Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody want to speculate on the Smith's flow in Montana over the next couple weeks?
I have a June 10th launch and was hoping for good fishing flows... Looks a bit high now, but wasn't sure if it was due to come down soon.
This will be my first time on the Smith and can't wait!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Might go down due to irrigation. I have done it around then and earlier and it was already way down and fishing great. I know. This is a different year. But a lot of snow can melt in two weeks. Your lucky. It will be a good trip either way. Have fun.


Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
Good news, you probably won't have to drag your raft anywhere. Also the river should be fast, so you can get to the next camp and get margarhita hour early. I leave on the 16th, a week later can make a big difference. We went around the 15th last year and someone launching when we were finished would have probably had to drag a few places, the flow had dropped that much already. That said there is still a lot of snow in the mountains.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
I am on a group putting in next week, flows are def high, but may come down a little this week according to some local knowledge up there..Fishing will be tricky for us, may not be as so for you. When flows start to come down it is a good time to be out, fish will be going crazy. So you may hit it right. enjoy, will be great either way!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
So I just looked at the graph for the last 45 days and the snotel sites and it's a bit difficult to tell where were at... Usually there are two crests, one involving low-mid elevation snow and the second and largest involving high elevation snow. about 2/3 of the snotel sites in the basin have no snow but a few have a lot: 15-20" of SWE left, that tells me that some, if not most of the high elevation snow is still up there. Overall the basin is about 130% of average currently.

The Smith is a difficult river to predict, a couple of cool days will equate to a drop, a big thunderstorm and it can peak but with that said the graph indicates that the river has crested, even while it's unseasonably hot and other rivers somewhat near are climbing past flood stage. That to me is good news, but now we need to see if this is the first or second crest... There was a small crest of around 900 cfs in early May. My guess is that was just the low elevation snow, this crest is mid and we are still yet to see the bigger crest, but only time will tell. It's definitely been a strange year.

The best news is its forecast to stay hot this week and then remain above average. That will help pump out water prior to your trips but plan on it being high and fishing being a secondary pursuit. It still fishes when it's dirty so don't despair, unless it's chocolate and pushing tree's down river you should be able to catch a few fish...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all.
This is a multi-purpose trip with families. I'd love to get a bunch of fishing in, but I'm just going to be as happy with a beautiful float and chilled beers!
Hopefully the river gods smile on us a bit! This will be my kids' first big fly fishing adventure if all goes well.
Thanks again for all the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
Just got off the Smith on Monday and it was running around a grand and muddy. Great salmon fly hatch, but we caught only two fish the whole trip. It will probably clear some by the 10th, but depends on the weather. We had great Smith weather for May/June warm during the day, but thunder showers in the afternoon. It still beats a day at work even if you can't catch fish.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Our group just got off. Was running 1900cfs and the color of peanut butter. Fishing was slow but we caught a few nice browns. Was in the mid 70s and sprinkled one evening.
My guess is you will hit it perfectly! Have fun!


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
Our personal level for our raft (16 foot) is 300 cfs. I'm not much into dragging the raft. I've heard of people going in less than that and dragging in places.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
I've floated twice with less than 100, full sized, fully loaded rafts but I wouldn't recommend it. Both times were early spring where the river should come up and the tributaries bring in more water (both were on the rise). I've done numerous trips at around and just under 200 cfs with no problems... Again fully loaded comfort trips. My absolute min would depend on the crew I was with. With my kids and other non-helpful people probably 175 ish for full boat. Maybe a 125 with the right people or 100 minimalist approach (still rafts but lightly loaded).

It would also depend on recent history: holding stead, dropping, etc. If It's holding 150 cfs would be much more comforting than if it's dropping... When it's low it responds rapidly to precip so a thunderstorm can make all the difference. Once it raises following a normal storm it usually takes a few days to slowly drop back to the old trend...

When low the first and last day are the difficult ones, the middle is much less flow dependent.

Lastly, I'd be really surprised if it were too low by the 3rd. There's still a bit more snow up there to come out and a huge snowpack coming down as groundwater flow now. I wouldn't be surprised if it were still floatable in late July/early August.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
...and yes you'll likely have to drag a few times below 300, more if you don't look ahead... You'll definitely drag about 300 yds downstream of Rock Creek Camp. and two small straight aways in farm country on the last day. There are a few areas on the first day where looking ahead may save some dragging but at 200 you're looking at a few minutes of pulling at most. It's not bad, unless there are folks that can't read water at all...

90 cfs, with a 16' Heavily loaded bucket boat it took us 11 hours to get to Indian Springs ~6 miles....

Why did we do it? Gear boat for a very determined outfitter!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,043 Posts
Just got off the Smith last Friday 6 June 2014 and we had tons of water several big GC size rafts and no problem at all.

Water was a bit murky and fishing not all that good, but a few were caught and released.

The dude ranch mid way down has home made ice cream sandwiches that are pricey but are the best ice cream treat I have had any where in the big city.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
We leave next Monday. We have already made reservations for burgers and beer at the dude rnch. I'll have to try the ice cream sandwich. Thanks for the tip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Just got off the Smith last Friday 6 June 2014 and we had tons of water several big GC size rafts and no problem at all.

Water was a bit murky and fishing not all that good, but a few were caught and released.

The dude ranch mid way down has home made ice cream sandwiches that are pricey but are the best ice cream treat I have had any where in the big city.
Same trip as okieboater. Water was clearing up slightly as the week went on last week, and the water level was dropping slightly each day. We had two serious fishermen on our trip, and they were catching some fish, moreso towards the end of the week than the beginning, mostly browns in the 12"-14" range, with one 20+ inches. The week started warm, and then cooled off for the last two and a half days. Mid-60's early week, with upper 40's probably later in the week.

Second the ice cream sandwich at the ranch. It was $5, and worth every penny! :p
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,436 Posts
Anyone know what the recommended law water cutoff is? It's dropping fast, and we have a July 3 launch.
depends on boats you are using and gear packing. Smith river web site has some basic recommendations.

I just got off and ran it at 1100, great water and fair fishing with dark streamers, close to shore, brown water, low visibility.

Lowest temp was at launch morning 28 degrees, most nights in 40's days 55 to 73.

Take some stout beer for ice cream sodas at ranch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
505 Posts
Interesting

Can't figure out what is happening with the flow. It is 600 at Eden Bridge and dropping about 150 CFS per day. Yet the snowpack is still above normal. If I seem a little obsessive, it's because it's a 14 hour drive and a big commitment of vacation time.
Ran it 22 years ago and had a 60-fish morning, with browns up to 22" or so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Can't figure out what is happening with the flow. It is 600 at Eden Bridge and dropping about 150 CFS per day. Yet the snowpack is still above normal. If I seem a little obsessive, it's because it's a 14 hour drive and a big commitment of vacation time.
Ran it 22 years ago and had a 60-fish morning, with browns up to 22" or so.
Just an observation on the Smith River Flows. It is dropping rapidly. The snowpack totals were great coming into May and June. Unfortunately it has not rained at all in the last month in the area. Usually this is the time of year where Montana gets a lot of precipitation. The Smith fluctuates greatly with precipitation. The Smith River gets irrigated from ranchers, and with the dryness this month, had to irrigate much more than usual (my thought). I also have followed the snotel sites vey closely this month. You have to remember on the snotel sites that they put an asterix on the site saying it may not be accurate, as all but one of the 7 sites has snow on it. I have been pretty nerdy checking on flows, and snowpack, and the weather over the last 4 weeks. I get to go on June 18th and thought as recent at the beginning of the moth I would be going with pretty high flows. Now, without rain it could be a little low and am making plans with the group to possibly lighten the load

Historic flow takes into account snowpack, average precipitation, and water use. So it is falling and will be pretty low I believe because of no rainfall, and irrigation. This is just my observation, but really has been the driest may and June for a long time. some rain the week before could make a big difference
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top