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> > Crazy Colorado Snowpack

MotroutJuly 21st, 2011, 11:58 pm
Posts: 319
I've had a trip planned to Northwest Colorado for a few months now, and just out of curiousity I was checking the water levels and fishing reports on the rivers I'm gonna be fishing, the White, Yampa, etc. I knew the snowpack was unusually high this year, but I was still pretty shocked. Here it is almost the last week in July, and and it appears that spring runoff is still going strong. Both rivers still running at approximately 5x normal flows, muddy, and still pretty well unfishable. I never thought I'd be saying this about an August trip, but I'm beginning to get concerned that things are going to be on the high side even when I get out there in a couple weeks. We'll just have to see. When I had planned this trip a few months back, I was very worried about the timing, because these reaches of these rivers after they spill out into the foothills can easily be low and warm by then. I guess at least I probably don't have to worry about that.

I lived out in Colorado for five years, and it was never anything like this. A late run-off was when the rivers were still high and muddy by the beginning of July, not three weeks into the month. I'm not really sure why I'm posting this, but it seems to odd. Certainly it is better than a super light snowpack years where the rivers would be running low by now, at least better for the fish that is.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
AdirmanJuly 22nd, 2011, 7:12 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 505
I hear ya but on the upside, the trout are probably enjoying pretty decent water temps right now, even in this heat, considering. Might actually work to your advantage. Trout fishing, IMHO, usually kinda sucks in August but maybe not out west this year!
PaulRobertsJuly 22nd, 2011, 8:36 am

Posts: 1776
We're definitely on the downside, but I saw the Yampa about three weeks ago and it was almost at record flow. Clarity was fine around Steamboat though.
There will be fishing in much of the trout stretches now. But definitely call a shop ahead of your trip and ask.

Heat is almost never an issue here, due to snowpack and thin air (cold nights). And you can always go up in elevation.
OldredbarnJuly 22nd, 2011, 12:19 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608
Guys...You are breaking my heart! It was 100 out here yesterday in Detroit...I agree with Adirman though...I always like the river to have some water in it when I get there and think, to a degree, you maybe hitting it out there at a good time.

Send us a postcard!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
MotroutJuly 23rd, 2011, 8:07 pm
Posts: 319
"Guys...You are breaking my heart! It was 100 out here yesterday in Detroit.."
I know what you're saying. We are topping 100 most everyday down here in Missouri and my little trout creek isn't even close to fishable except if you're in to yanking them from spring-holes. All you Colorado and Montana folks on here, please send some of your snow pack out this way!
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
WestCOJuly 29th, 2011, 2:48 pm
Palisade, CO

Posts: 65
Everything is perfect right now. In the middle of July we had a ton of rain and the runoff was expedited. It resulted in a lot of flooding in the lowlands and the basins, but the flows rapidly recovered. The Frying Pan which is my home river was running at over 800 CFS which is huge for that river. The mean for the middle of July is around 200. I went yesterday and it was running a 226 and the fishing was the best I've ever seen it. I felt trapped for the month of July because the flows were so bad, but as of Monday they are now perfect. Unfortunately that means every angler in the state is out, but I had no problem getting on my favorite stretch at 8:00 AM. Just remember the guides head out at 9:00 so if you get to the river before then you should be ok.
...but fishermen I have noticed, they don't care if I'm rich or poor, wearing robes or waders, all they care about is the fish, the river, and the game we play. For fishermen, the only virtues are patience, tolerance, and humility. I like this.
MotroutAugust 5th, 2011, 12:49 am
Posts: 319
Thanks for the advice. I sure appreciate the info.

The plan now looks more like we are going to be pretty much exclusively fishing some really remote waters in the White River National Forest.This in the hope of avoiding crowds, seeing some unspoiled country, and hopefully catching a few native cutthroat. Pretty much all places we plan to fish are in the 9500-11,000 elevation range, so we probably won't get any big ones, but I think we can get past that giving the surroundings in the area. We're hoping for some dry fly fishing, as I've heard some decent reports of Callibaetis on the high lakes. Leaving Sunday morning.

At least this is the plan for now, but these things can always change.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach

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