The Madison River recorded very low flows early Tuesday, Nov. 30, due to a broken gate on Hebgen Dam that controls water flow. Few, if anybody, noticed the problem until sunup.
The Hebgen Dam release gate is open and outflows to the Madison River were restored just before midnight on Wednesday, Dec. 1. Follow-up work is still required, but water in the river has reached normal levels.
A full fishing closure that was implemented in the upper Madison River will be lifted on Friday now that a gate at Hebgen Dam has been repaired and river flows are returning to normal.
A full fishing closure is in effect for the upper Madison River from Ennis Lake upstream to Hebgen Dam.
A malfunction at Hebgen Dam caused flows on the Madison River to drop Tuesday, stranding fish on riffles and concentrating fish in deep water. NorthWestern Energy is working to fix the dam.
NorthWestern Energy working to restore Hebgen Dam gate functionality and full river flows to the Madison River
Water flow from Hebgen Dam to the Madison River significantly decreased Nov. 30 when a gate component failed on the dam’s outlet structure, decreasing the opening for the outtake of water at the bottom of the gate.
Trout fisheries are below 20-year averages in the upper reaches of the Madison River and at Hebgen Reservoir. While Hebgen and Madison dams work in part to mitigate temperatures and maintain flows, an already hot summer heightens concern for the forests and the fish.
Service members were heavy on the minds of many over the last week as communities celebrated Memorial Day. Three current service members were also recently honored, in this case with a complimentary fly fishing experience at Madison Double R.
The Fish & Wildlife Commission will hold a public hearing to consider an amendment voted on by the commissioners relating to the implementation of the commercial use cap on the Madison River.
Montana Fish & Wildlife Commissioners moved to extend the closure of the Ennis Fishing Access Site (FAS) until June 30 during a meeting on April 1. Commissioners also voted 4-1 to delay the implementation of the Madison River commercial cap, as part of the Madison River Recreation Management rules adopted by the Secretary of State in Dec.
The rules regulating recreation use on the Madison River will be official on Dec. 24, even though nearly all of the rules, as adopted by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission, won’t be implemented until 2022.