It seems like a long way away…

It seems like a long way away…

Hebgen Dam: 921cfs

Old Kirby Place: 971cfs

Varney Bridge: 1040cfs

Lower Madison: 1130cfs


The sun is shining again in the Madison Valley. It has been about four or five days since we have seen a bright blue sky around here. Starting last Saturday the Madison Valley and Southwest Montana started to receive snow. A lot of snow. More snow than I can remember seeing in the past 20 years. I don’t have an accurate measure for just how much but I have places in the yard that snow is above my knee caps. These are places snow fell naturally and was not shoveled or added to in any way. Maybe 24 inches. The knee cap depth measurement in the yard being a very precise and scientific form of measure. The snow started on Saturday and ended with another half to one inch last night. To be fair the sun did poke out for about twenty minutes or so yesterday. Somehow it is different waking up to bright blue sunny skies though. Four days plus without significant sunshine and somewhere between 20 and 24 inches of snow in 4 days are two things we do not see very often on the north end of the Madison Valley. Seeing the one for the first time in 5 days and the other finish is a welcome change.

I am not complain about all the snow. Quite the contrary, because my career and livelihood are dependent on water, I like to embrace the snow. I am not the most avid or active winter sports person, however I do not let that deter my enthusiasm for what will eventually bring water to rivers and lakes around me in the coming months. Shoveling, raking off roofs, digging out the cars and clearing places to park are all small inconveniences when compared to what all that frozen water means to Southwest Montana. So I embrace it. I try very hard not to complain about it.

Snow pack in the western Montana drainages is good to very good at this point with average or very above average SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) and precipitation for the month. We still have two of our wettest months yet to come.

Montana Snow Pack
Montana SWE percentage of normal

You can view the rest of the visual reports for snow pack and precipitation at the Montana SNOTEL site.

All that snow is not going anywhere in the near future as Ennis and the Madison Valley are looking at temps that will be between -15 and 5 for the next five to seven days. With all the snow and sub-zero temperatures for the foreseeable future its hard to believe that the first day of spring is just 19 days away. Given the current conditions it seems like a long way away. The fact that my boat is buried in snow and drifts from the plows it seems even further away. Next goal is to dig out the boat because weather can change fast in Montana. Enjoy winter while it lasts because it won’t last forever. Spring is coming.

As a Montana angler I am excited about the passing of another year. March 1st officially  marks the start of a new year. If you happen to mark the passing of your year like I do, which is when one fishing license year ends and the new license year begins. Today is officially the start of the new year. Yeah! You thought that was on January 1st. All this is just a friendly reminder to get your Montana Fishing License before heading out. With all these near zero temps it will still be a week or so.


Thanks for tuning in and like always….Keep your tip up!

Brian Rosenberg

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