Bureau of Reclamation boosting Bighorn River flows

Fish, Wildlife & Parks

The amount of water flowing down the Bighorn River in south-central Montana will more than double by the weekend – more than four times what it was just a few weeks ago.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced the increased flows this week as it manages the level of Bighorn Reservoir, behind Yellowtail Dam, and timing of releases that eventually will make their way to the already flooded Yellowstone River.

Earlier this spring, releases to the Bighorn River were as low as 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). That volume increased to 4,500 cfs by early this week. Starting Thursday morning, Reclamation will increase flows by 500 cfs twice a day until flows reach 9,500 cfs by Monday.

Bighorn Reservoir is 5 feet from being full (93.6% full) with inflows on Wednesday hitting 11,488 cfs.

Consequently, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks is advising anglers with drift boats on the popular tailwater trout stream to expect river currents to increase and flows to change as water fills side channels and rushes past boat ramps.

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