Trouts Journal

Colorado Snowpack Update - 1/4/22

Tucker Ladd / Jan 4, 2022

“Snowpack Updates” are a Winter/Spring blog series offered by Trouts Owner, Tucker Ladd, and are meant to keep our readers updated on the condition of our mountain snowpack, as well as helping readers understand what these conditions and numbers mean for the upcoming fishing season.

I want to start out by noting that this is the earliest Snowpack Update I have offered in 16 years and rest assured that there is a good reason for this. Typically I tend to hold off on offering my perspective on our annual snowpack until at least February, as it generally is by this time of year that we begin to have some semblance of how our snowpack is measuring up to previous years. With that said, being a native of Colorado, I cannot remember a drier fall and early winter than what we experienced in 2021, and the drastic turnaround we witnessed during the middle half of December was remarkable.

So to start, let’s examine where we were at before going into the current numbers. The following is a map noting the Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) for the state of Colorado compared to previous years.

As you can see, we were well below average for most of the state, with areas of extreme drought in the Southwest. As I noted above, I have lived in Colorado my entire life, and I can’t remember a fall and early winter season as dry as last year. And while it was concerning and nerve-wracking at the time to watch calendar days disappear with no moisture to show for it, history has taught me to be patient when it comes to our annual snowfall. Now fast forward one month, and the following is where our current Mountain Snowpack is currently sitting.

As you can see, we have taken a nearly 180-degree turn from early December and are sitting above average in every river basin, except for the Arkansas River. The inevitable question now is what does this mean for the rest of our winter, and more importantly, for the upcoming Spring fishing season? The most straightforward answer is that it is simply too early to tell, and other than the fact that we are now sitting on a respectable snowpack for the beginning of January, there isn’t much else to interpret from this data. So, for the time being, let the skiers, snowboarders, and other snow sports enthusiasts rejoice, and all the avid anglers and river users in the state can take a deep sigh of relief knowing that our annual mountain snowpack has finally begun to take shape.

I will provide all of our readers with another Snowpack Update in early February, as well as conditions and weather permits. Otherwise, in the interim, visit us in-store or online to ensure you get the most of your next day on the water.

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