Something you don’t see every day…or every year. Release flow at Hebgen Dam is 361cfs, cranked down as low as it gets. In fact, 361 is only a few cfs higher than when the dam broke and levels dropped to 250cfs. BUT, due to recent snow and rain, flows at West Fork and Varney are juicy at 1060 and 1840 respectively!
What does it all mean? It means we are in great shape long term for flows in the Madison and have a good chance of getting Hebgen to full pool.
But it also means we could be in for massive loads of muddy water coming down the river when Beaver, Cabin, Squaw Ck., West Fork, Mosse, Wolf, Jack Ck. turn loose and Hebgen starts to release significant flows. And it’s been raining around here for three straight days.
Cabin Ck. is traditionally one of the main mud runners and clouds up the popular wade stretch between Campfire Lodge and Quake Lake. Beaver Ck. basically runs straight into Quake and then the lake itself filters out most of the mud. The stretch between Quake and West Fork stays somewhat fishable through runoff but it’s basically bank fishing because if you get too frisky wading that section you might end up upside down.
Hebgen isn’t the only impoundment experiencing low water. Canyon Ferry Reservoir near Helena is also in a bad way.