Bighorn releases to reach 7,000cfs by Wednesday evening

As expected, Reclamation will continue lowering releases, but this time in 500cfs increments. Starting this afternoon at 3pm, releases will drop from 8,000cfs to 7,500cfs, and the following day from 7,500cfs to 7,000cfs also at 3pm.

Releases will hold at 7,000cfs through the Fourth of July weekend. It is expected that cuts to releases will continue again on Monday.

Happy Fourth of July, and see you on the river!

ps: Get well soon, Dennis!!

Bighorn releases to continue 1,000cfs drop per day through the weekend

Folks, I just spoke with Reclamation, and it looks (unofficially) that they will continue dropping releases 1,000cfs per day today and through the weekend. This should bring the releases to 9,000cfs by Sunday evening. As before, the cuts will come each day at 3pm.

I have not received the official water order change, but should things change, I will try and update this site as soon as possible.

As always, if you see anything unusual related to the drop in releases, please send a quick report (including location) along with pictures if possible. Thanks, and have a great weekend!

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.


Relief could come to Bighorn as early as next week

Although inflows into Boysen Reservoir remain high, it appears runoff has peaked and the rains are starting to subside in southern Wyoming. Buffalo Bill has already began cutting releases, and by the end of the day tomorrow, will have cut releases by 1,500cfs. Boysen’s releases will most likely stay high until they evacuate their flood pool. Both Boysen and Yellowtail are currently using about 40% of their flood pool storage.

At this point Reclamation believes there’s good chance cuts to releases to the Bighorn could come as early as next week, and if our luck holds, we could even see releases at or near 10,000cfs by the end of the month.  As always, everything depends on Mother Nature, but keep your fingers crossed.


Bighorn releases to hold through the weekend

Just got off the phone with Reclamation, and they’re indicating that no changes to releases are planned for today or through the weekend as long as weather conditions stay as forecast.

We’re all hoping the runoff has peaked and that we’ll see inflows start back down early next week.

The takeout at 13 mile continues to be quite hazardous. Please use caution when approaching the ramp (when putting in and when floating to it), as well as when retrieving boats. Many anglers are reporting that when they start to crank their drift boats onto their trailer, the stern can drop below the gunwales partially swamping the boat and pulling it off the trailer.  Plan ahead, folks.

Runoff set to peak

Horse Head 6-11-2015

The picture above (taken yesterday) is of the Shoshone’s in Wyoming, and one of the watersheds that drains in to the Shoshone River, which empties into Bighorn Lake. If you look closely at the center of the picture, you see the horse’s head. Local legend has it when the bridle breaks, the runoff has peaked. As long as I’ve been doing this, it hasn’t been wrong, and I’m not surprised many astute water managers use the horse’s head to help them make decisions.

To prove a point, the picture below was taken only 10 days prior. The horse’s head is almost indiscernible.

Horse Head 6-1-2015

14,000cfs tonight; All eyes on Buffalo Bill and tomorrow’s storms


I wish I didn’t have to report this, but we’re getting another increase of 1,000cfs tonight, bringing river releases to 14,000cfs at 8pm.

Its been pretty much record inflows across the board for the Bighorn Basin, and Buffalo Bill is just about out of storage. Keep in mind Buffalo Bill does not have a flood pool, and they are only a few feet from the top of the dam. Keep your fingers crossed that the storms forecast for tonight and tomorrow do not affect inflows appreciably.

Launching and retrieving boats from the launches has become difficult at best and sometimes treacherous at worst. A very experienced guide had a boat sunk during retrieval yesterday. Buddy up with friends or others when possible, and be ready to give assistance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Conditions and hazards are changing almost by the hour.

Keep calm. Stay frosty.