Blog Posts In la nina

La Niña to Return!

This just in from the MISSOULIAN:

Cold, snowy winter in store for western Montana, National Weather Service says

By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian | Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011

If you liked last winter, you're going to love this one.

Another La Nina weather pattern appears ready to dominate North America for the rest of 2011, according to Bob Nester at the National Weather Service's Missoula office. That means more cold and snow for the Northwest and continued drought in the central South.

For western Montana, it means a likelihood of three to five Arctic breakouts, where the frigid Canadian air that usually blows into the Midwest slops over the Continental Divide and freezes places like Missoula.

In between, the usual flow of Pacific air should bring more than average amounts of snow this winter, Nester said.

"We should see system after system pound the Northwest into the Rockies," Nester said during a regional briefing on Monday. So like last winter, western Montana should see much deeper mountain snowpacks that linger far into spring.

Changing surface temperatures in the southern Pacific Ocean drive the global weather patterns known as La Nina and El Nino. When the surface temperature is low in a La Nina period, the energy that drives thunderstorms across the American Southwest decreases. That tends to pull the jet stream to the south, spreading northern Pacific moisture across Washington, Idaho and Montana.

(Matters reverse in an El Nino period, when warm south Pacific waters send lots of precipitation across California to Texas and push the jet stream to the north. That usually leaves the Pacific Northwest with dry, warm winters.)

"So not only do we get storms, we get more frequent storms in a La Nina winter," Nester said. "Last year, we had two or three events with several storms in a row that produced a lot of precipitation. That's what's common in a La Nina winter - those bam-bam-bam events."

A taste of what's coming could arrive this weekend, as an early snowstorm is forecast to begin around Friday.

First, though, comes a brief sunshine break on Wednesday, then clouds should return with a 40 percent chance of snow Thursday night and a 50 percent chance on Friday. Temperatures should also drop from the mid-50s Wednesday to highs in the mid- to upper 30s by Saturday.

That could spell trouble for trees that still have their leaves attached. Wet snow accumulation could snap branches.

"Hope you have a good winter," Nester said. "Get your shovels prepared."

snow way!

Big Hole River Fishing report 5/26/11

The rain poured last night after 2 a.m., turning to heavy snow by this morning.  The trees above 7,ooo feet were coated in white, but the big flakes in my yard lasted only a few minutes.
The old timers say, "when the snow on that thar face comes down, high water is here."  Well the snow on that thar face (pictured below) is far from gone.  In fact, just last week a two foot deep wet-slide avalanche cut it's way down the central slope and didn't reach the rock bed below.  There is a lot of snow left in the high country and this runoff could be furious over the next couple of weeks.
The Wise River in the below pictured section is marked by giant boulders, up to four feet above the river surface.  Today they are all but under water.
The Big Hole hasn't spiked from last night's storm yet, but this wave of mountain water is on its way down the valley.
Flood warnings are in effect today and tomorrow around the state and the Big Hole at Melrose has reached it's flood stage today.  However,  the cold weather forecast for the weekend means that the runoff will again be halted.  The Big Hole will most likely drop and clear by the weekend and streamer fishing could be very good like it was a week ago.

T.G.I.F. Big Hole River is clearing up

Friday Fishing Outlook: Big Hole River

  • Water Flow: 3,630 cfs
  • Water Temp: 49 degrees
  • Visibility: 18 inches
  • Weather: high 50's and chance of showers through the weekend
  • Fishing: Good
  • Flies:  streamers, march browns, caddis, stone fly nymphs

The Big Hole has been dropping steadily for the past three days and clearing as it falls.  The clouds and cool temps throughout the weekend will keep the river clear and fishing should be great.

Time to buy a Kayak, the Wise River is rockin' and rollin'

Big Hole Fishing Report 5/16/11

  • Water Flow: 4,540 cfs
  • Water Temp: 47 degrees
  • Visibility: muddy
  • Fishing: Streamer fishing has been cumbersome, but successful until today.  The water came up a lot last night and the Big Hole is very turbid today.
The spring weather that we have been missing out on will start this week and hopefully the weather will warm up enough to bring the mid-level snow out, essentially blowing out, and cleaning out, the watershed.  The weather predictions for the next two months indicate cooler days and cold nights which will bring the high snow out slowly and steadily throughout July and into August.    The Big Hole is going to be substantially bigger going into summer this year, but when the water clears fishing will be very good and fish will have more river to work with.

Big Hole Runoff, by the numbers

Big Hole River Fishing Report

  • Water Flow: 2,580 cfs
  • Water Temp: 53 degrees mid-day
  • visibility: 6 inches
  •  fishing: big shiny streamers

When I woke up this morning, NOAA was preaching doom and gloom and predicting an 8ft flood stage at Melrose by Saturday.  This would be a disaster for our Kid's Day on the Big Hole, but luckily the weather patterns have changed and so has the flood prediction.
Big Hole River Flood Prediction

Big Hole River weather report through the weekend

The weather will warm up, but not quite enough to bring the snow down with any consequence.  It looks like we are going to have high water for quite some time this year.  As I have been saying though, as long as it peaks and clears by mid June, fishing is going to be great regardless of the water level.

Big Hole River flow chart, cfs

Winter Weather Advisory: 1-2 feet of snow in the mountains

Better get the skis back out. Alex Ralston, former BHL guide, on Lost Trail Pass

Big Hole River Fishing Report 4/10/11

  • Water Flow: 2,830 cfs and rising
  • Water Temp: 42 degrees
  • Visibility: 6-8 inches
  • Fishing: Catch up on housework for a few days

Big Hole River Fishing Report 4/9/11

  • Water Flow: 2,330 cfs and rising
  • Water Temp: 45 degrees
  • Visibility: 6-8 inches
  • Fishing: Catch up on housework for a few days
  • Weather:

A couple of links you ought to check out:

Big Hole River:

  • Water Flow: 1,210 cfs
  • Water temp: 40 degrees
  • Visibility: 2 feet
  • Fishing: Good!  The temps are supposed to reach the mid-sixties today which may bring down some meadow snow in the upper valley, the water may discolor over the weekend, but I wouldn't be afraid of fishing big stone fly nymphs.

And now a couple of links you might enjoy:

A man catches a fish of a lifetime on the Missouri River yesterday:  Monster Rainbow interviewed me for Trout Bum of the Week:  Orvis Trout Bum

May 2-8 Fishing Outlook, Big Hole & Beaverhead

Big Hole Fishing Report

  • Water Flow: 909 cfs
  • Water Temp: 46
  • Visibility: clear
  • Fishing:  Good, on nymphs and streamers in the morning.  Skwala's and small dries in the slower water when the water warms up

Beaverhead Fishing Report

  • Water Flow: 424 cfs
  • Visibility: clear
  • Fishing: excellent on blue winged olives in the afternoon.  Nymphs in the AM, streamers in the cloudy weather.

Weather report:  Mostly sunny and in the high 40's to low 50's throughout the week.

Keep your eye out for the Mother's Day Caddis Hatch.......

Big Browns on the Big Hole River: no better way to spend a day off

snow on car in wise river

Yeah, yesterday was a good day! I've been itching to get my boat in the water to check things out before guiding begins and it just so happened that our website designer was going to be in the area fishing with a friend.  The valley had a fresh coat of snow and the sun was shining when I met David Thompson and Bryan Ulring at the Wis River Club.  These boys don't get out to fish as much as they'd like and they wore their excitement on their faces.  David founded and runs Brickhouse Creative, the company currently designing our new website, and Bryan manages the J bar L Ranch near Twin Bridges.  This was a rare day off and they were determined to enjoy every minute, and I was happy to be a part of it.

The put-in was jammed with ice and 10:00 am proved too early to launch.  We all agreed we should have had a bloody at the Club and let things warm up.  We were in no hurry and extremely glad to be back on the river.  A quick inventory of the cooler contents revealed stores of jerky from Bryan's ranch, bags of meats, cheeses, and chips, and a case of local beer. Life was good.  We cracked a beer around 11:00 and once that fish call echoed through the crisp morning, it was on! In fact, each time we popped open a double hopped golden lager a big brown would chomp our fly:

big hole river brownie

smiles all around

smiles all around

We caught hundreds of inches of fish, froze our fingers off, tried to drown the guide, told great stories and shared a lot of laughs! A big thank you to my hearty companions for braving the weather, bringing the grub, and kicking off the 2011 season in style.   Keep an eye out next week for David's photos and video from the day on our new website.   In the meantime,  I highly recommend getting out on the river with some big ugly bugs!

Big Hole Fishing Report 4/29/11

Spring on the Big Hole River

Big Hole River Fishing Report
  • Water Flow:  1,140 cfs
  • Water Temp:  39 degrees
  • Visibility: 3 feet
  • Weather:  High 34 today, cloudy
  • Fishing:  Good!

Hatches:  The skwala hatch has been on the Big Hole for the past week. This is a shy, unusual aquatic insect in that the male doesn't have the ability to fly very much due to the shortness of its wings. Trout look for them falling off willow and tree branches.

Recommended Leader: 9ft 3x

Recommended Tippet: 3x

Best Techniques: A dry/dropper combo is working well on warmer days when the trout are more active and looking for the skwalla stone flies. Tie on a #10 skwalla dry fly and attach a #12 Kaufman mini stone fly to the bend of the hook. Since the skwalla fly doesn't fly very often, trout look for them near the bank and falling off willow branches and overhanging limbs.

Tip of the Week: Streamer fishing can be productive on warmer days in the winter. Vary the speed of your strip starting out with a long, smooth strip keeping the tip of the rod on the water. If this doesn't work, try a faster strip and/or pausing to allow the streamer to sink before continuing the fast strip. Also try a dead drift with several big mends in the line to allow your streamer to get deep. A 2X tippet is recommended for streamer fishing this time of year in a 9' length. If these techniques don't produce, tie a small #16 beadhead pheasant tail or flashback hare's ear on the bend of the streamer hook with a 5x tippet and strip very slowly through the deep pools.

7 day outlook: The weather forecast is calling for highs in the 40's with possible snow showers through the week.