The complimentary thunderbolt about Painted Rocks Lake that Check Stranahan shot my way in his column was a surprise! Thanks for the kind words, Chuck.
It is true that I as President of Bitterroot TU in the 1980’s expended a lot of time on securing the leased water for the sportsmen and the irrigators – ultimately the river!
However, many others also worked very hard on this project and I would be remiss not to mention them and to acknowledge their staunch efforts. In no particular order, they were Montana TU Resource Director Stan Bradshaw, sportsmen/guides Andre Carlson and Dave Odell, irrigator Jack Iman, Ravalli County legislator Bob Thoft, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Fisheries Biologists Mark Lere, Ron Spoon and Chris Clancy, MFWP Fisheries Division Chief and later Director Patrick Graham, and the first Bitterroot River Commissioner Vern Woolsey. There are probably others whose names the fog of time has obscured, but I believe these were the key players in our initial efforts.
In very dry years when the inflow into the lake is only about 70 cubic feet per second and dropping, it is laughable to suppose that the Painted Rocks water can generate 400 cfs of flow at Bell Crossing. We should be very thankful that we have the water we do, and extend our appreciation to MFWP biologist Chris Clancy, current River Commissioner Al Pernichele, and DNRC dam manager Larry Schock.