Alliance President’s Report to Members

Every year at this time The Big Horn River Alliance has its annual membership and renewal drive. Your continued support is very important and vital to the continued health of this great fishery.

As with a large part of the country, Montana and Wyoming have experienced a record breaking winter in both terms of cold and snowfall amounts. This is the third highest water year on record in the Big Horn Basin and we still have May precipitation as a variable. In fact Billings, MT. surpassed all records for snow fall.

All of this would make you think that, as in the past, the river would be unfishable. Not so fast. The Big Horn River Alliance has been working tirelessly to improve communications with the Bureau of Reclamation over the last four years.
During the process an operations plan was developed. This plan is based on a rule curve which computes expected inflow and storage needs into Big Horn Lake. In high water years, water from the lake is evacuated in the spring to make room for the run-off. What does this mean to the river? We currently have 7500 CFS being released into the river.
Flows are higher than the optimum 3500 CFS – 4500 CFS, but still very fishable. In addition the water volume has churned up some aquatic insects and the fish are lion the bite”. If this water management plan had not been developed, we would be in the same position as in past high water years. We would currently be rolling along at 2,500 CFS until the reservoir was full and oops guess what … 15,OOO CFS down the river. I applaud the BOR for developing this
water management plan and sticking to it despite pressure to do otherwise. I would also like to thank Doug Haacke and The Magic City Fly Fishers TU chapter for helping the Alliance in their efforts to influence the management this river.

For the fourth year we sponsored the Bighorn River Youth Adventure group in 2013 and will do so again this June 23 -27. This is a wonderful event which brings 12 young people from across the United States to experience fly fishing at its best and take that message to their communities.

The carp tournament in 2013 was exceptional. Cicada flies ‘were active during the carp tournament. – The winning team caught 38 big, beautiful (well not so much) Carp. The tournament followed by a catered BBQ and live music will be on June 27, 2014. Try to attend for a mountain of fun. The Carp tournament is one of our fund raisers and we thank all those involved.

Keri McMeans organized the 10K and 5K dam run again in 2013. This is the 4th year, with over 200 participants. Keri donates the proceeds to funding the youth adventure. There is construction on the Dam this year, so the run will be postponed until fall this year. Thank you Keri for all of your efforts.

I would like to thank you in advance for your continued support. The Alliance will continue to protect and enhance the Big Horn River.

Zoe Opie
President

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