Yelloiwstone and Missouri levels

I’m goint to leave the 12th of this month to Kayak as far down these two rivers as I can. I can’t fiugure out the flow charts so if anyone lives in the area that know the water levels that would help.

I tried to read the charts but I could not for the life of me find a way to compare it to historical levels past last year so without a comparison they really meant nothing. I di find an article that said the N.D. resovoirs were rising more than expected. Thanks for the help.

yellowstone flood
I live a block from the Yellowstone River. Its been in flood/high stage for a few weeks. Last week was the alltime high since 1917 and was running about 27,000 CFS. Its gone done about10 inches and will most likely continue to fall the rest of the summer. The flows took out one of the road bridges in Livingston stranding residents on Ninth Street Island for 8 days until a temporay military bridge is installed.

The river has actually been close for about a 10 mile section from Carters Bridge to the Highway 89 Bridge due to hazards, huge waves, bad funky currents and lots of debris including whole cottonwood trees. It “may” be open again soon especially by the time you start etc. There is a really nasty eddie directly under the Interstate 90 brige I would highly recommend taking out at river RIGHT and maybe cross over a short carry to the other channel which seprates Ninth Stree Island and Siebeck Islands. It would be about a 30 foot carry into the other channel and you would avoid this ugly eddie and also the NINTH St. Bridge which Im not sure you could get UNDER it today due to high water and the current would slam you into the temporary bridge. You may want to contact local police and see the restrictions. However if you took out at the above mentioned location you would avoid BOTH.

If you havent done the Yellowstone before your info a challeng at this time of year. EVERY bend has a rapid and with he high flows we are talking Class 2 maybe a three tossed in there too.

There really is never anyone who paddle it much this time of year especially with the later runnoff due to snow etc. So you would be the noverlty and also more at risk. Im not going to preach or survey your ability but I personally am going to wait a few weeks before I do that section. A father and son heading to WIlliston ND last week flipped near the golf course in Livingston and both barely made it to shore. THey lost everything…all gear, canoe, everything. SO keep your eyes open for dry bags and a smashed canoe .

I think currently today the river is running about 25K cfs and dropping.

How far you doing the Missouri? Ive done all that river too and I think with the high water it will help fill the low water reservoirs such as Lake Oahe which has been about 50 feet low. I dont think they are anywhere near fill capacity but defianately highger than the last decade.

Email me if you need connections, info,contacts, suggestions etc etc. Like i said i live on the river in Livingston.

Ft. Randall Dam
I drove across Ft. Randall Dam on June 19 at 9:00 A.M. I could have walked across the river bed below the dam as the Corps was holding water back to provide downstream flood relief. I’d never have recognized the rivulet as the Missouri River. Lake Francis Case, above the dam, was at near record levels for high water. When I again crossed the dam at 5:00 P.M., the downstream flow had resumed and what had been a mud flat below the dam was again a navigable river. So flows below the dams likely vary on an hourly basis, at least in June.

Yellowstone is high and murky
We were in northern Montana last week. Every time I saw the Yellowstone River I said, “Yuck”.

montana’s a big place
used to live in montana, but long enough ago that you should take this with a large grain of salt. you might want to think aboutthe upper missouri along the highline from great falls east–very pretty, easy camping, mostly flatwater. if you want to do the yellowstone, you might want to put in below big timber or billings. water will be less challenging but will still be quite cold–snow melt. the distances in montana are vast–unless you’ve got a lot of time, you won’t be doing both the yellowstone and the missouri.

I would stick with the missouri instead of the yellowstone when you start. I feel since you are new and the yellowstone is 700+ miles of advanced paddling at the current river level it would be foolish. The yellowstone has already claimed a few victoms from drowning the past week. And they were all wearing life jackets too.

Stick with the missouri. The several small reserviours at the begging will prepare you for ft peck lake which is no bigger…just big, scenic, solitude…you may not see anyone for a couple of days which is great. More water is in it due to flood runoff so thats a plus. Plus ft. peck will get you ready for the two huge reserviours in s. dakota.

As far a dropping your car off??? hmmmmm well not sure where you do that. If you had to do it in bozeman or belgrade, make a small cardboard sign that says “three Forks” on the other side one that says “state park-river” etc. I always hitchhike with my canoe paddle and usually get a ride the first car…different with a kayak paddle unless its a take a part…so wear your lifevest instead. I would drop off the kayak and all the gear at the boat ramp in three forks state park at the confluence. Then drop off your car and hitch back. I would help but im working lots and not sure of the timing factor etc. You could get a cab too from bozeman or belgrade proabably for 50 bucks. OR get on the yellowpages/ google fly fishing outfitters…most all have some form of a car shuttle for fly fishing people etc. They need someway too to get their vehicles moved…people actually do this for a job…so findout from them about the shuttle person and get a ride to the river from the car drop off.

hope that helps

Second that…
Wife and I have a cabin up in Paradise Valley upstream from Livingston and we’ve been staying there since early June. The river is still flooded. I think it doesn’t get down close to a normal level until it’s flowing well below 8,000 cfs, so it still has a ways to go. Up in the valley there is a lot of water that would be “easy” floating in that you could just stay in the middle and ride it out, but where it braids there are lots of ways to get in trouble, and your margin for error is very slim…if you make a mistake you stand a pretty good chance of dying from it.