BILLINGS - Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials said Wednesday 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 back.
Anglers, particularly those with drift boats, on the popular trout fishery should expect that river currents will increase and flows will change as water fills side channels and rushes past boat ramps, the agency said in a press release.
With all other rivers in south-central Montana blown out by muddy floodwaters and the annual free fishing Father’s Day weekend, FWP managers expect exceptionally heavy use of the Bighorn River for the next week.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced the increased flows this week as it manages both the level of Bighorn Reservoir behind Yellowtail Dam, and the 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, the federal bureau will increase flows by 500 cfs twice a day until flows reach 9,500 cfs by Monday.
Anglers headed to the Bighorn River should beware of the changing river conditions and prepare for higher flow and higher-than-usual use.