Reclamation announces water levels at Montana reservoirs

Media Contact: Jack Conner, 406-247-7300, jconner@usbr.gov

For Release: May 21, 2019

Canyon Ferry Dam and reservoir.
Canyon Ferry Dam and reservoir.
BILLINGS, Montana —The Bureau of Reclamation has announced that water levels at most Reclamation-managed reservoirs east of the continental divide in Montana are at or above average for this time of year.

“Most boat ramps will be usable at all Reclamation reservoirs east of the Continental Divide during the Memorial Day weekend,” said Montana Area Manager, Steve Davies. “As always, we strongly encourage water-based recreationists to check for the most up-to-date water level conditions at Reclamation’s website https://www.usbr.gov/gp/boat/index.html before heading to your favorite reservoir,” said Davies.

Current conditions at Reclamation facilities include:

  • Clark Canyon Reservoir – Inflows to the reservoir are slightly below average for this time of year. The reservoir is about 1.5 feet below the top of the joint-use pool. Boaters will be able to launch at all locations around Clark Canyon Reservoir. Releases to the Beaverhead River are being maintained at about 400 cubic feet per second (cfs).
  • Canyon Ferry Reservoir – Inflows to Canyon Ferry are above average for this time of year. The reservoir level is about 9 feet below the top of the joint-use pool and releases to the Missouri River are being maintained near 6,500 cfs.
  • Due to Canyon Ferry Reservoir being suspect for aquatic invasive mussel larvae, only Yacht Basin, Kim’s Marina, Shannon, Goose Bay, Silos and Hellgate boat ramps are open to all boaters. All other ramps at the reservoir are only open to certified local boaters. The ramps open to all boaters either have a decontamination station assigned to them or are near in proximity. Decontamination stations are located at Reclamation’s Visitor Center on the north end of the reservoir, at the Silos boat ramp on the south end, and at Hellgate and Goose Bay, both on the east side of the reservoir. All watercraft leaving Canyon Ferry will be required to go through a decontamination station unless they are registered as a certified local boater. Certified local boaters traveling to another waterbody will also need to go through the decontamination station. More can be found at: cleananddry.mt.gov/Watercraft-Inspections.

  • Gibson Reservoir – Inflows and reservoir level at Gibson Reservoir are near average for this time of year. The boat ramp at Gibson Reservoir is currently usable.
  • Lake Elwell (Tiber Reservoir) – Inflows to Tiber Reservoir are above average for this time of year. The reservoir level is about 2 feet below the top of the joint-use pool. Releases to the Marias River are currently being maintained near 1,500 cfs.
  • Due to Tiber Reservoir testing positive for aquatic invasive mussel larvae in 2016, only three boat ramps remain open to all watercrafts, Tiber Marina, VFW Campground and a new site at Willow Creek. All other ramps at the reservoir are only open to certified local boaters. All watercraft leaving Tiber Reservoir will be required to go through a decontamination station unless they are part of the certified local boater program. Certified local boaters traveling to another waterbody will also need to go through the decontamination station. More information can be found at: cleananddry.mt.gov/Watercraft-Inspections.

  • Fresno Reservoir – Inflows to Fresno Reservoir are below average for this time of year. The reservoir level is full, at the top of the joint-use pool. Releases to the Milk River are currently near 550 cfs. All boat ramps at Fresno are currently usable.
  • Nelson Reservoir – Nelson Reservoir is full which is above average for this time of year. Boaters will be able to launch at all locations around Nelson Reservoir.
  • Bighorn Lake (Yellowtail Dam) – The reservoir level is about 23 feet below the top of the joint-use pool and rising. Releases to the Bighorn River are being maintained above average, near 3,500 cfs. Boaters will be able to launch at OK-A-BEH and Barry’s Landing. Please check with the National Park Service for boat launching capabilities at Horseshoe Bend. For more information regarding recreation activities and boat launching at Bighorn Lake, recreationists are encouraged to contact the National Park Service at 406-666-3218.

Each year hundreds of lives are lost... thousands are injured... and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways. Too often recreation outings turn tragic. You — as a boat operator, passenger, or concerned individual — can make a difference. For more information visit www.uscgboating.org.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Watercraft Inspections Page

USCG Boating Guides Page