Welcome to our weekly Runoff Update and Forecast for June 7th, 2017. After last week's update, I was hopeful that we would begin to see our rivers rise and our snowpack fall, but unfortunately only one of these predictions came true. As of today, it is fair to say with certainty that we are officially in the throws of runoff. Freestone rivers across the state are all on the rise, with river levels climbing quickly with the recent warmer weather. We are still seeing fishable conditions on many freestone rivers, but this window of opportunity is quickly fading. Tailwaters, on the other hand, are all fishing outstanding. So, our standard runoff salvation is a great place to get out and wet a line. A few tailwaters are seeing higher than normal flows (The Lower Blue and Blue River below Dillon Reservoir, for example), but despite larger flows, the fishing has remained productive. So, the down and dirty report would be that there is certainly fishing to be had during this years runoff, you just need to know where to look. This is where Trouts comes in! In the coming weeks, be sure to keep an eye on our River Reports and Blog, as we’re constantly updating river/fishing conditions from across the state.
So, now onto the million dollar question, how long will runoff last now that it’s finally here? I will start off by noting that I have lived in Colorado my entire life, and I cannot remember a runoff that was as prolonged as this year's annual melt. As of June 6th, our statewide snowpack sits at 218% of our annual average (I know, my jaw dropped too when I read this number).
As you can see from the map above, every river basin in the state with the exception of the Yampa & White, North Platte and Upper Rio Grande is currently at 150%+ of average, with some basins topping out at over 400%. Now let’s all be clear on what this data tells us. As I noted in last weeks Runoff Update, our state has a surplus of snow currently sitting at 10,500’+ that has yet to melt. So, what these numbers are saying is that in years past we have had substantially less snow compared to what we currently have. So, what we are looking at is an abundance of cold and fresh water that is waiting to run into our rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs.
Now, how long it is going to take is anybody’s guess. We’re supposed to have temperatures in the upper 80’s to low 90’s in Denver over the weekend, along with mid to upper 70 degree temps up in Frisco. With a warm spell slowly descending upon Colorado, it is fair that this weekend is going to bring substantial increases to our state's freestone rivers. State officials have already begun to issue warnings to all boaters, and we are following suit to our wade fishing and float fishing customers. Be warned, we are going to see river flows at dangerous levels this weekend, so please wade and float according to your ability level. With the necessary PSA out of the way, we want to be open and honest with our customers, and the honest truth is that there is going to be phenomenal fishing in along many stretches of Colorado’s famed rivers. Additionally, the warm water fishing around Denver has been outstanding lately, as has the still-water fishing on many local lakes and reservoirs.
In the end more water is a better scenario to be in versus no water, so we should all be thankful for what mother nature has supplied us. Regardless of how the snow comes down, we’re all going to benefit from these flushing flows and inevitable happy and hungry fish. Always remember that our mission at Trouts is to ensure our customers have a memorable day on the water, and this certainly holds true during our annual runoff. We look forward to seeing you in one of our stores over the weekend, or maybe we’ll see you out on the water.
Owner, Trouts Fly Fishing