-dam-malfunction/
 

fatbillybob

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Wow! This is ugly! Thanks for the informative link. With the light snowpak it looks like another season of giving the fish a break. I wonder if guides this season saw any drop in fishing pressure or revenue drop? It seems that only "we committed" think about what is best for the resource.
 

DGS

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To those at/near this area, do you think that this event will...

1) result in massive pressure on nearby rivers?
2) keep folks away so that the pressure is "average" on the other area rivers?
3) other?

I am meeting with a buddy in a day or so and we were going to finalize our plans. Any info you can share would be helpful. Of course, we want to support the area, but we'd also like to have a great fishing experience too.
 

Longs for Cutts

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Wow! This is ugly! Thanks for the informative link. With the light snowpak it looks like another season of giving the fish a break. I wonder if guides this season saw any drop in fishing pressure or revenue drop? It seems that only "we committed" think about what is best for the resource.
It is too early to worry A LOT about snowpack. If it does get cool/wet as NOAA is now predicting for the remainder of the month and beyond, we could wind up with a 130% or greater snowpack as is common in La Nina years. If the upcoming weather is just a blip and it gets warm again, then we are in trouble for sure. January, March, and April are the biggest snow months in no particular order.

Fishing pressure was drastically higher last season than ever before. Endless boat parade on the Yellowstone and all roadside waters in YNP were a person every 25yds all season. I had a slight income drop because I deliberately limited myself to half-days for much of the season, but I turned away 200 potential trips. I had people asking me in grocery store parking lots (boat behind truck) if I could take them fishing that day.

An additional factor besides increased domestic outdoor tourism nationwide due to covid (which might drop slightly when overseas travel is safe/easy and museums and other "city" tourism destinations etc. are open with no mask requirements) is that Bozeman and the GYE in general are among the fastest-growing areas in the country. This was true even before the remote work boom made living away from big cities easier. One X-factor is that the Bozeman area is now about as expensive as Seattle, LA, San Fran, and New York, or getting close anyway. That might cut down on relocations or it might not. I had a client last summer who was out looking for houses to buy for his son who was a high school senior getting ready to attend college at Montana State. The median home price in Bozeman is now over $800,000 and he didn't bat an eye when I told him that. People who can drop cash on an $800,000 house can also drop cash on a drift boat.
 
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Longs for Cutts

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To those at/near this area, do you think that this event will...

1) result in massive pressure on nearby rivers?
2) keep folks away so that the pressure is "average" on the other area rivers?
3) other?

I am meeting with a buddy in a day or so and we were going to finalize our plans. Any info you can share would be helpful. Of course, we want to support the area, but we'd also like to have a great fishing experience too.
This literally just happened so we do not know the precise impacts and won't until at the very least late spring after FWP has done some shocking to get fish counts. All of the things you mention are possible and I mention them as possibilities at the link above.

If it's famous, it's busy now from the end of runoff through late September, some things until late October (Madison headwaters in YNP). That won't change.
 

fatbillybob

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Fishing pressure was drastically higher last season than ever before. One X-factor is that the Bozeman area is now about as expensive as Seattle, LA, San Fran, and New York, or getting close anyway. That might cut down on relocations or it might not.
The problem is GYE is about the most perfect place in the country. Four FlyshopsI'm from Cali and had a run of 15 straight years fishing the area and in the past 10 years only every other because life gets in the way like covid. Waters there are endless and in the past I have found places to fish pretty much with no one else around. Even drifting in guide boats were not a parade. I'm on year 3 of not being in GYE and it sure sounds like things are not going in the best direction. The 1/2 dozen flyshops in West speak volumes as to pressure on local waters. What a tough balancing act guides trying to earn a living yet protect the resource.

I am meeting with a buddy in a day or so and we were going to finalize our plans. Any info you can share would be helpful. Of course, we want to support the area, but we'd also like to have a great fishing experience too.
...And not kill a bunch of stressed fish. If the conditions are ripe for Hoot Owl restrictions we really should think about leaving the fish alone. This year the West was bad everywhere not just GYE. This summer I focused on saltwater and steelhead in Fall going into winter and that might be the plan next year as well. Today, Mammoth only has 6" of snow at Main lodge. Many many years I'm skiing a base and fresh snow on Veteran's day weekend.
 
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