Welcome to water year 2023! A water year (also called hydrological year, discharge year or flow year) is a term used in hydrology to describe a time period of 12 months for which precipitation totals are measured. Its time period differs from the calendar year because part of the precipitation that falls in late autumn and winter accumulates as snow and does not drain until the following spring or summer's snowmelt. Therefore, the water year for those in the Northern Hemisphere, like the Bighorn, begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th.
While we are early into the new water year, conditions have been looking good for the Bighorn River. While temperatures have remained warmer than average, precipitation for the month of September and the first part of October has been near to above average - a good sign for an area that has experienced a sustained period of dry conditions, and also good for winter flow projections which will occur in early November. Current projections are suggesting winter flow rates for the Bighorn will be between 2,360cfs and 2,800cfs. Current Bighorn River flows remain at 2,500cfs and anglers are reporting excellent fishing conditions.