Middle Fork Of Salmon Trip Canceled...

myt1

Well-known member
Messages
1,515
Reaction score
210
Location
Scottsdale, AZ
...it is going to be a long, hot, dry summer.

It is all but a certainty that a rafting/fly fishing trip I was planning for the end of this month will be canceled due to low water levels.

This is particularly disappointing since this is such a hard trip to get drawn for in the lottery. Some call this a once in a lifetime trip. I was so fortunate to get invited as a friend of a friend.

Sadly, we could've gone last year but decided to reschedule due to covid.

I'm really beginning to re-think this entire fly fishing thing.

June is pretty much not that great due to run-off. July, typically the best month, is now starting to be marginal due to the heat and crowds. August it is back to very low water and hot water temperatures that make it unfair to fish. What is left? A trip in the spring and a trip in the fall?...maybe.

I just hope this summer isn't a harbinger of things to come.
 

satyr

Well-known member
Messages
384
Reaction score
95
Location
Los Angeles
I just spent a week floating and fishing on the main Salmon 20 miles downstream from Stanley. It was at 1,500 cfs and falling already. It's going to be a dry year there but California is going to be even worse.
 

Meuniere

Well-known member
Messages
418
Reaction score
395
Location
Western Washington
It's funny, well, sad, really, that today for the first time I thought "if conditions continue to get worse, there might not be very much river-based (cold water) fly fishing left in 10 or 20 years." Mind you, I'll be dead in 20 years, but given the way that drought and climate change have progressed in the past decade or so, one of the great outdoor recreation resources in this country (and the lives of countless fish and other members of the riparian community) may be gone for good.

Two generations from now, fly-fishing-for-trout could easily become a minor historic anecdote of sorts. Just blows my mind, really.
 

proheli

Well-known member
Messages
1,045
Reaction score
402
Does anyone know what the actual rainfall and snowfall numbers are this year compared to last year or the average? I also have a possibility of hitting the Salmon around Aug 1, but if the water is too low it lowers my motivation to be away from home for a week. Thanks.
 

flav

Well-known member
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
297
Location
oregon
Does anyone know what the actual rainfall and snowfall numbers are this year compared to last year or the average? I also have a possibility of hitting the Salmon around Aug 1, but if the water is too low it lowers my motivation to be away from home for a week. Thanks.
I saw that the Salmon R drainage was around 75% of normal. The drainages just to the south are around 50%. That's only part of the story, though, the spring has been very dry and hot, so a lot of the melt has already occurred. And yes, California is worse. I've seen quite a few dry winters, the fish survive, but coupled with all this heat I don't have a lot of hope for the future of our coldwater fisheries.
 

Gundriver64

Well-known member
Messages
47
Reaction score
5
Location
Utah
And here in the second driest state in the union (UT) people are watering their green lawns and planting sod like gangbusters...
 

omas

Well-known member
Messages
255
Reaction score
105
Location
Great State of Texas
Does anyone know what the actual rainfall and snowfall numbers are this year compared to last year or the average? I also have a possibility of hitting the Salmon around Aug 1, but if the water is too low it lowers my motivation to be away from home for a week. Thanks.
Google Snow Survey Idaho to find the SNOTEL charts.
 

Meuniere

Well-known member
Messages
418
Reaction score
395
Location
Western Washington
The SNOTEL information for the entire USA is very useful, it's available for every state and you can bore down into some pretty specific information based on where they are taking their measurements (multiple sites, usually dozens, per state).
 

Meuniere

Well-known member
Messages
418
Reaction score
395
Location
Western Washington
Sorry, in case this is not already known, I should also have mentioned that if you go to the USGS sites and look up the specific river you're after you can get a good amount of current and historical data you can use in combination with the SNOTEL stuff to give you a better idea of what is likely to be taking place in the coming days/weeks/maybe month or so, but that's a bit far out. For example, if you just Google USGS Bitterroot you will come up with numeric/coded references for measuring stations for the flow, depth and temperature of several stations on the Bitterroot, plus the means to access historical data. USGS Bitterroot 12344000, for example, is the station that measures near Darby, on the Bitterroot in Montana, which is the first measuring station for that river, there are several more downstream. Plenty of options for mostly bigger rivers throughout the US.
 

proheli

Well-known member
Messages
1,045
Reaction score
402
The SNOTEL information for the entire USA is very useful, it's available for every state and you can bore down into some pretty specific information based on where they are taking their measurements (multiple sites, usually dozens, per state).
Thank you ! I've been spending a lot of time on that site and I may already be addicted. It looks like the MFSR and Salmon River Basin are running about 75% of normal, but I am getting a lot of confusion because there are just so many stations reporting 0% or < less than 0% rain and snowfall for the year and that is obviously not possible. It looks like they do not actually some of their maps up to date, unfortunately. The charts are easy to read because they can just give you the percentage of year-to-date-average and that is very helpful.

Hm, I'm trying to attach screen shots to give an example of reporting less-than-0%, but it is saying there is a security problem.
 

Attachments

JoJer

Well-known member
Messages
2,960
Reaction score
331
Location
Boise, Idaho
If the Mega drought in the S/W continues, fishing will be the least of everyone's trouble down there. I'd already decided we'd convert our front yard to zero scape ('cause no one here wants to mow it). I'm sure we're going to go back to a lighter watering schedule here in town. Idaho is doing OK this year bout nobody is getting as much water as they are used to. Folks depending on the more southern flows will go wanting when there's no extra.
 

heero

Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
10
Who is ready for hoot owl!?!1?

hootie.png

The Jellystone peaked this past weekend at a good bit lower flow than is typical (less than 18000cfs - for reference, 2 summers ago it peaked around 30000). There is little snow left - Ive been higher than normal already in the Beartooths, basically late June snowpack the first week of June. Salmon flies in two weeks, Id bet, full 2-3 weeks early.
 

yikes

Well-known member
Messages
2,240
Reaction score
179
Location
So Cal
I talked to a guy this weekend from Bend, Oregon. He says that the lower and middle Deschutes are fishing OK, but they are likely to close the Upper Deschutes very soon due to lack of flow.
 

proheli

Well-known member
Messages
1,045
Reaction score
402
Who is ready for hoot owl!?!1?

View attachment 36491

The Jellystone peaked this past weekend at a good bit lower flow than is typical (less than 18000cfs - for reference, 2 summers ago it peaked around 30000). There is little snow left - Ive been higher than normal already in the Beartooths, basically late June snowpack the first week of June. Salmon flies in two weeks, Id bet, full 2-3 weeks early.

Heero, here is the same report for Idaho, but honestly I am really confused. Are they honestly saying that the Bitterroot is at 1% of normal precipitation for the year? That is impossible. I have talked to a couple of flys shops in Boise and Ketchum and both have said that the MFSR is as 100% of normal and it is Sun valley that is at a 70%, but I saw another SNOTEL report that llist the Salmon River at 73% of normal.

I think i need a book or pamphlet that explains what all of these numbers mean, as just by looking at the maps some area would appear to be in an extreme drought. Your chart above shows Yellowstone at 23% of normal - wouldn’t that basically be a drought? Can you or anyone explain that, please. Point me in the right direction.

Thanks!
 

fatbillybob

Well-known member
Messages
386
Reaction score
225
It's funny, well, sad, really, that today for the first time I thought "if conditions continue to get worse, there might not be very much river-based (cold water) fly fishing left in 10 or 20 years." Mind you, I'll be dead in 20 years, but given the way that drought and climate change have progressed in the past decade or so, one of the great outdoor recreation resources in this country (and the lives of countless fish and other members of the riparian community) may be gone for good.

Two generations from now, fly-fishing-for-trout could easily become a minor historic anecdote of sorts. Just blows my mind, really.
I never really think about this. I just fish and ski what nature gives me. I have lived in the same place for 30 years and fish ski the same areas for 50 years. People talk about climate change when we have bad water years and the summer fires rage. But just a couple years ago we had massive snows and a great skiing season. Climate change people were silent. Water's were higher for longer as fall came. Water level does not seem to effect my fishing. I just adjust and fish different streams or different parts of those same streams and my catching does not seem effected. In my location Cali we have had drought talk and live it for as long as I can remember. We are really a dessert. Our water levels ebb and flow. This seaon was a lame ski season. I'm sure we will have a great ski season within the next few years. That's how it goes.

I just try and do my part to pack out what I pack in and the government controls everything else like wheter is get winter or summer gas blends and mangement changes like the new openning of McGee creek saturday of memmorial day weekend or encouragement of drought tolerant home landscapes. It is funny how hypocritical governments are. They talk climate change, do a bunch of pro-cliamte things, then open the floodgates to building "accessory dwelling units" which pack more people in a smaller area with zero improvement in infrastructure and zero means of more water for all the new people. So what is really being done to combat climate change?
 

fatbillybob

Well-known member
Messages
386
Reaction score
225
I think i need a book or pamphlet that explains what all of these numbers mean, as just by looking at the maps some area would appear to be in an extreme drought. Your chart above shows Yellowstone at 23% of normal - wouldn’t that basically be a drought? Can you or anyone explain that, please. Point me in the right direction.

Thanks!
I think this would make a great thread! I would like to learn too.
 

heero

Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
10

Heero, here is the same report for Idaho, but honestly I am really confused. Are they honestly saying that the Bitterroot is at 1% of normal precipitation for the year? That is impossible. I have talked to a couple of flys shops in Boise and Ketchum and both have said that the MFSR is as 100% of normal and it is Sun valley that is at a 70%, but I saw another SNOTEL report that llist the Salmon River at 73% of normal.

I think i need a book or pamphlet that explains what all of these numbers mean, as just by looking at the maps some area would appear to be in an extreme drought. Your chart above shows Yellowstone at 23% of normal - wouldn’t that basically be a drought? Can you or anyone explain that, please. Point me in the right direction.

Thanks!

The percentage isnt of yearly precipitation, it is a percentage of remaining Snow Water Equivalent in the drainage when compared to the typical average on today's date.

This means that the remaining unmelted snow left in the Bitteroot is only at 1% of what it would typically be this time of year. The Yellowstone drainage has only 23% of the usual remaining unmelted snow it would typically have this time of year.

These numbers dont mean that there is a drought. Yet. What they mean is that there is little snow left to melt, much less than is typical for this time of year. It is a bad sign for summer, tho, as without moisture in the form of wet weather and rain we are going to be in drought conditions and fire season sooner than is typical and the rivers will be lower than usual.

Hope that helps.
 
Last edited:
Top