It will be a while before the water starts spilling over the top of Painted Rocks since the reservoir is still filling for the 2022 season.
The 25,000 acre feet of water released annually is a tonic for the fishery and an irrigation balm for the members of the Painted Rocks Water Users Association (PRWUA). Key to the arrangement is cooperation between the various state agencies and user groups.
If you are an angler, guide or recreational floater who benefits from the water, you can express your appreciation by helping at the annual dam clean up day on Wednesday, April 27. The PRWUA, in concert with MT DNRC, Trapper Creek Job Corps Center, and MT FWP, will be conducting the annual Painted Rocks Dam Clean Up Day and BBQ on Wednesday, April 27, 2022. The purpose of the work is to remove and burn the large amount of woody debris that washes up and is deposited annually on the dam spillway and face.
Volunteers are needed to assist with picking up and piling, or depositing into bucket loaders, limbs and sawn sections of logs so they can be transported to designated burn areas. Following the cleanup work, PRWUA and MT FWP will once again provide a BBQ lunch at the Rombo Campground, with hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings for all volunteers.
PRWUA spokesperson Roger Raynal has specifically asked TU members to volunteer, pointing out that “never was there a clearer case of ‘many hands make light work’ so again, PRWUA really appreciates your efforts!”
Meet on the dam road at 9 a.m. (parking available at the boat ramp access site just past the dam). Wear good boots with ankle support, gloves, and have warm and dry clothing in case of wind, rain or snow. Volunteers will be climbing up and down on the exposed rip-rap dam face. Weather and wind coming off of the reservoir can be challenging at times. Heavy equipment will be used, along with chainsaws and cables to cut and pull log sections up onto the road for transport.
Contact Roger Raynal at (406) 369-1730 by April 15th to confirm participation so a “head count” can be made in order to purchase sufficient food and supplies for lunch.
–Information reprinted from Trout Unlimited newsletter.