Low water levels impacting boating on Bighorn Lake

Posted 8/17/21

Hot, dry conditions have led waters levels to drop at Bighorn Lake, creating some impacts on boaters.

The ramp at Horseshoe Bend remains open for now, but officials at Bighorn Canyon National …

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Low water levels impacting boating on Bighorn Lake

Posted

Hot, dry conditions have led waters levels to drop at Bighorn Lake, creating some impacts on boaters.

The ramp at Horseshoe Bend remains open for now, but officials at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area are recommending “extreme caution” if boats plan on going beyond the south narrows towards the causeway.

“This area has very low water levels and Bighorn Canyon has already received several reports of damaged props and people getting stuck in the sand bars,” the park said in a release last week.

Further, Bighorn Canyon officials are expecting lake levels to drop to the recommended minimal launch level of 3,620 feet by the end of the month.

“At that point several lake facilities will be removed for the season,” park officials said in a news release. To check current conditions, visit www.usbr.gov/gp-bin/arcweb_bhr.pl.

Meanwhile, the docks at Black Canyon have been moved around the corner, leaving an approximately quarter-mile hike to the campground. When the lake elevation drops to 3,620 feet, the docks at Black Canyon will be pulled for the season.

“Widespread drought conditions through the State of Montana and Wyoming resulted in much lower than average runoff into Bighorn Lake and corresponding low reservoir levels and low river releases,” Bighorn Canyon leaders explained in a news release. “Higher temperatures and lower precipitation also led to an increase in upstream irrigation demands effecting the amount of water in Bighorn Lake.”

They said water storage on Bighorn Lake may see a slight rebound in the fall as irrigation systems are shut off.

The Bureau of Reclamation hopes to reach a pool elevation of 3,617 feet by March.

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