This year most Montana rivers will be HIGH and SWIFT through June. If you are wading or boating BE CAREFUL so you don’t end up face down and thrashing for safety. Here are some Montana high water survival tips from RBMF:
1. If you wade fish, stay close to the bank. If you are a right handed caster choose a bank on the left side with some brush or willows and work upstream. This way you can hold on to a willow branch with your left hand and cast with your right. Reverse procedure for left handed caster.
2. Don’t try to cross the river if you are not sure of the depth. It may look like you can make it but once you get way out there there’s no turning back. When in doubt, look for a safer crossing point.
3. Use a wading staff.
4. Make sure you have good felt, composite or stream cleats/studs on your wading shoes. Tennis shoes and rubber soled irrigation boots are TROUBLE!
5. Use your wader belt…cinch it up real good…it could save your life.
6. Watch the depth… a lot of the rivers will be muddy or roily and you can’t see the bottom. Don’t gamble.
7. If you are boating be careful. Don’t drop your anchor out in the middle of deep, raging water. Bad things can happen. Watch out for sunken trees and other hidden obstructions, especially on the Big Hole River. Don’t take side channels unless you know where they lead.
8. Cell phone. If you are wading, leave it on the river bank in a dry place. It won’t do you any good if you fall in.
9. If alone, tell someone where you are going.
10. Use common sense…practice your dog paddle…good luck!