It seems like the entire state of Wyoming has been locked in a perpetual blizzard for the last several months, up until the past week. As per usual, the shift from winter to gorgeous spring conditions was made with seemingly no transition period, and just like that we have open water, warm weather, and fishing season is upon us!
We can certainly expect a big runoff this year with nearly every drainage in the state well over average snowpack for the season. Here in the North Platte drainage of southern Wyoming, we are sitting at 132% above average, which should make for great conditions deeper into the season, even if we don't get a considerable amount of moisture throughout April and May.
On this day last year, the North Platte drainage was at 83% of average snowpack, and continued to get worse throughout the spring months due to a lack of late-season moisture. That will not be the case this year as we have been over 100% of average for almost the entire winter, and we will almost certainly be well over that by the end of spring.
Additionally, the Laramie and North Platte drainage of northern Colorado is currently 131% of average snowpack for the year, meaning the mountains in North Park feeding the headwaters of the North Platte will be providing ample snowmelt to runoff this year.
Runoff will certainly be a lot larger than last year, and given the amount of snow at a variety of elevation levels, should last quite a bit longer this season as well. Runoff was low and quick last season, but that should not be the case this year. Expect a period of completely unfishable water at some point. Last season, we were able to skate around the peak runoff window and find some fishable water on a few smaller tributaries, that may not be the case this year and we may find ourselves confined to lake fishing for a week or two at some point in May or June.
Following runoff, fishing conditions should be better than we have seen them in the past couple of seasons. The past few years, late July into August have seen low water and high temperatures, making for poor fishing conditions. That should not be the case this season, with a huge snowpack across the state, we should be experiencing quality fishing conditions, cooler water, and good flows into the fall months this year.
More water will make for a longer season, more insect activity, and more places for fish to spread out - 2023 is shaping up to be a great year for fly fishing here in southern Wyoming!
Freeflow Outdoors Fishing Report
We will continue to keep you updated on the southern Wyoming fly fishing report as we move into the 2023 fly fishing season. Be sure to check out this blog for weekly fishing reports from May - September.
Be sure to check out the "Fly Fishing" tab on our website for updated fishing reports, more information on our local fishery, fly shop and guided fly fishing trips in southern Wyoming!