The old Johnny Cash song about the water 5 feet high and rising seems appropriate to the Bighorn River this spring. The Bureau of Reclamation is releasing record amounts, about 10,000 cubic feet per second this week, to drop the reservoir by about a foot a day. Considering that the lake is 70 miles long, that’s a lot of water. The releases are meant to make room for high runoff from the Bighorn and Shoshone river drainages, which are touting substantial snowpack. The wild cards are spring rain and warm temperatures, both of which could force the agency to rethink its plans.
To read more about snowpack around the state this spring, and its effects on the popular Bighorn trout fishery, check out my story in this week’s Billings Gazette at buff.ly/2oEOsH1.
(Written by Brett French-Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette)