From the desk of Trouts' Tucker Ladd
What a difference two weeks can make. As I finished last month's snowpack/runoff update, I was under the assumption that it would be my last update of the spring season. But, the last two weeks have produced a vastly different snowpack and spring runoff outlook in many parts of the state, so I wanted to provide another update as to where our snowpack currently sits, and what that means for our annual runoff. Below is the snowpack map noted in my previous snowpack/runoff update.
Now compare this to the snowpack map dated 6/7/22.
While the Western part of the state didn’t see tremendous change, the South Platte and Arkansas River basins experienced a substantial increase in the snowpack, which translates to more water flowing East of the Continental Divide in the coming months. What makes this even better is the fact that since we have higher snowpack on the East side of the Continental Divide, more water will be kept on the West side since Front Range demand will largely be met with what is in the South Platte and Arkansas River basins. So while we’re certainly not where we would like to be in regards to our current snowpack, we are in a better position than we were a mere two weeks ago.
So what does this all mean as it pertains to our annual runoff? At this point, the remaining snow in the High Country is at or above 10,000’ in elevation, which is good as we’re not seeing high temperatures for prolonged durations. This will help keep this snow melting at a slower pace, providing rivers and streams with a consistent source of fresh water. Reservoirs will continue to fill, with releases from these holding ponds likely coming later in the month. As last year proved, Colorado’s vast inventory of reservoirs significantly helps us weather lower water summers, and seeing as we’re currently above where we were this time last year, we have a good sense of what’s to come.
For the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue to see higher river flows and off-color water, but with runoff having peaked, we should see things start to improve before the end of June. In the interim focus your fishing on tailwaters and still waters, but be sure to watch flows on your favorite free-stone river as there will certainly be opportunities to enjoy some highwater fishing. If you’re not sure where to head this weekend simply reach out to either of our store locations for professional advice on where to go, and how best to get into some fish while you’re on the water.