Trouts Journal

Colorado Snowpack Update - 2/24/23 Edition

Tucker Ladd / Feb 24, 2023

From the desk of Trouts' Tucker Ladd

As we approach the conclusion of February, I figured it would be an ideal time to offer our readers another Snowpack Update. The past month has offered continued snowfall and colder temperatures in the Colorado High Country, helping to maintain the above-average levels of our winter snowpack. As you can see from the Snowpack Map below, statewide levels sit at over 100% for most river basins, with the exemption of the Arkansas River which is hovering around 80% of the average.

This is all comforting news when you compare things to this same time last year when snowpack levels were below 100% for a majority of Colorado. This was largely due to a warmer and drier month of February, where the plentiful snow that had fallen across the state in December and January decreased substantially from previous periods.

But the real winner of this winter is the Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) that is being held in our High Country snow. For a while the level of the snowpack at our higher elevations is certainly important, the amount of water held within the snow is what translates to spring runoff, and we are currently at levels not seen in a number of years.

As you can see from the hydrograph below, our current month-to-date snowfall totals are well above what we experienced in 2022 and 2021 and are handsomely above the median year-to-date average.

While none of this is any guarantee that the wet and cold weather we have experienced this winter will continue through the remainder of the season, it does provide us a handsome foundation to work with as we head into the wettest months of the year, that being March, April, and May.

In the interim, we have a solid winter forecast on the horizon. Snowfall is forecasted starting early next week and lasting into the beginning of March, with another storm cycle predicted to hit the Rocky Mountain West the following week. While this is not an ideal forecast for anyone looking to get out fishing, we all much keep in mind that all of this winter weather is only going to translate into full rivers and happy fish come spring and summer.

If you are looking to get on the water in the near future, tailwater fisheries are going to remain your best bet for open water and feeding fish. Rivers like the South Platte, Arkansas below Pueblo Reservoir are great options to avoid the crowded mountain highways, but winter staples like the Blue, Williams Fork, Frying Pan, and Taylor are all worthy options as well.

As always, our experienced staff is always ready to assist you in preparing for your time on the water, so swing by either of our store locations or hit us up over the phone or online. I’ll be sure to reach back out with another Snowpack Update as conditions dictate, but in the interim, I hope all of our customers get a chance to enjoy the snow on the slopes, or even better wetting a line for some fantastic winter fishing.

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