Colorado’s 2018 Snowpack Was over 160% from Annual Average

Much like many of the western states, Colorado’s snowpack is up over the annual average and there is still more snow to come. So exactly does this mean for the fishing and fisheries?

Photo: Shannon Outing

2018 broke a lot of hearts. Like a high school crush turned angsty pop punk song subject; the 2018 Colorado trout season left us bruised, disenchanted, and thirsty. With an abysmal snowpack, followed by a summer plagued with fires, flash floods, and fish kills; we were ready to bury the memory of this bizarre year.

Photo: Kara Lewis

Our expectations in tatters for the 2019 season, we still kept a secret candle of hope lit for better snow. And then, the unrelenting forces of nature took to work and produced something extraordinary. Our expectations have since been obliterated in the wildest possible way: this is one of the best snowpacks in recent memory.

Photo: Kara Lewis

As I write this, we are sliding off the tail end of March and the mountains of Southern Colorado are still getting crushed with snowstorms. Precipitation will continue on through the weekend, as will the spring storms into May.

Photo: Shannon Outing

For those with a statistical mind, we are currently sitting at 160% of average snowpack…or almost 300% of last year’s dry winter and we aren’t even done yet.

So what does this mean for spring fishing in Colorado?  Well, first of all, we can expect a large runoff with some massive peak flows. How quick runoff comes and goes really depends on how fast the heat of summer rolls in. Even then, we still have lot of snow in the high country to get down the mountain.

Photo: Shannon Outing

We are expecting big water to last a  while, potentially most of the summer. This is pretty incredible as Colorado could use a good long float season. Throwing big dries from a boat through the majority of the summer months is a far cry from last’s year’s heart-wrenching events.

Photo: Kara Lewis

Hopefully, you are busy at the vise right now, cranking out some big trout snacks. You are going to need them.

Words from Andy McKinley of the Duranglers Fly Shop based in South-Western Colorado. You can get in touch with Andy at

Photos from Kara Lewis and Shannon Outing.

Check out these Winter Fishing Articles:

Streamers in the Snow – Presented by Ross and Abel Reels

Winter Fly Fishing Tips: Making the Most Out of Winter Fly Fishing

Landon Mayer’s 5 Winter Trout Fishing Secrets


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