View Full Version : Yellowstone Area Snowpack 40%

05-09-2010, 08:19 AM
Just to let anyone heading that way this summer that the snowpack in the Beartooths- a lot of Yellowstone's water supply- was extremely low this winter. This MIGHT result in extemely low water levels and stream closures early in the day. Be sure to check ahead and do your research before heading out(:<).

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum
Heading West Friday(:>)

05-10-2010, 09:52 AM
Good luck on your trip and please keep posting. Wife and I are do to be out there later this month

David Knapp
05-10-2010, 11:14 AM
Just out of curiousity, where are you getting the 40% number? I know it hasn't been the best year for snow but nothing I have seen is quite that bad...

05-10-2010, 11:33 AM
If you are planning on fishing, there is a lot of water that is closed till after Cutthroat spawning in AND outside of the Park. Check to make sure your water is open. It's been extremely cold there the past few weeks, but the high temperature in Cooke City is supposedly to be in the 50's to 70's range next week. These "might" trigger an early run off if it stays that high for a long time. Be sure to get in touch with flyshops in the area you are planning to fish for up to date info. I learned the hard way-My very first trip to Yellowstone was in the middle of a long very heavy, Run Off.

If you are on the Wyoming section of the Beartooth Hwy, stop by and say "hi", we'll be the campground hosts at Crazy Creek about 10 miles east of Cooke City. Checkout the first two web cam's for the Cooke City area. www.bigmooseresort.com.

Randall Sale
the Kytroutbum

05-10-2010, 11:46 AM
P.A. That figure is what our Supervising Ranger gave me over the phone about two weeks ago when we were discussing an earlier opening date for the campground. They had already been in clearing out down trees and brush, etc. Two weeks ago, before the last front up there, the Web cam at the Exxon in Cooke City showed "no snow" on the slopes. I pulled up several sites, where snowmobile operators shut down early or altered their plans for the winter. Apparently, the snow went south to Colorado(:>)! I'm setting up my Pop up camper next Wednesday at just below 7000, hopefully NOT in a snow bank.


05-10-2010, 11:12 PM
I pulled this up from the Yellowstone Insider off facebook: http://yellowstoneinsider.com/20100419545/news/articles/lack-of-snow-dooms-beartooth-pass-ski-season-foretells-dry-summer.php This didn't give an amount but illustrates the situation.

David Knapp
05-11-2010, 12:06 AM
I know that they have had an extremely cool spring with several decent snowstorms in the past 2-3 weeks. Snow is in the forecast daily in the Yellowstone area for the next week or so along with cool temperatures. Most of the local shops are not too concerned unless things turn extremely hot early in the summer... Looking at specific snotel sites is encouraging as well. The site for Two Ocean Plateau (http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=837&state=wy) for example has around 6 feet of snow currently on the ground. Last year around this time I believe they had another 20 or 30 inches but it is still MUCH better than it was a few summers ago when afternoon closures on all major streams were the norm. Hopefully they won't get too bad of a summer. Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to make it out this summer, but I would not be too concerned if I had a trip planned. I think there will be at least some watersheds that will fish okay most if not all of the summer...

05-11-2010, 05:45 AM
Apparently, your weather sources are different than mine. I've been using accuweather! In any case, snowmobilers report large areas of BARE PAVEMENT on the Beartooth Hwy from Red Lodge to Cooke City, which hasn't been plowed from Mid October and will be on Memorial Day weekend.

05-17-2010, 11:17 AM
For what its worth, I just got back from Helena, fishing the Mo. and the water (tailwater) was down around 2,000cfs on average due to about 60&#37;normal snowpack. So all indication is yes, snow pack is low and stream levels could suffer this summer.

05-18-2010, 08:52 AM
I fished Yellowstone for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. While I want be able to make it back this year, I do enjoy keeping up with the area. Many of the fly shop's in that area have mentioned that the snowpack wasn't what they were looking for, but they have also expressed hope that the cool and wet spring has in effect delayed the spring runoff and that the net result should mean that the streams will be fine this year unless it is unusually hot and dry. I know how much I enjoyed my trip and I am glad I didn't have to worry about "closed" streams. I am hoping with the fly shops that the delayed runoff will help the situation out there, it is a beautiful area to fish.


05-18-2010, 11:28 AM
I just pulled into Cody and am preparing to go up tomorrow. North forks angler's said 50&#37; snowpack, Newton Lake was very low, if you know the area. Cold rainy this weekend but long range weather is WARM,60's and 70's in Cooke City. If your coming out, still come!! Just contact some flyshops and have alternatives available.
There are lots of alternatives, ex. the mountain lakes just East of Cooke City are full of Cutt's and Brookies for those afternoons, if they shut down some streams. (Just stay away from the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone- it's full of hungry grizzlies and wolves (:>).

Butte Irish
06-02-2010, 03:21 AM
I was on Sylvan pass West of Cody Monday and lots of snow about 5 ft at Sylvan lake.

The latest snowpack shown in the following link.


This will have a basin filled map tat will show snlowpack by river drainage.

Yellowstone is 85 - 88% of normal. the rest of WY and MT is at or above 100%.

Yesterday I was in the headwaters of the big Horn and several ft of snow and more above 8000 ft.

t has been a wet and cool May. Runoff has just started. if it stays this was we should be ok.

KY, I will see you at Crazt Creek this summer.

I hope the heater works.

Stop at the Bearclaw Babery in Cooke city for really good cinimon rolls.

Butte Irish

06-03-2010, 06:38 PM
Got nailed Wednesday night, heavy snow for few minutes, then wind and rain. Only amounted to 1 inch in the long run though. Clarks Fork is a rolling. I was up to Lilly Lake exploring the outflows. I caught 4 nice Grayling Thursday 12-14 inches in the dispersed camping. I went up to Island Lake and turned around temp dropping, but only saw a couple feet of snow there max(?). Folks, I've talked to say the snow fall is only in certain areas- especially around the front. I had to take my wife to Billings and cameback via Red Lodge. Didn't see hardly any snow but got stopped anyway at Rock Creek Visita. (Next time, I pay atention to the flashing lights(:>). We had Backcountry First aide, etc with fire crews they talked about being busy this summer(:<). The CF was fishable last week but I had several days of driving from Crazy Creek to Cody and back for training. When I just got my gear organized, the snow melt started. I'm hoping to hit Beartooth, Sheepherders and Hauser as the ice starts to leave. Next week , I hope.

Irish Butte, the coffee shop next to the C of C in Cooke has fantastic muffins. (:>)! and internet- at times!

06-03-2010, 07:11 PM

So you are a campground host? How long have you been doing this and what responsibilities do you have? Do you have much free time for backcountry trips?

I have made 3 trips up into the Beartooths. I explored a lot of the area up around Felis and Crystal last summer. Stayed at Rachel one night which may have been the most peaceful place I've ever been.

BTW... Did you happen to take any photos of Island Lake while you were there? I'd like to see what it looks like this time of the year.

06-05-2010, 09:39 PM
I walked into a hosting spot at hunter peak last August when the host had to leave. Took over for them till mid Sept. I don't have any Island Lakes pics as they are renovating the campground and the road was closed, and I didn't want to walk in. I've got some good ones of Beartooth Lake though.

Weekends are spent in camp, we keep the restroom clean, and do a meet and greet with campers making sure they follow Bear Food Regs. Usually 2 hours a day, one early and other around dark. Very flexible schedule but IT IS A JOB that comes first. Almost always no problem0 have two days off a week but only really use one of them.

Irish Butte- the CF is a rolling, afraid the snow may be going with the rain.

06-09-2010, 07:06 PM
I'm heading to the Madison later this month staying/fishing at the Slide Inn. Just got an email from Kelly Galloup saying they had an abundance of late season snow and rain over the past month, and to expect high water.

Sounds like a good excuse to schedule a second trip later in the season. :biggrin:


06-13-2010, 07:45 PM
doghaircaddis- The lakes are still iced, Beartooth- just lower than Island Lake is starting to open around the edges and the outlet of Little Beartooth Creek. Snow has been very sporatic here. The Wind River and Bighorns has been having snow this week but in the Absarokas and Beartooths where we are at I've been waking to sunshine the last two morning and no snow even though its been forcasted. It doesn't seem like mid June up here(:>). I'm hoping to get into some lake fishing at "ice off" this week.

06-14-2010, 06:30 PM
You're lucky to have a shot at those lakes during ice off. It was 100 degrees in Nashville yesterday, maybe that will help you appreciate the cool weather a little more. If you get some time, take a few photos to share with the rest of us. You're in an amazing place for sure.

06-17-2010, 07:18 PM
Our internet coverage is extremely weak. I'll try to post pic's later. I fished the outflow of Beartooth Lake, Wednesday morning. There was about a 400yard diameter area of open water. I worked a bead head mohair leech and had several 14- 16 in cutts follow it but no takers. I didn't take temperature reading but my toes froze in 3 mm neoprenes. Left about noon as it just up to 80, then thunderstorms with hail and sleet moved in. Streams are now getting muddly with runoff.