Canyon Ferry Elevation Q and A
By angelamontana

Posted: May 8, 2014

With all the Canyon Ferry talk lately, we found a way to get your some answers.  The following is a conversation between


As a long term boater of Canyon Ferry I am a little concerned about the current level of the lake.  I know we have quite a bit of snow melt runoff coming, but Memorial day is just a few weeks away.  With a net gain of 200 FPS (roughly) can the lake be boater ready in a few weeks?  Last year, and I think you would agree, was a terrible year for boating at Canyon Ferry.  The level was so low that the ramp to get to my boat at Yacht Basin was like climbing a ladder. I am sure the North End Marina’s lost money due to the water level being so low. Two years in a row, especially if completely avoidable, would seem deliberate. Could you please respond with your reasoning behind keeping the lake water level so low.


Thank you for your inquiry regarding the operations of Canyon Ferry dam and reservoir.  Reclamation has been evacuating storage out of Canyon Ferry in preparation for the spring snowmelt runoff. Mountain snowpack conditions upstream of Canyon Ferry are at record high levels of over 130% of average.  Storage in Canyon Ferry has been evacuated to a level that is required to safely store the anticipated spring snow melt and prevent unusually large releases out of Canyon Ferry to the Missouri River. The high elevation snow is beginning to melt causing streamflow to begin increasing.  Currently inflows into Canyon Ferry are averaging over 10,000 cfs while releases out of Canyon Ferry are being maintained at 8,400 cfs.  As a result, storage in Canyon Ferry is beginning to slowly increase.  Based on current conditions, Reclamation anticipates the storage level of Canyon Ferry will be near elevation 3782 by late May.   Please refer to our monthly operation plans for Canyon Ferry posted on our website, which are updated each month based on current conditions near the first of the month. These plans will depict the anticipated end of month elevations as currently forecasted. .  Please keep in mind that actual conditions and operations could change significantly from those shown in the plans.  At this time, plans are to fill Canyon Ferry by mid-late June.

Tim Felchle also included the following links that have useful for information pertaining to their projects:

(Feature photo via
New Podcast!