Season Forecast & Runoff Update for May 3, 2023

Posted on May 4th, 2023 in Season Forecasts, Weather & Water Conditions

Just a quick update as I’m busy with trips (heading up to the MO for a few days, since we’re muddy near Livingston) and NOAA has not updated snowpack totals lately.

Spring (summer?) hit with a bang this past week. We had not had more than 1-2 days over 70 degrees all spring, and most were in the 40s-50s. That changed a week ago. We have been in the 70s and maybe pushing 80 today. This has pushed all area waters into runoff. Even the Lower Madison is “meh.” Very slow fishing the past few days, anyway, with murky water, no risers, and some detritus in the river.

This MAY push likely summer “fishable dates” a week earlier, though there is still A LOT of low snow. As of yesterday (May 2), there was still snow cornices on NE-facing hilltops adjacent to the highway in Livingston, at less than 4600 feet above sea level. High-elevation snowpack has barely budged yet. Moreover, we’re looking at a cool spell next week. Temps in Livingston are supposed to drop from this week’s absurd highs (windows in the house open all night) to highs in the 50s by Saturday.

The cool spell is going to mean money fishing on the Yellowstone and probably the Boulder and Stillwater Rivers, with Mother’s Day Caddis out and about, probably from Weds next week through at least the following Sunday (the Sunday in question being Mother’s Day). Flows are forecast to drop from 6000+ cubic feet per second to a bit over 3000. BIG improvement, and almost certain to fish well. Even if there aren’t any caddis, these runoff breaks almost always turn out lots of big fish on streamers.

Long story short: runoff now, a break in a week, and maybe a SLIGHTLY earlier end to the runoff in late June and early July, compared to our most recent report.

Missouri River fishing report this weekend!

Predicted flows for the Yellowstone River near Corwin Springs

Predicted Yellowstone River flows for the next ten days. That “flatline” is going to be a sweet spot for great fishing before the next peak of runoff hits following the next warmup.