Bighorn releases to drop starting tomorrow or Thursday

Inflows are really starting to drop off, and upstream reservoirs are cutting releases. Reclamation has indicated releases to the Bighorn could begin as early as tomorrow or Thursday.

Initial drops will be 1,000cfs in the late afternoons, so plan your trips accordingly. Reclamation is hoping to reach 7,500cfs by next Wednesday, July 1st, again depending on inflows and weather conditions. They hope to hold at 7,500cfs through the fourth of July holiday.

Please keep an eye on bank erosion and send reports and/or pictures if possible. Photos go a long way to helping Reclamation do their job.


Reclamation surprises; More cuts to releases coming

As anticipated, with snowpack (snow water equivalents) dropping a scary 30%
in a single month’s time span, additional cuts to river release are coming
along with increases in diversion to the canal.

Starting Wednesday, April 8 at 4pm, river release will decrease from 2,900cfs to 2,750cfs.
Starting Thursday, April 9 at 4pm, river release will decrease from 2,750cfs to 2,500cfs.

I commend Reclamation for sitting down with FWP and working out a river
release that will be maintained through the rainbow spawn. It was projected
by Reclamation that they could maintain at least 2,200cfs through the
spawn, and if needed, until fall. As many of you know, during the last
couple of years the rainbows have had to endure constant adjustments to
flows, causing the rainbows to abandon redds and seek higher ones as the
flows increased only to have the releases dropped and stranding the eggs.
This constant flow should go a long ways to helping provide good rainbow
recruitment and the efforts by FWP to protect the fishery are much
appreciated. Look for continued cuts in releases next week to get down to

I also tip my hat to Reclamation for understanding that all stakeholders
can still be served without filling the lake to the top of the conservation
pool (or higher).

These two actions by Reclamation show true collaboration and balance. Let’s
hope the trend will continue through this dry patch AND when the rains
finally return.

With luck, April and May will turn around and produce some normal or above
average precipitation to get us back on track. In the meantime, the river
is clear and fishing great, so get out and enjoy the spring-like weather!

Lake full, river releases to increase yet again

As expected, inflows remain fairly high, and with the lake full Reclamation will begin releasing water to evacuate storage out of the flood pool. Releases will increase to 6,000cfs by the end of the day tomorrow, and depending on how inflows look by Wednesday morning, releases could be increased even higher, possibly reaching 7,500cfs by Thursday.

Here is what is currently known:

Starting today at 4pm, releases will increase from 4,500cfs to 5,000cfs.
Tomorrow at 8am, releases will increase from 5,000cfs to 5,500cfs.
Tomorrow at 3pm, releases will increase form 5,500cfs to 6,000cfs

Note: Tomorrow’s 3pm change is required because of some concerns balancing water between the holojets and spillways.

Enjoy the great fishing and don’t miss your chance to wave goodbye to the algae!

Early reports indicate algae may be moving out

Early reports indicate the increase in releases (currently at 4,000cfs) have made a significant improvement to the fishability of the upper river. Many of the massive floating algae beds have moved downriver, and the river bottom is start to show clear, fishable spots. Guides are already reporting increased catch rates.

Reclamation is also closely monitoring the algae situation, and measurements taken today corroborate visual evidence that the algae is starting to move out of the system.

Look for another report late tomorrow and possible through the weekend.

Enjoy the holiday!

Bighorn River flows could edge past 4,500cfs

Releases in to the Bighorn River could increase beyond 4,500cfs depending on conditions through the 4th of July. At present, flows are scheduled to rise to 4,500 on Thursday morning, and hold there through the holiday period. Most of us have our fingers crossed this will substantially flush much of the algae out of the system.

Weather forecasts for the weekend are predicted to reach well in to the 90’s, the highest yet this year, and engineers are predicting the heat will move additional high mountain snowpack. With the lake expected to fill on Saturday, this means additional water may have to be moved, and in a hurry.  Initial indications are that releases could climb to 6,000cfs and possibly higher if Mother Nature expresses her sense of humor.

Watch this site and the newspapers for additional information on releases. A conference call is schedule for Monday, at which time any changes in releases will occur.

Happy Fourth of July!


Bighorn River releases to jump to 4,500cfs


With the lake less than four feet from full and increased releases from upstream reservoirs coupled with timely precipitation in the Bighorn Basin, Reclamation has decided to increase releases to the river.

Starting today at 4pm, releases will increase from approx 2,900cfs to 3,500cfs.

On Tuesday at 4pm, releases will increase from 3,500cfs to 4,000cfs

On Wednesday at 4pm, releases will increase from 4,000cfs to 4,500cfs

At this time, no releases in to the canal are planned.

Enjoy the summer weather, and be sure your friends/clients to take home their limit of algae!!


Flows likely to remain at 2,000cfs; Lake expected to fill

Although inflows have dropped off precipitously in the last few days, Reclamation is expecting Bighorn Lake to fill sometime around the 1st of July. Inflows are currently slightly greater than what is being released to the river and the canal. Additional increases to the river are unlikely at this point, but there could still be one or more weather event that could make things interesting. Barring that, flows should remain at 2,000cfs for the rest of the month. The next stakeholders conference call is scheduled for July 2nd.