Bighorn Reservoir Levels Falling | Big Horn Basin Media

Bighorn Reservoir Levels Falling

Written by on April 7, 2017

Wyoming water managers are drawing down Bighorn Reservoir to prepare for spring runoff after heavy snow fell in the Shoshone River drainage this winter.

The Billings Gazette reports that the Bighorn River below Yellowtail Dam is running at 9,000 cubic feet per second – that’s almost triple the average of 3,200 cfs for this time of year. Bureau of Reclamation Montana area manager Steve Davies says the water level in Bighorn Reservoir is dropping almost a foot a day.

For fisherman, this means that rainbow trout will lay their eggs in places that could be dewatered as river flows drop, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks fisheries biologist Mike Ruggles. The peak of the rainbow spawn is in May. However, he says the additional water shouldn’t affect brown trout, which hatch in March and April.

The Bureau of Reclamation will present water supply conditions in the Bighorn Basin and discuss the agency’s proposed spring operating plan for Yellowtail Dam and Bighorn Lake at a public meeting on Thursday, April 13 at the Lovell Community Center, beginning at 9:30 a.m.


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