What spring might have in store for the river
We get a lot of questions about stream flows on our river – The Flathead. The Middle Fork of the Flathead originates in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and is a wild and scenic river that is one of the best whitewater rivers in Montana. We also float and fish the North Fork of the Flathead.
The weather has warmed outside again, and we are thinking a lot about when the snowpack breaks and the runoff starts.
There are many aspects of snowfall, snowpack, rainfall, and temperatures that determine river levels at different times during the season. Our rivers are not dam-controlled, so it’s all up to Mother Nature! For specific data, check out these sites that tell you more than you could ever want to know about the history of flows, current conditions on the rivers, and forecasts of what will be happening in the upcoming week:
- USGS has a real-time data service that gives you all sorts of details about the river.
- And here’s a direct link to the Hydrologic Prediction Service, which is chock full of maps, graphs and numbers for you!
The quick predictions we’ve heard so far call for a reasonable spring, and water flow numbers currently predicting to be good news for summer for whitewater! Let’s hope the trend continues. Here’s a graph which shows the past trends and where we are so far:
Chart of precipitation levels for the season – This year is that big red line.
(click on image for a bigger version)