Spring is officially here and with summer just around the corner, the shift to longer days, running rivers, and rising trout is finally upon us. This season is shaping up to be outstanding throughout the Rocky Mountain West, with most water basins reporting well above average snowpack levels. As snow begins to melt this translates into more cold water in our watersheds, which in turn means healthier streams and happier trout. Be prepared for a longer period of high water this year but also a sustained level of flows throughout the summer. Right now most areas are transitioning to full-fledged run off, but this will help to set up what promises to be one of the finest summers of fly-fishing conditions in recent Colorado history.
Colorado River Basin
According to the NRCS, the Colorado River Basin is currently at 127% of average snowpack, which is great considering this time last year we were well below average. Guides in the area are already reporting sight of salmon flies, and the epic stonefly hatch should begin any day now. With off color water and rising flows, rivers are still very fishable through run off with an adjusted approach. (Ranches in this area: Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch, Bear Wallow Ranch, Black Bear Ranch.)
The northwestern part of the state encompassed by the Yampa and White River drainages is currently at 143% of average snowpack. Reports from the area are that these
streams are already in run-off mode. A healthy flush is welcome this year and will blow out sediment and debris causing the river to be clean and clear once the heavy snowmelt subsides. Due to their high elevation, the Flattops should hold a stockpile of cold water that will trickle down these rivers throughout most of the summer. As a result, insect hatches and dry fly fishing should be remarkable this year. (Elk Creek Ranch, Big Creek Ranch, K-T Ranch, Porcupine Ridge Ranch.)
East of the continental divide, the Arkansas and South Platte River Basins are reporting 169% and 150% of average snowpack, respectively. These are very optimistic numbers! Warmer days recently have pushed the rivers closer to the edge of entering full
run off. Guides in the area are still reporting up to one foot of water visibility, however the river should swing into high and dirty this week with sustained higher temperatures. Central Colorado has a great water outlook for the upcoming fishing season. (Michigan Creek Ranch, Whitten Ranch, Rivercliffe Ranch.)
The southwestern part of the state is no different, with the Gunnison and San Juan basins reporting approximately 140% of average snowpack. Current conditions on the Gunnison and San Juan remain in fishable pre-runoff mode due to cooler weather stalling the snowmelt. The Animas, Piedra, and San Miguel Rivers are all seeing rising water levels. These relatively under-pressured areas remain a good option in spring and can produce memorable fishing in higher water with streamers and stoneflies. Regional lakes and reservoirs also provide options if seeking clear undisturbed water. SW Colorado Rivers are primed for a solid amount of spring melt and should expect an ideal summer season. (Rocking Bar MB Ranch, Canyon Creek Ranch.)
All in all, anglers have plenty to be excited about as we move into summer. Mirr Ranch Group current inventory offers a wide spectrum of fly-fishing oriented properties throughout Colorado. We also specialize in assisting buyers in finding and acquiring fly-fishing ranches all over Colorado and beyond. As you peruse these one-of-a-kind places, please let us know if we can be of service by identifying opportunities for you, answering questions, or providing any further information.