Releases for Yellowtail Dam to remain above average

Releases from Yellowtail Dam to the Bighorn River are currently at 12,000 cubic feet per second, about four times higher than the average rate for this time of year. 

Based on current operating projections and the expectation of near record runoff, Bighorn Lake will be lowered approximately 6 more feet to an elevation near 3,600 feet in May to prepare for peak run-off. 

Releases from Yellowtail Dam to the Bighorn River are projected to stay at these high levels through June into July. Bighorn Lake is expected to fill to the normal full level of 3,640 feet in July.

“Inflows into Bighorn Lake have been at record amounts for the past two months,” said Bureau of Reclamation Montana Area Manager Steve Davies. “The high releases seen now to move water out of the Bighorn River Basin will continue with runoff from snowmelt expected to be about two times the average amount.”

Recreationists are encouraged to use caution regarding changing reservoir levels and high river flows. Conditions can change rapidly during runoff, and the Bureau of Reclamation is coordinating with other Federal, state and local officials regarding reservoir levels and river flows.

For more information, contact Jack Conner at jconner@usbr.gov, or (406) 247-7300.

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