Lower temperatures have lessened flooding concerns in the Bitterroot Valley.

The river slipped above the 7.5 foot flood stage at the Darby river gauge this week and was at 7.71 feet at 8:15 a.m. Thursday May 29. Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey gauge at Bell Crossing was still below the 11 foot flood stage Thursday morning. The recorded level was 9.87 feet.

Those levels still result in minor flooding in the general vicinity of the Bitterroot River. Of course, the river itself is flowing fast and is filled with debris from washed out riverbanks. A river like the Bitterroot often changes channels during high water and the route floaters take one year may not be the main channel on the next year.

The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks issued warnings to those who want to boat on any river during high water season. They suggest you not do it because of debris in water, log jams that can trap a boat, bridge abutments that catch debris, muddy water that hides other hazards and cold water that quickly leads to hypothermia if you fall in.

FWP has closed most Montana Fishing Access Sites along the Bitterroot River.