River Closure

Big Hole River 165 cfs, water temp, 59
Beaverhead River 332 cfs

There is an article on the front page of the Montana Standard today regarding the possible premature closure of the Big Hole. Allen Schallenberger who is an outfitter from Sheridan wrote a letter to the governor asking him to reverse the decision to close the river. The Dept. of Fish, Wildlife acknowledged they closed it before it hit the trigger point and thought it would keep dropping. It didn’t and after it closed it came up. As I said before I do not disagree with them when they closed it as it was marginal at best. Now it’s a different story with a fairly steady flow and low water temps. There is absolutely no reason they should not reopen it tomorrow. It did sound like they would bend a bit on the 200 cfs, 7 or 10 day deal.
Allen also went on about how the closure hurts local business and the effect it has on them.
The river closed Aug. 17th and we kept the shop open for fisherman who were heading up the tributaries and lakes.
Let’s see, doing a quick audit in my head since the closure the shop has sold about 18 fly’s, 2 leaders and 1 tippet spool. I went back to work running a D8 cat—gotta feed the dogs.

There was a comment from Maxman regarding irrigators who are trying to conserve and others who are taking every drop they can get with a total disregard for the river and that they should be publicily named—what a great idea.

One Comment:

  1. Al, I am about as conservative (i.e. when it comes to conserving nature) an environmentalist as they come. Yet I have to agree with Schallenberger and the other critics of the Big Hole Watershed Committee/FWP on this one: the closure was premature and purely political.

    If only the conservation groups such as Trout Unlimited WOULD use this as an opportunity to publicize the problem with ranchers who are still taking every drop of water they can get! Sadly, individuals grumble grumble grumble, but the groups will do nothing since they want to keep playing house with the Big Hole Watershed Committee. Hell, the Committee ought to be going after the “non cooperators” that don’t adhere to the “voluntary” water restrictions.

    Oh, no, wait a sec–that won’t happen because some of the prominent committee members ARE the “non cooperators”–look at the totally dewatered lower reach of the Wise River. Thank you for the tip about the “Big Ditch” at Maidenrock–as you said, it is eating every drop it can suck out of the river–maybe 40 or 50 cfs.

    Jeff & I did find a few grayling, and he snorkeled with them in LaMarche. It was too cold for me, even with the wet suit! I took a quick look, though, and seen underwater they are as beautiful as anything that swims. I thought my heart was gonna stop in the cold water, though.

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