February 18, 2018
Rockin’ M Ranch Alpine, Wyoming Fly Fishing Report, Snake River, Salt River, Palisades Reservoir, McCoy Creek
Yearly I like to give a winter report for the current, past, and predicted future conditions. Last summer was hands down the best season I have had on the Salt River in the last 20 years. It is believed that high water is healthy for the fishery. From what I saw I believe that to be true. On my guided trips we caught several browns around 22″ and one at 25″. The tributaries also fished extremely well. McCoy Creek was excellent and produced some trout over 20″ along with some nice rainbows. All I can come up with is that the muddy Palisades lake waters pushed more fish into the ample waters of the tributaries.
Currently we have had one of the strangest most mild winters than I can remember. Palisades reservoir is at 95% and never froze this winter. I have never seen this before. We had 30-40 degree weather from about January 15th to February 10th. The weather is now more seasonal. Although the winter has been mild the snowpack up to 8000 feet is low, yet over 8000 feet the snowpack for the Snake River drainage is 117% snow water equivalent and 103% total precipitation.
It is difficult to predict the summer, but the winter snowpack gives us some clue to when the fishing will start. If the mild weather continues, It should an early spring. In most average snow pack (we are slightly above) years we usually see the Salt River clear first in the last week or so of June and fishing well by the first week of July. The Snake above Alpine is usually a week or two behind the Salt River. The Green River Basin snowpack is similar to the Snake River Basin. We are typically fishing the Green River by mid-June. The Green River is about an hour an fifteen minute drive from the cabins. It is a beautiful drive that goes by pretty fast. The South Fork of the Snake, I believe the fishing will be determined by how well the water is managed. With the lake at 95% it will be possible, if done right, to match the inflows and keep the lake in the top 75% of full which would keep the water of the South Fork running clear. The full lake can act as a big catch for the sediment if kept on the full side. Last year the managers choose to nearly drain the lake to make room for the large runoff. The pool of the lake was very small and a large amount of sediment was pushed through the lake greatly negatively affecting the fishing last summer and fall. Let’s hope for better management this year.
In all, I am very optimistic for a great summer for lots of big trout. I feel like the population of large fish is at an all time high. There is plenty of water but not too much. If the weather trend continues we should be fishing in late June, as is normal. If it is a hot dry summer, the reservoirs and natural springs are charged up enough that the waters should stay cool and plenty. It should be a great summer of trout fishing!!