If you’ve been fishing the Bighorn lately, you know the algae is coming on strong (although the fishing has been excellent)! Reclamation uses river stage (among other things) to determine how much water is being released, and stage is greatly affected by the amount of algae and aquatic grasses in the river.
With the vegetation growing quickly, it turns out the actual releases during the last week have been around 2,180cfs, and NOT 2,500cfs as reported. Reclamation was looking to cut releases anyway to deal with these drought conditions, so the end result is that flows will be increase from 2,180cfs to 2,250cfs. The rise in stage will be barely perceptible. This change will occur today at 4pm.
Water temperatures at Afterbay have been holding near 50 degrees. Please report any river temps over 60 degrees, and continue reporting gas bubble trauma (along with the location of the fish caught).
As runoff drops off precipitously, the final rounds of cuts to releases will occur this week.
The current river release is 4,000cfs and a drop of 250cfs will commence this afternoon.
From 3,750cfs, a 350cfs drop late Wednesday will bring us to 3,500cfs
Subsequent cuts of 300cfs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will bring us to 2,500cfs late Saturday.
Start practicing your rain dances. We might need them towards the end of the month!
Releases will continue to be reduced this week as runoff wraps up.
Releases will drop 250cfs from 4,250cfs to 4,000cfs today at 4pm, then from 4,000cfs to 3,750cfs tomorrow at 4pm.
Watch for further anticipated reductions later in the week.
As anticipated, Reclamation will continue to drop releases.
Today at 3pm, the river will drop 500cfs from 5,000cfs to 4,500cfs
Tomorrow at 3pm, the river will drop 250cfs from 4,500cfs to 4,250cfs
Watch this site for the latest information.
Have a great weekend!
Seeing snowpack dwindling and inflows dropping, Reclamation will continue gradual decreases to river releases.
Starting this afternoon, releases will drop 500cfs to 5,000cfs. In addition, all releases from the spillway gates will be discontinued and 625cfs will be released through the (cooler) river outlets.
Looks for more cuts to releases in the coming days (and possible over the weekend) barring any unforeseen weather events.
Have wonderful Happy Father’s Day weekend, and don’t forget everyone can fish for free this weekend!
In an effort to control the rate of fill, which seems to be a real and perpetual struggle the last eight years and made worse when starting runoff with inadequate available storage), Reclamation is making the following changes to Bighorn releases:
On Friday at 8pm, river releases will increase 750cfs, bringing releases from 5,500cfs to 6,250cfs.
On Saturday at 8pm, river releases will increase another 750cfs, bringing releases from 6,250cfs to 7,000cfs.
Note these changes will be made a 8pm both evenings.
I will dispense with any commentary for the moment, and just lay things out.
In what is becoming an annoying, annual occurrence, a fairly routine spring weather event which occurred in the southern basin is forcing Reclamation to increase releases to the Bighorn to keep pace with releases from Boysen Reservoir.
Tomorrow at 4pm, releases to the Bighorn will increase 500cfs.
Thursday at 4pm, releases to the Bighorn will increase another 500cfs.
It is of interest to note that the first 500cfs and 225cfs of the second bump will be run through the river outlet. Expect water temperatures to gradually rise subsequent to these releases.
Please continue to report river and algae conditions, but it is not necessary to continue with rainbow spawning activity reports.
Late this afternoon, Reclamation stated that releases to the Bighorn need to be increased in order to control the rate of fill. Therefore, on Monday at 4pm releases will be increased 500cfs from 4,000cfs to 4,500cfs.
Reclamation has made a small change in plans for releases tomorrow.
Instead of two bumps of 250cfs (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), there will be just one bump at 4pm of 500cfs.
A big thanks to those who called or wrote with spawning reports. Those reports convinced FWP that it was OK to have one slightly larger release rather than two smaller ones, and they passed this along to Reclamation. This makes anglers and guides much happier, too, as the morning bump seems to always put the fishing down for the day.
Special thanks to Reclamation and WAPA for making this important accommodation!
Reclamation is telling us that “inflow forecasts indicate the release to the Bighorn Rover needs to be increased”.
Therefore, look for releases to jump 250cfs twice a day for two days starting tomorrow. Bumps will occur at 8am and 4pm. Flows should be at 4,000cfs shortly after 4pm on Wednesday.
I know many of you will be angry, and especially those of you fishing and guiding Tuesday and Wednesday, and will be looking for answers to 1) why do releases have to be increased at 8am and 2) why push the rainbows off the spawning beds at the worst possible time? I’ll give you my two cents worth.
A large, wet storm hit the Bighorn basin south of us. Storms like this are not all that uncommon during April and May, the two wettest months of the year. However, when water is managed too conservatively and inadequate storage is available to handle both runoff and sporadic weather events like this last event, reactions to wet events must unfortunately be quick and often. That’s what we’re seeing now. The average lake elevation for this time of year is usually 8 or 10 feet lower than it is at present (3,616.67ft). Those 8 or 10 feet of lake elevation amount to a good deal of storage, which is currently filled with water, which must be released to make room, and that, my friends, is why you’ll see AT LEAST 4,000cfs this week.
As always please report river and algae conditions and floating and/or take out hazards. Thanks to all of you who have been contributing!