Recent precip means slightly increased flows to the Bighorn River


Citing a turn for the better with regards to precipitation and snowpack, Reclamation will increase river releases 250cfs. Look for the increase to occur at 4pm on Thursday.

This small increase will bring releases up to 2,250cfs, up from 2,000cfs. Minimum releases to wet all important side channel habitat is 2,500cfs.

The current lake elevation is just shy of 3,620ft. which is nearly 12 feet higher than historical averages.

Fluctuation of Bighorn River Flow Downstream of Boysen Dam

Wyo.-The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a flushing flow in the Big Horn River downstream of Boysen Dam, according to Wyoming Area Manager, Carlie Ronca. This operation is at the request of, and in coordination with, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“The purpose of the flushing flow is to improve trout reproduction by flushing fine sediments from spawning gravels in the river,” said Ronca. The flushing flow also improves insect production in the stream by opening up interstitial spaces between gravels and cobbles. The flushing flow is generally welcomed by anglers because it provides easier wading conditions. Following the flushing flow there is a reduction in floating algae.
Flows in the river below Boysen Dam will fluctuate from 600 cfs to 5000 cfs during the flushing flow. On Mar. 21 at 2:00 a.m., the release of water from Boysen Dam will be increased to 3000 cfs and further increased to 5000 cfs at approximately 7:00 a.m. for 10 hours before being reduced gradually back to 600 cfs by approximately 10:00 a.m. on Mar. 22, 2016.
The public is urged to use extreme caution during this period of rapid fluctuation of flows below Boysen Dam.

Bighorn River releases to drop below minimums this week


During the bi-weekly stakeholders call with Reclamation today, the Bureau indicated conditions have warranted a slight reduction in releases. In the next day or so, expect releases to drop from 2,500cfs to 2,250cfs.

While we always hate to see the river drop below 2,500cfs, we believe Reclamation is acting appropriately given the current conditions and inflow forecasts.  We all know that had these same conditions come about 6 or 8 years ago, we’d have already seen releases well below 2,500cfs. Hats off to Reclamation for balancing the resources.

With high water and low water come challenges. Please let us know of any hazards you find along the river, including boat launching and recovery, and we’ll get ’em posted here.


Bighorn releases to reach minimums on Saturday

After setting records for inflows just weeks ago, and within minutes of leaving the flood pool for a full lake, Reclamation will be reducing releases to 2,500cfs… the minimum flows required to sustain the fishery.

On Friday at 8am, releases will be dropped 250cfs from 3,500cfs to 3,250cfs.
On Friday at 4pm, releases will be dropped 250cfs from 3,250cfs to 3,000cfs.

On Saturday at 8am, releases will be dropped 250cfs from 3,000cfs to 2,750cfs.
On Saturday at 4pm, releases will be dropped 250cfs from 2,750cfs to 2,500cfs.

Sorry, folks.