ASK GAME & FISH

"Diana, how will the heavy winter snow impact fishing this year?"

We are glad you are thinking about fishing already. Current snow levels in western Wyoming are higher than we have seen in many years and that has people questioning how fishing will be impacted. The biggest impact to anglers in 2017 will be the large and prolonged runoff. Due to these changes in runoff, anglers should plan to fish their favorite spots later in the fishing season this year. But water is a good thing for fish so don’t give up; just be patient.

The high flows will also move woody debris to create more complex fish habitat, clean spawning gravels, and open up more spawning opportunities for fish. Once flows decline, anglers may have to “relearn” where the best fishing holes are due to the habitat changes. Fishing should pick up after the snow has all melted and fish have adjusted to their newly remodeled homes.

But the best things come to those who wait. The high water this year will result in an increase in spawning and survival of juvenile fish which means more catchable fish in 3-4 years. So 2020 should be the start of an even greater few years of fishing!

Diana Miller
Jackson Region, Fisheries Biologist

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