This weekend temps are expected to get up into the high teens. Normally, this wouldn’t bring anglers out of their winter holes, but we’ve had nearly 6 weeks of unfishably cold conditions, and if the wind lays down I expect we’ll see a few boats on the river.
We get tons of calls during the winter – from all over the region – asking about the fishing conditions. Those who haven’t fished here in the winter ask the usual questions. Fly patterns, tippet size, slow or quick water, are we doing shuttles, is Joe’s open? (c’mon man)… the usual. You can tell if it’s someone who’s spent some winter time on the Mo’. They ask “how are the ramps?”. They can be dicey.
Each year we pull a rig or 3 off the ramps, and hear about a few others. Right now I would rate things as a Blue Square with a few Black diamonds. No green runs right now, but you will get some fresh tracks! If you are coming up to Craiglandia for some winter angling, make sure and bring your tow rope (2 are better), jumper cables, good tires and 4 wheel drive. Remember that many of the ramps do not have cell service!
I checked out all of the ramps yesterday anticipating some traffic this weekend. I didn’t check the Holter Dam or Wolf Creek ramps. Ice likely won’t be a problem. If there is you can usually put on your waders and stomp a hole. Duck hunters know what I’m talking about. While shelf ice rarely prevents a launch at these two ramps, plenty of folks still get their rig stuck, so be careful. Mark and I have been known to shove our boat onto the snow at the top of the ramp and slide it down to the water, rather than risk sticking a rig and ruining a fishing day. But Mark and I have been know to do stupid things.
So, here’s what the ramps from Craig down look like if you’re wondering…
CRAIG – GROOMED
More snow than I would have expected but plenty of tracks and some boats have been in/out recently. Might be icey from the polar plunge on New Years Day. More gravel on skiers left.
STICKNEY CREEK – POWDER/CRUD
Normally a good bet in the winter, but looks super sketchy! Kind of shocked it hasn’t had at least some use as Craig to Stick is a popular winter float. I would not try this unless I had a second rig with me. And I’d make him go first.
SPITE HILL – POWDER/PACKED POWDER
Actually looks decent, except for some shelf ice that can probably be busted out. It’ll be almost over your head at the end of the ice. And theres a recent set of trailer tracks. The Burbot boys have the road down in nicely groomed.
DEARBORN – POW!
If you’re looking for fresh tracks, this is the spot! For fishski, that is. If you’re looking to launch your boat, plan on getting stuck on the chairlift. A whole lot of nope.
MID CANON – POWDER
Not packed out, but this is a green run even on a powder day. The slope is short and the gradient shallow. Should be good to go (but don’t blame me if you yard sale!)
MT. PALACE – SKIFF OF NEW
Palace didn’t look nearly as treacherous as I expected, but there’s a lot of vertical on this run. The good news is that you can easily get your trailer tires to the water. Always a sketchy call with snow, and there was tons of drift ice in the lower Canyon today. This is a fun one to slide the boat down!
PREWITT CREEK – WINDCRUST
Looks like the Bombadier missed this one. Usually some tracks during the winter but nada. And the shelf ice is way out there. Consider this OB.
PELICAN POINT – AVALANCHE DANGER!
Always a double black diamond after a storm. That cornice on skiers left looks like it could go at any moment!? Hopefully Mark will get in there with some explosives this week, but if not it’s a no-go. And if you launch here just to prove me wrong, you’ll have to drag your boat the last 4 miles across the ice. Possible take out with a long winch strap.