I am drunk. I have been drunk since the beginning of May. It is not the kind of drunk you measure in BAC, but the kind you measure in CFS. I am drunk with runoff. I haven't seen normal flows in nearly three months and it's affecting me.
At this point, enough fluid has passed me by, that my beer goggles are in full effect. From afar, any and all clear water looks low and worthy of my fishing attention. This past week, the Clark Fork, the Bitterroot, and the Big Hole all have looked beautifully low.
While all of those rivers could be considered fishable, for a man without a boat, they are far too high to effectively fish. Last weekend, I fished the Big Hole. It was flowing at more than 4,000 cfs or, in more relatable terms, at least four times higher than I have ever fished it. While it gave up a couple dinks, it certainly wasn't the Big Hole I have come to love.
On the way back from the Big Hole, I passed by the Bitterroot. Up high, near Darby (water that I hadn't seen yet), I exclaimed, "Look at the Bitterroot, it looks maaad low right now." The goggles were in full effect. As we drove downstream and passed more familiar water, I realized that the Bitterroot was indeed still high. High and clear. Fishable, if you were ON A BOAT.
Certainly these rivers are on the drop, but, my runoff drunk has me thinking it is a typical low water summer. I just hope this high water hangover doesn't last too long.