Big Hole River 760 cfs—Maidenrock
The mother of all hail storms hit yesterday afternoon and not just one but two. The last time I remember a hail storm of this severity was about ten years ago and I was on the river with the New York princess from Hell. It all started when an outfitter friend of mine asked if I could do a trip for him as his back was hurting or something like that. I knew I was in trouble when she got ouf of the car in the parking lot here at the shop. You could tell immediately she had an attitude. I introduced my self to her and her boyfriend who was a professor at New York University and seemed like a pretty nice guy. I asked her if she had waders and wading shoes and she snapped back no as she doesn’t use them. I asked her if she had a rain jacket and same reply and she said anyone with any sense can see it’s not going to rain as there is not a cloud in the sky. I told her the weather forecast was for some possible heavy thunder storms today. She simply scoffed at any idea of that happening. She was wearing some kind of tight spandex pants and a halter top and said that would suffice.
We got on the river at the Divide access and hadn’t gone a mile when these very dark clouds started to appear over Nez Perce Ridge. Within minutes you could see the white streaks of hail further up the mountain. I immediately started to look for some kind of shelter and pulled the boat over to the west bank and under thick willows. The storm hit shortly after that and pelted us with golf size hail. There were leaves and small branches getting knocked in the boat. I had an extra rain jacket for the princess but it had no hood. When the storm finally started to let up I looked back at her and she looked like a drown rat. Her black hair was in matted streaks down her face, mascera mixed with it and her dark eyes glowed red. Man was she pissed. She was shivering and cussing like you can’t believe about the river, the boat and Montana in general. Being a smart ass I asked, Cynthia are you saying you don’t like my boat or river? She shot back with a fury that could only come from the depths of hell itself. She said I hate your f—– river, I hate your f—– boat , I hate you and I want to get the f—- out of here. I pulled back in the river and pushed on the oars like crazy. She said, can’t you go any faster? By this time my hackles were starting to rise a bit and I said, look lady, I want you out of my boat just as much as you want out. Her boyfriend tried to soothe her over a bit and said, honey I’ll make it up to you. She replied, diamonds, I like diamonds.
I looked at him and thought—man she must be one hot babe in the sack for you to put up with that crap.
Any way I look back at it now and laugh and that hail storm reminded me of it.
Yesterday evening the river turned almost a blood red for a short time. (Maybe the princess had something to do with it) In the Devil’s Kitchen area which is just below Wise River there is this reddish soil on the slopes and when there is a super downpour like yesterday it washes into the river. It normally clears up in a couple hours. I had a report the lower river was still a bit off color this morning but it should have cleared by now. There was a guy who came in the shop this morning and bought two streamers, came back a couple hours later and got six more. I asked if they were whackin the streamers and hejust smiled and hurried out the door. Another guy was just in and said he did real well on small mayfly patterns between the rain showers.
Forecast for tomorrow is a bit warmer and fewer showers.