4,500cfs to 4,425cfs

Citing increased irrigation demands, Bureau of Reclamation will decrease river releases slightly and bump up canal releases. The canal will be pretty close to capacity with this bump to 350cfs. Inflows are strong at 8,000cfs and the lake is rising steadily.

4,000cfs to 4,500cfs

Citing increasing streamflows in the Bighorn Basin, the Bureau of Reclamation will increase river releases from 4,000cfs to 4,500cfs at 4:30pm on Tuesday, May 26.Recent fishing reports indicate the slight increase in water temperatures has really caused the fishing to turn on. Have a safe holiday weekend!

Thanks, Dan…

Its tough to be an engineer at the Bureau of Reclamation this time of year. It’s even harder to be one in a supervisory position. Case and point: Bighorn Lake is just 20 feet below the top of the conservation. A massive runoff is about to begin driven by above average snowpack., God only knows what the upstream reservoir operators are planning. A weather event could turn things upside down in a hurry, and with a vengeance. Now, as if this wasn’t enough fun, add in some lake interests who are complaining that the lake should be several feet higher! Rep. Elaine Harvey stated, We stand to lose a third of our recreation season. Ken Grant, a Lovell car and boat dealer added, I can’t see how a few more feet could make much of a difference.I’ll remind those who forgot what happened last year. In May, river releases were cut back to absolute minimum flows, damaging the brown trout spawn. This was done for no other reason that to reach minimum boat launch level at Horseshoe Bend for Memorial Day. Memorial day came, minimum launch levels were reached. Three boats ventured out on the lake that weekend. There was no talk about losing a part of the recreation season, and lake levels were a lot lower then than they are now. Just weeks later river flows were at 10,000cfs, and client days dropped off until the flows came back to reasonable levels. Again, as Ken Frazer pointed out, this all happened with less snowpack and a much lower lake elevation.Bob Croft of Friends of Bighorn Lake was the lone voice of reason south of the border. Like just about everyone else, he’s grateful for a nearly full lake, and understands BOR will be dumping water, lots of water, in just a few short weeks to try and stay out of the flood pool. We’d all like to see no less than 3,500cfs in the river year round and a full lake, but that just simply isn’t what dams are designed to do. Especially ones who’s prime directives are for flood mitigation, irrigation and hydropower, and operate solely at the pleasure of Mother Nature.Dan Jewell has to be pulling his hair out. What will it take to satisfy the folks in Lovell? Will they ever get it through their heads that the lake can’t be full 365 days a year? Will they ever acknowledge the battle with siltation was lost years ago?Thank you, Dan, for doing the right thing. By doing so, the river will have some big releases as expected, but hopefully not so high as to scare away the thousands of folks planning to visit in the coming weeks. We appreciate your drawing a line where public safety is concerned. Good luck in the coming weeks!

It’s almost showtime!

This is the time of year the engineers come out of hibernation, sharpen their pencils, and get ready for May – July runoff. With unprecedented lake elevations for this time of year, plenty of snow in the mountains, and a healthy inflows forecast, its going to be fun watching runoff unfold. I’ve provided a link (2009 Inflows) so that you can monitor the various stations upstream of Yellowtail each day. You’ll notice some stations are upstream of other stations, and its quite interesting to watch the time it takes for water to reach lower stations. Hold on to your hats, and enjoy the ride!