Interpreting snowpack data: When trying to understand how the snowpack will effect river runoff, fishing and all the rest, it doesn’t really matter how high the snow is piled up (total precipitation), what matters is the amount of water in that snowpack (snow-water equivalent). The most important number is the basin wide percent of average for snow-water equivalent.
Also keep in mind that the data presented is referred to as a percent of normal for a given time of year. For a slightly more in depth discussion of interpreting snowpack data read paragraphs 2 – 4 in the article Snow & Trout.
How to interpret flow reports: Diagram depicts the status of reservoirs in the area including some stream flow data. Though not mentioned on the page, you can also click the diagram in various areas for more information.
Current water flows on the Snake River
- • 1000′ below Jackson Lake Dam
- • At Moose, WY
- • Near the Town of Jackson, WY (below Flat Creek)
- • Near Alpine, WY
- • Buffalo Fork at Lava Creek near Moran Junction
- • Pacific Creek at Moran Junction
- • Gros Ventre River near the town of Kelly
Gaining Perspective on Snake River Water Flows: The gauging station 1000′ below Jackson Lake Dam tells us how much water is being released out of Jackson Lake and is the most subject to sudden change. Even moderate fluctuations (for example, 500 cfs) have the potential to disrupt fishing for up to three days. Radical fluctuations (1000+ cfs) almost certainly will.
Good fishing can be had within a wide range of flows, but most Jackson Hole fishermen would probably agree that stable flows in the 1200-3500 cfs (cubic feet per second) range are best. Stability is arguably more important than the actual flow level.