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Western Montana river levels rise

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: May 14 2013 02:51:55 PM MDT
Updated On: May 14 2013 03:09:29 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Western Montana river levels are rising. Hot temperatures sparked spring runoff, and depending on the river and the landscape it flows through, waters are higher.

The Bitterroot River has been leaking over its banks at the Woodside Fishing Access site a couple days. It crept a little higher Monday night and early Tuesday morning. It isn't a good fishing climate.

A sportsman tried his luck on the Clark Fork River in Missoula.

"I didn't really expect to catch anything," said Jesse Manning. "High water like this, the visibility is pretty poor and some of the holes are difficult to reach."

The Clark Fork is running pretty swift.

Fishing experts said instead of the rivers, try fishing at local still waters or lakes, if they're open.

"Currently, the high water the way it is, not only are the rivers unfishable," said Matt Potter from Kingfisher Fly Shop in Missoula, "but they're dangerous."

A Missoula white-water rafting company is waiting out the high water.

"We're looking right on track for maybe this weekend to be back on the rivers" said Wayne Fairchild from Lewis and Clark Trail Adventures, "but now we're holding off for a few days until the rivers recede."

Fairchild said it shouldn't be long. On the computer, he looks at a graph of the Lochsa River in Idaho. Fairchild thinks it has peaked and has started to recede.

"I think with the cooler temperatures and the water coming back down the next week or two," said Fairchild, "I think we're right on schedule for a good white-water rafting season."