Hello out there anglers of the internet! This is Team Headhunters guide Brett Matula with a winter dispatch and first-hand snowpack update from Bridger Bowl/Bozeman, Montana.
If you haven’t heard; we’ve got a shit-pile of snow in Montana this year. Most drainages in the state are between 110% and 140% of their average SWE (snow-water equivalent). Those are impressive numbers!
Check it here…Snowtel Site for Montana
Canyon Ferry Lake Levels. Today the lake is 77% full. We still have a ways to go…
This means it should be a great season on the Missouri (duh); and it also bodes well for the more distant future. More water, more fish, more bugs, more happy smiling faces at the boat ramp at the end of the day. This (of course) is good news for those of us in the Missouri River trout business and for YOU, the Missouri River trout angler.
But what all this ALSO means is that those of us that love to ski and snowboard are having a hell of a good time this winter. Like a “my-jaw-is-sore-from-smiling” kind of good time.
I’m lucky enough to be able to take the entire winter off to chase the snow. And I haven’t had to go very far as of yet. The Bridger Mountains, my home range, have been getting very consistent snow (including 3 feet in the last 2 weeks) and I’ve been spending almost every day hiking the Ridge, picking my way through limestone couloirs and making powder turns. To be able to wake up, drive fifteen minutes into the mountains, hike a bit, and ride bottomless snow day after day makes me a pretty happy dude.
Bridger Bowl sits within the Gallatin River drainage; which of course is a major tributary to the Missouri. I like to imagine the snow under our skis and boards today as the water under the Adipose this summer. Being in the mountains, witnessing the snow pile up and imagining it running through the gills of the trout makes me feel a deep connection to the place I live. It’s also a very tangible way to see that Mother Nature is coming through big time for our watershed.
March, April and even May are the most important months for our high-country snowpack. Keep in mind, even when it’s 50 degrees in Craig and we’re fishing dry flies in shirt-sleeves; the Missouri drains about a dozen huge mountain ranges and the snow can still be piling up in the high peaks over 250 miles upstream. So the story of our snowpack isn’t quite complete; but it’s shaping up really nicely.
The ten day forecast from NOAA is currently showing a good chance of snow every single day this week in the mountains. So I think I’ll probably go snowboarding tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that too. And eventually I’ll follow all of this snow downhill to Craig and look forward to some epic days on the river this spring.
And when the conversation in the boat stalls for a moment, the laughs die down, and you see me with the thousand-yard stare; you can bet my mind is back up on that Bridger Ridge.
See you soon on the Headhunters porch or on the river in Craig, USA!
Thanks Brett for sharing your winter with us. Brett has been to the Missouri River a few times this winter to wet a line…but his winter passion is definitely snowbound.
Brett will be back in full force with his Adipose Boatworks Flow for the Spring Special in March. Brett is a highly requested Missouri River Guide that we just love! Book your trip today with Brett @ 406/235-3447