2014 Early Season Forecast
Apr 23, 2014
It’s always a bit of an educated guess before the season begins and before any reports are in, but my record has been cautious but good. So here’s the fearless forecast for this season, buttressed by some actual hard data:
- Water conditions look excellent, and that’s no guess. We have about 125% of normal moisture in the snowpack, so should have plenty of water as that snow melts in the Henry’s Fork watershed.
- We already have plenty of water stored up. Henry’s Lake is already 90% full and Island Park Reservoir is 83% full even before runoff has begun. Once the snow begins to melt they will both fill to 100% and early in the season.
- Fish & Game’s count of fish showed that the trout population was about double the historic average last season! With the good water conditions over this past winter, we can expect a similar trout population this season as well. Many of the fish that added to the high counts were “fifth year seniors” - the 20-24” trophies – that survived an extra year and grew extra big.
I expect we’ll have hatches that may be a bit later than usual because of early season water conditions. This should be a banner year for the gray drakes on the lower river, one of the river’s greatest hatches and one that produces some of the season’s finest fishing, in June.
The other fork of the Snake, the South Fork, also has abundant moisture in the snowpack – about 150% of normal. Its reservoirs, however, are very low – Jackson Lake at 31% full and Palisades at only 29% full. How soon and how much will be released from the reservoirs as they fill does not show up in my crystal ball. I can only guess that early season flows will be low to normal followed by increased flows as irrigation demands increase. Stay tuned.
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