Western Snowpack Points to Excellent Fishing

If you’ve ever considered a fishing trip to the Western U.S., 2008 might be the year to stop procrastinating and—in sneaker-selling jargon--just do it!

From Montana to Arizona—and the Eastern Front to the Sierras—the best mountain snowpack in decades points to spectacular runoff, high streams and overflowing reservoirs.

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The venerable Ed Dentry, longtime outdoors writer at Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, reports this week that bass and crappie will find plenty of spawnable shallows at Western reservoirs this spring—and that’s good news for warm-water anglers.

Dentry writes that the snowpack across Colorado currently stands at 132 percent of average, and Denver-area reservoirs are already 90 percent full. What all this likely means for anglers is that river runoff will be long, many reservoirs flush and productive, and high mountain lakes could be stocked with trout until late summer.

In southern Colorado, the highest above-average snowpacks are at the upper Rio Grande, 163 percent; Arkansas, 155 percent; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan, 152 percent; Gunnison, 145 percent.

Even down Arizona way, fisheries managers say 2008 is shaping up to offer desert anglers their best fishing in 25 years.

According to Salt River Project (SRP) authorities, the projected runoff from the current snowpack in The Grand Canyon State is more than enough to fill Roosevelt Lake for the first time since its dam was raised in 1996.

Fisheries biologists with the Arizona Game and Fish Department see great things happening this year not just at Roosevelt, but most of the other fishing lakes as well.

“This looks like an historic year in our fisheries, in large part because of the tremendous runoff in 2005 and resulting spawns, but also because of the widespread deep snowpack in the high country we haven’t experienced since at least 1993,” said Fisheries Branch Chief Kirk Young.