Blog

March 19, 2013
Spring Runoff Forecast
Matt Gutzmann



Here's how we are looking for spring runoff based on the snow and water content in our areas.  These numbers are vital for how our summer fishing season will start.  When we have a good wet winter, it'll give us a nice buffer if the rest of the season happens to be on the dry side.  A dry winter, like the ones Colorado has recently experienced, can mean big trouble for a lot of people, not just fishing folks.

Looking at the water levels so far this year it’s looking like we are going to have a pretty average water spring runoff in the Northern Rockies and PNW.   Although water content varies from area to area, for the most part, things in our areas are shaping up fine- not too dry, not too wet.

The percentages listed in the maps below are the ‘snow water equivalent’ (SWE) levels which basically means if all of the snow were to melt right now, this is the amount of water that would run off.  

 

Montana

While you can take a look here for more details on specific drainages by clicking here, here's the quick and dirty on a handful of Montana watersheds:

Madison River Basin: 93%            
Upper Yellowstone River Basin: 92%
Missouri River Headwaters Mainstem: 92%
Missouri River Mainstem:  97%
Sun, Teton, and Marias: 93%
 
SWE for Montana




Washington


Click here for specific Washington waterways, but here's quick list:

Upper Columbia: 109%
Central Columbia: 87%
Lower Columbia: 119%
Upper Yakama: 92%
Lower Yakama: 100%
Lower Snake: 87%

SWE for Washington

 


Idaho

Click here for Idaho, and another list:

Northern Panhandle Region: 101%
Clearwater Basin: 89%
Salmon Basin: 87%
Henry’s Fork: 92%
Snake Basin: 86%

SWE for Idaho




Around the West


Planning on doing a little traveling this spring?
Oregon water levels are good in the Willamette Valley and get Drier as you get towards Southern and  SE Oregon.  Colorado is pretty dry with all areas at 80% or less and NE Colorado having less than 70% SWE.  Utah is all over the board, but depending on what area you’re looking at, it’s between 70% and 85%.SWE.  Northern Wyoming is around 90% while the rest of the state is near 80% (and the Lower North Platte region is parched at 62% SWE).

Here's a few maps of current SWE levels for those states...

SWE for Colorado... Very Dry.

SWE for Oregon

SWE for Wyoming

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Water Flows