Boat Ramp Report – Freshies!

Above: Glen Plake hucking the wire.

Sub-arctic today, but the Chinooks are gathering and we expect to see some people headed up to Craig for a little fly fishing this weekend and into next week. The foreseeable forecast looks great if you’re an off-season angler. This forecast is based on todays conditions, so we don’t really know how quickly things will break up. A couple things to keep in mind: There is a tremendous amount of ice in the river as of yesterday. The slurpee machine is running from the Dearborn down, and there is a ton of shelf ice. Prewitt down is not floatable as there are still some blocked up areas. There is shelf ice from the Dearborn all the way to the dam. Close to as much ice as you’ll see on the Mo’.

Here’s the boat ramp forecast for the weekend. If you like it deep, you’ll be stoked!


Powder/packed powder. Snow has covered most of the tracks from the previous storm. Light and dry on this sweet north aspect. Looks good except for the last 10 feet, but it’s doable. You can slide your boat on the ample ice. This ramp is notorious for sticking rigs on those slippery concrete blocks once they get wet.


Super sketchy, as a combination of wind load and southern exposure combine to make things treacherous. If you’re going to launch, make sure and have a “launch buddy”. Pieps, shovel and tow strap required.


Powder covered groomers. The easy way down is this ramp. But where will you take out? More likely a take out if you launched at the Dam. Shouldn’t be a problem, and if you do get stuck you can warm up in Joe’s Patrol Shack.


Experts only! Somewhere under all that pow is the Sticky Creek ramp. This is more of a side country option right now, so you might want to bring your snow machine. Fun launch ride, but don’t blow a chine on the exposed rocks at the runout.


Closed due to Avalanche Danger! This is also OB, so if you try it and end up stuck don’t expect the Patrol to come rescue you without buying them some beer.


Holter Dam is completely encrusted in a very thick layer of solid ice, and sometime in the next few days that ice is going to start falling off in very large chunks. If you’re in the water – boating or wading – keep an eye peeled at your 6 o’clock. You do not want to get swept down the mountain. Both sides of the river are also covered in thick shelf ice, which will also start breaking up. While not as big as some of the icebergs that will fall off the dam, they can still be very dangerous.

Or you can follow Plake’s lead (top photo) and head to the ski hill.

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  • Thanks John. This was an excellent overview of current conditions with a mixture of wry humor. The photo of the ice encased dam should serve as more than adequate warning to wade fishermen as I don’t think some of us realize the dangers of floating masses of ice as we stand in the river transfixed on our bobbers or streamers.

  • Classic!! Yet another example why HH has the best blog/fishing report in Montana.

  • aint photoshop a cool little tool.

  • It maybe scary but you guys did an awesome job with the photos and coverage!

  • Great shots!

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