Hebgen outflow steady at 248cfs…West Fork 373cfs and dropping…Varney 610cfs steady for now. Northwestern Energy repair crews are on site and working. The arm that raises and lowers the flow gates failed and got stuck in the shut position. The malfunction is 50 feet deep so divers are needed.
Over 200 folks showed up this morning at Madison Foods parking lot to volunteer and help rescue/relocate trout using hand nets and buckets. FWP and Northwestern energy reps were there to coordinate. As of right now, the critical areas are the Madison River below Hebgen Dam and above the confluence with Quake Lake, the Raynolds Bridge area, Three Dollar Bridge and West Fork areas. Brown trout that spawn in these areas have already laid eggs in Oct/Nov. and they are in incubation. If these eggs lose the cover of water and get exposed to air, survival is possible as long as they retain moisture or don’t freeze. If they dry out or freeze they are toast. We have been having warmer than normal air temps lately so that will help keep eggs viable. The average incubation period for brown trout in the Madison is 4 to 5 months. The West Fork of the Madison and some of its tributaries are traditional brown trout spawning habitat.
For those interested in following the flows, here is link to USGS site for Montana streamflow: USGS Current Conditions for Montana_ Streamflow
The outflow at Hebgen Dam is “Hebgen Lake nr Grayling, Mt.”
The flow at West Fork is “Kirby Ranch nr Cameron, Mt.”
The flow at Varney Br. is “Cameron Mt.”
The flow at Ennis Dam is “Powerplant nr McCallister, Mt.”
Keep an eye in these numbers. If it goes below 600cfs at Varney or below 1100cfs at Ennis Dam that’s the danger zone.
Below are photos up and down the river today.
McAtee boat ramp
Ennis Campground boat ramp.