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Thread: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

  1. #1
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    Default Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

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    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    Believe it or not Fred, I learned this past week that we have many nursery streams (salmon) here in Alaska that are at the level of concern also.

    Good post

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

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    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    From memory there was long period were fishing on the Bitterroot was restricted from sun up til about noon then leave the fish alone. Part of the problem is they had to close down a dam (for repairs) on one of the forks and that really cut back the flows.
    When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. - Billy Graham"

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    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    I'm just hoping the Rockies get another good snow pack year, lots of water in the streams should provide some relief.

    Larry
    Larry


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  6. #5
    changler Guest

    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    Once upon a time I was five minutes away from convincing myself I should quit grad school and take up guiding on the Bitterroot. Thanks for the read, Fred- and it's important to remember this issue isn't just restricted to western Montana- it's going to be an issue everywhere.

    Being out there and seeing things like these...faced with the realization that this may well be our legacy...it always strikes me as more than a little surreal.

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  8. #6

    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    This is a difficult situation to remedy, there will always be cycles of warm weather and low rainfall, but now we are adding intensive fishing pressure. Close the rivers and the states citizens suffer greatly from loss of revenue but neither does anyone want to see the fish die off either. Another consideration is how accurate are these sureys/predictions when weighed against the last 100 years, maybe this is normal and we are just now recording it. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Dave
    I was going fly fishing until my wife suggested it, now I can't tell who is outsmarting who!

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    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    Quote Originally Posted by littledavid123 View Post
    Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
    It's already starting to play out Dave. Here we have lots of people who do nothing but study the rivers and creeks for their living. Their data is not influenced by what they drive or anything else, it's just the data. There are average mean temperature data available for the past 3 decades, and the water is getting warmer.

    For a lot of smaller fisheries it's going to come down to preserving, or in some cases, creating Green Belts. Here at streams with development near we are having a 300' green belt to shield the streams from sun as much as possible. It's amazing what a couple degrees can mean to trout and salmon.

    The problem with procrastinating and pontificating over whether this is a 'normal' cycle or having something to do with our emissions is that if you guess wrong based on our current energy systems is.......... If we guess wrong there is no getting any of it back.

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  11. #8
    changler Guest

    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
    It's already starting to play out Dave. Here we have lots of people who do nothing but study the rivers and creeks for their living. Their data is not influenced by what they drive or anything else, it's just the data. There are average mean temperature data available for the past 3 decades, and the water is getting warmer.

    For a lot of smaller fisheries it's going to come down to preserving, or in some cases, creating Green Belts. Here at streams with development near we are having a 300' green belt to shield the streams from sun as much as possible. It's amazing what a couple degrees can mean to trout and salmon.

    The problem with procrastinating and pontificating over whether this is a 'normal' cycle or having something to do with our emissions is that if you guess wrong based on our current energy systems is.......... If we guess wrong there is no getting any of it back.

    Streams definitely benefit from setbacks and riparian buffers- but climate change plays havoc with even those management tools. I did a stint introducing Yellowstone cutts above waterfalls in order to separate them for rainbows- and it works, in part. But warmer summer temperatures allowed bark beetles to exploit higher altitudes-something those trees had never adapted to. You can actually hear them chewing through the trees at night- and they're not picky, they'll eat riparian trees just as soon as they'll eat upland ones.

    Fixing that situation is going to require more than riparian setbacks. It's going to require reforestation and planting on a massive scale.

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    Thanks Fred, this is a very serious issue we are facing. Last summer was one of worst I can remember for the rivers. The river closures where numerous and much longer than usual. As stated in the article it isn't even a matter of low snow years anymore. We had a really decent snowpack last year, but runoff was a month early and that stayed consistent all summer. So when in mid July the water levels are that of mid August and the air temps are as well, by the time August does roll around we are seeing flows and temps that are off the chart, on the low end. This earlier than normal runoff was not unique to last year. It has been a noticeable trend.

    Yes Dave, there have been and will cycles in weather trends. But the trends that are occurring now are far more extreme. The climate is changing and we all know why, whether we want to accept it or not. Angling pressure is a problem and I really hope that the state of Montana leads the way with some progressive new guidelines when it comes to fishing restrictions and water temps. But angling pressure is not the only new added pressure. More and more people are living in the river bottoms, more people use more water.

    I just moved down to the Bitterroot valley this fall. The water use I see is sickens me. Overhead sprinklers going heat of day to keep a lawn green. We are all going to have to make some changes to our routines, we all need to start thinking about conservation.

    It worries me. I hope that my daughter will be able to go down to the Bitterroot River and catch wild fish when she is my age. Its sad that I even have to hope that will happen.

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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Bitterroot and the effect of too warm water on Cutthroat

    Our process over time is what created our world and it is no different now. Pollution is a problem in areas of the world that have a direct bearing on many.

    Let's not neglect that the temps on record are for our recent generations and if we just use that as a gauge of climate we are maybe stopping well short of scientific. Best we can do and have, yes. Accurate, no.

    Cooler streamflows would be much easier if water demand was lower...the circle begins.

    The CPW uses the 70 degree rule. Typically never making the restriction mandatory but instead they ask anglers to voluntarily not fish if water temps hit 70 or above.

    Here is that ugly "fishing pressure" issue again. Is it time to move to Kamchatka?

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