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Thread: Bighorn River MT, water-skiers vs. fishing

  1. Default Bighorn River MT, water-skiers vs. fishing

    "If the Bureau of Reclamation feels that having the lake completely full for all boat ramps by Memorial Day takes priority, we will find ourselves at some point in the situation where the flow is so low that we would have to close the river to either floating or, fishing, or both." Colton said (FWP commmissioner)

    "the priority is the water-skiers at Lovell"

    Isn't the Bighorn one of the most popular blue-ribbon rivers in the Northwest?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Bozeman, MT and Sheridan, WY but now Houston, Texas

    Default Re: Bighorn River MT, water-skiers vs. fishing

    I am torn on this issue, my parents love fishing the reservoir(i do to when i can), and having it full will improve the quality of fishing they have, along with the benefit to the water skiers. It is going to take more than 1 year to fill up to, it was fairly low, i am going to make an educated guess that it is 25-35' low. They are going to have to try and fill it up sometime, and this is the first nondrought the bighorn basin has had in around 7 years.

    Also this is the spring to try to fill the reservoir back up, the cooler temperatures this spring should mean the the lower water wont be as detrimental to the fish....... However it still seems kind of unfair to all the guides who need the bighorn river.

    here is a link to the full article :: Low water level could halt fishing on Bighorn

    I am saying both sides are right, the reservoir needs filling up, and it has needed to be filled up for a while, however more people make money off the river than off the reservoir. Its a tough decision thats for sure.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bighorn River MT, water-skiers vs. fishing

    Correct me if I am wrong but I believe the reservoir was raised enough last year for the boat ramp to be usable. The problem was that no one used it and there are no vendors that will open up concessions such as fuel at the isolated ramp. Another problem with the upper end of the lake that Wyoming and the BOR needs to address is the siltation issue. The sugar beet farming that takes place in the valleys above the lake have been pumping in silt for years and the upper end of the lake requires a higher pool to use the ramp than what was originally planned when the lake was put in during the mid 60's. Maybe the towns that feel the lake is so important to them should step up and raise the money to have the lake dredged in the upper end so it is usable under the original aggreements made during the building of the lake, especially since their ag production has caused as much of the problem as the drought has.
    I do sympathize with the flat water recreationist but they do have a usable boat ramp which is located within a reasonable distance and with the small number of people who use the lake they should be willing to make the extra drive to get there.
    There is also some irony surrounding this issue between Montana and Wyoming. On one hand Wyoming wants and is sending lots of bad water down the Tongue and Powder Rivers which comes from the methane oil wells and expects Montana to just deal with it. Then they gripe and complain that there isn't enough water in the upper end of Yellowtail reservoir and they want Montana to just deal with the low flows of water on an economically viable river system below the lake. Maybe they could invest in pumps and a piping system to send the water up over the Bighorns from the Oil and gas fields and pump the nasty water they are sending down the Tongue and Powder into the upper end of Yellowtail to fill the lake for their boat ramp use. I am being sarcastic here but I do think that Wyoming needs to be a bit more cooperative and willing to compromise like Montana has with the salt laden water that comes from the highly profitable oil and gas industry in Wyoming.

    Just my .02!

  4. Default Re: Bighorn River MT, water-skiers vs. fishing

    my problem is that fishing the Bighorn probably brings in tripple the amount of money to the state than water-skiing and they say that the water-skiers come first? I had no idea of the scope of conservational issues associated with this. Thanks Biggie.

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