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Trouts Journal

Weekly Runoff Update: Memorial Day Edition

Ivan Orsic / May 24, 2017


Mud season, shoulder season, runoff season. Call it what you will, but we are amidst that special time of year when our western rivers swell with the melting our winter's bounty, ultimately choking off access to our favorite streams… or that’s at least how far too many anglers perceive this time of year. Truth be told, this is a time of year when the fishing can be ON FIRE, you just have to know how to read the signs and where to look. Here at Trouts, we are constantly checking flows and keeping updated with the latest forecasted weather patterns in the Colorado High Country in order to stay one step ahead of the annual runoff cycle. So in order to keep all of our customers as up-to-date as possible with the current runoff, we’ll be publishing a “Weekly Runoff Update & Forecast." For our first installment, let’s start by stating, RUNOFF HASN’T STARTED YET!

After we issued our annual Spring Runoff Forecast in Mid-May, temperatures in the high country have remained relatively cool and the flows on many of our freestones have dropped considerably in the last week. The Colorado SnoTEL Snowpack map (updated on May 11, 2017) notes that as a state were at 100% of average SWE (snow water equivalent). Since this report the Colorado High Country has received another round of substantial snowfall, which will only increase our state’s snowpack. With continued cool weather at high elevation over the next 10 days, we wouldn’t expect much of the high elevation snow to melt this holiday weekend. As such, we would anticipate flows on many of our freestones to remain relatively stable with minor fluctuations due to localized precipitation and some of that low elevation snow melting. This forecast is ideal for anglers, as it gives us another weekend of productive fishing prior to the big event (i.e. RUNOFF!). With sightings of big salmon fly adults along the Middle Colorado and continued improvement in water clarity on the Colorado, Arkansas, and Roaring Fork, Memorial Day weekend is set up for some prime late spring fishing conditions on our freestones rivers.

With regards to our tailwaters, late spring fishing continues to be in full effect. We’ve seen some recent bumps in flows on the South Platte below Cheesman Reservoir, still have slightly elevated flows on the Blue River through Silverthorne, and have seen a jump in flows on the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir. Anytime there is a bump in flow on a tailwater, it is a great time to be fishing these waters. Bigger bugs, happier fish, and more holding water equals better fishing on our local tailwaters. With that being said, this next week is really shaping up to be a can’t miss weekend on most all of our waters: freestones, tailwaters, stillwaters, and warmwater, alike.

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