Bitterroot is a Fast, Full River
The Bitterroot River has come back up after an early rise this spring.
The stream level is still a foot below flood stage at Bell Crossing, but the lowland areas are seeing water in places, at times over private roads.
There are other things to do this Memorial Day weekend than float the river.
We always remind people that the river is very dangerous during high water, because it flushes out a lot of dead trees and limbs from the winter. Those pieces of wood float on the water or under the water or where you least expect it. That makes floating the river a very hazardous thing to do. The debris can overturn boats and trap gear and boaters beneath the water. And if you do fall in, the water is extemely cold, and saps your energy quickly.
The river is running brown with dirt and sand, too. And the fishermen know that means no “catch of the day.” They stay off the river, so you should, too.
Fishing Access Sites are often closed during high water. You can check which ones are open at the Fish Wildlife and Parks website.