Trouts Journal

Colorado Snowpack Update - It Just Keeps Getting Better

Ivan Orsic / Apr 17, 2013

Pick your idiom: it ain’t over till it’s over, it isn’t over till the fat lady sings, don’t count your chicken until they’re hatched.

No matter which saying you prefer, these are all great ways to describe the roller coaster spring weather we are experiencing in Colorado, and how it will ultimately affect our 2013 Snowpack and summer fishing season. As noted by Scott Willoughby of the Denver Post, thanks to the recent bout of wintery weather, our statewide snowpack is now 82% of average. Compared to last year, we’re 200% of the 2012 average in many river basins. So while we all may be feeling a bit saddened and frustrated by the lack of warm spring conditions, the benefits we will all reap from this weather will have long reaching positive impacts on our summer fishing season and overall water supply in Colorado.

So how will all this new snow effect our spring fishing season?

The answer to this question is really up to Mother Nature. Typically we see statewide snowpack begin to melt around the 15th of April, so this recent storm is putting us in a position where our snowpack is growing, not shrinking. So depending on what sort of weather we see in the coming months, we will most likely see one of two scenarios.

Scenario 1: a long drawn out spring that includes cooler than normal temperatures will allow for a slow melt of our snowpack, and a longer than normal runoff. Fishing will remain good, as water flows will increase steadily, diminishing the likelihood of a big spikes in flows and unfishable conditions. This will ultimately be very similar to what we experienced during the spring of 2010.

Scenario 2: Colorado will experience normal spring weather with warm temperatures across the state. This will in turn melt our snowpack at a quick pace, creating a fast and furious spring runoff. While this scenario will leave most freestone rivers in Colorado in unfishable condition, this process should be pretty quick and will get us all back on the water in a couple of weeks. One upside to this option is that the large flushing flows we would experience would be a huge benefit to our rivers, particularly after the non-existent runoff we experienced in 2012.

So no matter how this spring plays out, let's count our blessings that we’re finally receiving some much needed snow across the Colorado High Country, which will in turn give us all what we’ve been asking for: a banner 2013 fishing season.

As usual, if you have any questions regarding fishing conditions please feel free to call the shop at (303) 733-1434 or email us at

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