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HEBGEN DAM REHAB UPDATE

by Randy
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on Sunday, 12 March 2017
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NorthWestern Issues February 2017 Update on Hebgen Dam Project; Madison River Basin Snowpack in Good Shape Butte, Mont. – Feb. 20, 2017 – Work on a spillway replacement project at Hebgen Dam near West Yellowstone is nearing completion and planning is well under way for a project to rehabilitate the dam’s outlet pipe, beginning this spring. In 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) required safety repairs to the Hebgen Dam intake, spillway and outlet pipeline to meet current dam-safety standards and reflect advances in earthquake seismology. The approximately $40 million project is expected to be finished by the end of 2017. The spillway replacement project is now substantially complete. Removal of the spillway cofferdam is under way and will be complete by early March. The new gates operate under power and the control system will be complete and tested very soon. New security lights and cameras have been installed. Fine grading, topsoil, and seeding of the disturbed areas will be accomplished in the spring along with the replacement of security fencing. The outlet pipe rehabilitation project at Hebgen is scheduled to begin in the spring. Plans for the project are currently under review by FERC. New permit applications and permit modifications with the appropriate federal and local agencies will be transmitted soon in preparation for the work. NorthWestern Energy is working to secure a construction contract for the project in the coming weeks. Work on the project will begin as soon as the reservoir elevation and conditions allow. River flows will be diverted to the new spillway during the work, which is expected to be complete in 2017 before winter. Snowpack for the Madison basin is currently at 100 percent of median. The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Snotel sites above Hebgen are well above average at 115 percent, while the sites below Hebgen are at 89 percent. The NRCS issued an early estimate of the volume runoff forecast for the April to July period on February 3rd which projected Hebgen at 99 percent of normal and Ennis at 91 percent of normal. The Hebgen reservoir elevation is currently at 6,528.71 feet, which is 6.16 feet from full pool and right at the 10-year average level. January inflows were 83 percent of normal and inflows to date in February are 97 percent of normal. Currently, Hebgen outflow is 870 cubic feet per second (cfs). Expectations are that the flow will stay near this level through the end of the month. However, the daily operation of the Hebgen and Madison hydro projects are subject to constant monitoring, re-evaluation, and collaboration with applicable agencies. Appropriate operational changes will be made, as necessary, taking into account our FERC license requirements. NorthWestern will work to provide monthly public updates on the schedule and progress of Hebgen outlet-pipe repairs, snowpack and runoff forecasts and related Madison River biological and recreational issues. NWE also proposes public meetings on these same topics in mid-March (Ennis) and in late April or early May (Ennis and West Yellowstone)

 

________________________________________ About NorthWestern Energy (NYSE: NWE) NorthWestern Energy provides electricity and natural gas in the Upper Midwest and Northwest, serving approximately 701,000 customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. More information on NorthWestern Energy is available on the company's website at www.northwesternenergy.com. Media Contact: Butch Larcombe (866) 622-8081 JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING

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UNDERCOVER FISHING GUIDE 1

by administrator
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on Tuesday, 07 March 2017
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   Me and my crew have fished all over, guided sports for pay, got in bar fights, banged babes in the back seat, smoked some not-so-good weed, fought against the bad guys and fought for the trout.

    We’ve hung with bikers and hippies and loggers and cowboys, rowed rubber and cedar and metal and glass. We would’ve blown up a few dams if we could, but there’s still time. We killed a lot of time in fly shops, mostly Wally’s Fly Shop. And a lot of time in bars, mostly the Wagon Wheel…and campgrounds and boat ramps and RV parks and grocery stores. We’re partial to bartenders and shuttle drivers and fly fishing chicks.

 

   My main guy was Skeeter, we been pards since way back, run a lot of trips together, a solid dude, my best bud. He was a little guy but wiry…partial to Patagonia baggy pants, King Ropes Sheridan, Wyo. caps, Birkies and leather side shields on his Costas. Strong on the oars; only guy I know to take a hard boat down through the Alberton Gorge and the Kitchen Sink and lived to tell.

 

   He also had kind of a drinking problem.

  

   One time Skeeter and me was coming back from a week long charter on the Bighorn…four doctors from Denver who paid the whole guide fee in hundred dollar bills. We decided to take the back roads home through the sagebrush, balls out, pedal to the metal, after splitting a twelver of Coors Lite.

   We’re rollin’ along doing about 90, watching the sagebrush and antelope herds whiz by, and my man Skeeter, he took a curve too fast somewhere on a ranch road near Laurel and didn’t make it. The Clacka fish tailed, bullwhipped and spun out, snapped the trailer tongue off the two inch ball behind his old red Chevy pick-up. The drift boat and trailer strapped together lifted up and flipped over three times, bounced off the embankment and finished tits up in the borrow pit.

   Skeeter lost control and rolled the pick-up ass over tea kettle, end over end… it careened into the barbed wire fence and bashed his head into the windshield.

   I saw the whole thing in my rear view mirror.

  

   By the time I made it back to Skeeter he was slumped over the steering wheel with his chest crushed and a nasty gash in his skull and a face full of broken glass and blood. The King Ropes Sheridan, Wyo. cap was mashed up between the dashboard, the steering wheel and the windshield. His Costas were mangled around his neck dangling from a blood-soaked Croakie.

  

   He was deader than a cob.

  

   We had a nice service for Skeeter back in Town at the Wagon Wheel, me and the crew. We cracked a few frostys…Corky and One Fly and T- Bird was there…Lonnie was there, Junior was there, Windex was waxin’ his boat, Doc couldn’t make it, he was sleepin’ it off at the house.

   Oh yeah, Rachel was there too, how could I forget her?

   But wait...I better back up a bit.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UNDERCOVER FISHING GUIDE

by administrator
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on Friday, 24 February 2017
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  The Undercover Fishing Guide will be a guest contributor to this site adding commentary and observations on fishing, the environment, the good, the bad, the ugly. He prefers to remain anonymous and his identity will not be revealed. black_ski_mask

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SILENT PARTNER

by Randy
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on Saturday, 04 February 2017
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Sept. 23, 1987... 4am. Beaverhead Nat’l. Forestmtn_lion_track

 

     Pitch black except for a million stars spreading a blinking blanket over me, trekking up the trail in the dark. I really didn’t need any light, I had done it so many times. I knew every boulder, tree stump, juniper bush, creek crossing. Make it to the saddle before day break, take a breather, stop, listen. The wind was down, a silent darkness slowly being overtaken by first light, no bugles yet.

 

   Picking my way up the sidehill on the switchies. Huffing and puffing past the jack pines through the scree, climbing up...looking way down and across the canyon to the old ski hill over my right shoulder. Not much more to the steep part, gonna get up on top of the ridge and take another blow.

 

   Into the timber now, a sliver of first light squeezing through lodgepoles, doug firs and whitebark pine. Trail levels off, finally I’m on top.

   A light, misty September sprinkle happened up here…silent foot falls, moist for a change…no crackle to the sticks and leaves. Next year half of Yellowstone Park would burn, but for now...

   I walked over to the left edge and looked down the cliff into the creek, listened to it barely audible tumbling down the mountain over huge boulders and moss covered rocks. Took in patches of quakies turning gold. A raven croaked way down in there somewhere.aspens_2

 

   Moving slowly back up the trail, the several-hundred foot drop off to my left, a gentle slope downhill of to my right...I am in the trees at 8500 feet, noiseless. No snow up here. Good light now.

   Three black strands of sewing thread dangled from the tip of my recurve…I held it upright in front of me to check the wind. The strands blew back dead into my face. Head down looking at the soft earth for a sign…a nutcracker chattered off through the trees. I stopped, stood stock-still and listened.

 Nothing.

   My eyes scanned ahead, up the trail, left and right, through the trees. Off to my right was an opening, just before the lodge poles got thick. My eyes searched.

I froze.

 

   The big cat was standing crouched, bent at the knees at forty yards, quartering away from me, facing left, into the wind, ears up, eyes staring dead, focused like lasers. A mature tom around 140 pounds congealed like petrified wood, powerful shoulder muscles rippled through a tawny coat, blending with the pine bark and understory. His long, tan, graceful tail, curled up at the black tip, barely twitched. He had no idea I was there.

   At first I tensed up. But the longer I stood there, the longer the wind stayed right and the longer the big cat didn’t see me, the more relaxed I felt.

   I thought, “how lucky is this?...what are the odds?” Here I am within a bow shot of one of the most secretive, elusive alpha predators in the mountains and he is unaware of my presence. He had his eye on some unseen prey and the thought of a kill had his full attention.

   I stood there, barely blinking, watching him coiled motionless.

   I thought about all the history this impressive animal carried with him…mountain lions had survived years of being chased, treed, hazed, shot at, trapped, snared, speared, poisoned…the bounty hunters of old cutting off ears and tails for $10, $20, $50 per cat…females and kittens brought bonus money.

   The campaign of killing was often waged by professional hunters like Ben Lilly, Jay Bruce or Uncle Jim Owens… in New Mexico, Idaho, California, Arizona…anywhere they could find a cat to kill. Mr. Bruce claimed responsibility for 669 lion kills in California alone and “Uncle Jim” laid waste to over 500 lions in Arizona.

 

 

indian_bead_work

 

        Before them, Arapahos and Nez Perce, Mandans and Blackfeet , Cheyennes and Lakotas and many other tribes hunted lions.

   While I watched the big tom I thought about how the Native Americans killed the mountain lion to utilize them, making quivers and blankets with the hides and eating the meat, while the European invaders killed the big cats to eradicate them off the face of the earth, hanging them by the neck from a tree limb or the side of a barn, to rot in the sun.

   In one fifty year period in the USA and Canada, over 66,000 mountain lions were killed. By the early 1960s, only 4000 survived in the lower 48 states.

   I watched the big tomcat intent on his business, the business of survival. I felt insignificant in his world...the natural world. I only had to make it back to the pick-up, turn the key, start it up, get home, feet-up, crack a beer.

   He had to make it through another brutal Montana winter in the wild.

   I hunted for fun, the big cat hunted to survive.

   I clucked at the lion like you cluck at a horse. His big head wheeled on a swivel, looked straight through me with piercing yellow eyes, locked in, without fear.

   I stared back, feeling small, out of place, like I didn’t belong.

   Then two or three astoundingly swift and graceful leaps…a blur of movement without a sound…and he was gone.

   I just…

stood there…dazed…impressed…humbled.

   I squinted hard down through the maze of lodgepole and jack pine and downed timber. Nothing.

   From somewhere a red-tailed hawk let out a scream, a pine squirrel chattered, a chipmunk poked its head out of a stump to get a look.

   I turned around and headed back down the trail the way I came from. 

   A chill of a north wind whistled through the timber with another Montana winter not far behind.

   I had a lot of time to think during the long hike down the mountain.mountain-lion-eyes

  

 

 

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BUD LILLY 1925-2017

by Randy
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on Friday, 06 January 2017
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   A whole lot of how many of us love and respect fly fishing started with Bud Lilly. His "Trout Shop" in West Yellowstone survives today along with his beliefs about our sport. Fly fishing is in a better place because of him.bud_lilly_2

http://mtstandard.com/news/state-and-regional/fly-fishing-legend-and-catch-and-release-pioneer-bud-lilly/article_e832eae3-1b43-5a20-90f1-5242e8ddfa24.html

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