2012 Runoff Begins!
The downside to our gorgeous spring weather we had the last week or two is that the river blows out, hence the 2012 runoff began on the upper Snake a little early as night time temps remained above freezing. Soaring valley temps on April 23(76 for a high!) sent the hydrograph into a vertical climb that past the tipping point and by early afternoon flows at Moose were already green-brown with less than 2' of visibility. Of course, our tailwaters in the region are fairing well but as cold flows increase from the dams I personally feel the spring action is closing until the sun can work its magic and warm maturing insect larvae. Until then streamers and large nymphs worked slowly can pick up impressive trout in slower troughs.
However, keep in mind the snowpack is in constant change and if we re-enter a cold cycle this can seize the pack and slow runoff, often stopping it all together and opening a brief window. Some of my best days have come after a week or two of runoff that has been choked off by a cold front. The flows drop and clear enough to trigger aggressive feeding while the conditions allow. This happens more on our medium sized freestone rivers of Jackson Hole.
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