Sunday, March 13, 2016

California Drought Update

The "gauge" of whether we are in a drought is usually water levels in the lakes. The main lake that every body looks at is Folsom Lake.

Currently there is so much water in Folsom Lake that there are 5 gates open releasing 18,040 cfs (as of yesterday) into the American River. While everyone locally is in a tizzy because all this water (remember we are in a drought) is running, eventually, into the ocean, one has to remember that Folsom Lake is a flood control lake. Much as we would like to see the lake full to the brim there must be some space for all that (and there is a bunch) snow when it melts in the spring and summer. 

Image result for folsom lake dam
Folsom Dam with 5 gates open.
So lets look at some of the lakes I fish.

Lake Amador - Full.
Lake Pardee - Full. Open for fishing as of last Friday.
Lake Camanche - Getting there.
New Melones Reservoir - Still a puddle, but rising. There is only one river that feeds New Melones so it takes some time to fill. Also keep in mind that New Melones is a really big (2,400,000 acre feet of water) lake.
Of course all the upcountry lakes are, for the most part, frozen for the winter. They will fill when all that snow I mentioned above melts.

So, is the drought over in California? Here's the kicker, we may have a lot of water, a lot of snow, and continued storms raging across the state, but until Jerry Brown (Our illustrious Governor. Some of you know him as Governor Moonbeam) says its over, its not over.

That's it for now.


  1. Hi Mark,

    Brown has his own political agenda..Sending water $outh in support of Corpoarate Ag who in turns supports him. Our ground water is so severely depleted that it will take many many years to get out of this drought. Prior to this last set of fronts to move in our snow pack was 7% below normal. We get roughly 30% of our water from snow pack. The rest comes from the north and through groundwater. Reservoir levels are definilty an indicator for a given year but do not measure our water health so to speak from a long term standpoint. The California Delta, one of the largest estuary systems in the country and certainly the largest in the eastern pacific is on the brink of collapse due to water export. Saltwater intrusion is at an all time high and our Wild Salmon and Steelhead populations have been reduced to nothing more than a put and take fishery propped up by hatchery fish. Folson, Shasta, Oroville and other west slope rivers contribute as well. Releases are critical to the survival of what we have left. I can live with out Almonds and Pistachios.

    Sorry,,,rant over! Ha

  2. It's never a good idea to get too comfortable with the drought situation. It usually only takes one bad year to throw you back into one and actually years to get out.

  3. Mark
    Glad to know the water levels are coming back, will improve the fishing.

  4. great to have water, but do we have fish and money for the upcoming trout season???

  5. That's really good to hear you guys out there have a lot of water. Hopefully, it stays that way for a long while!

  6. Mark, your comments aren't showing!

  7. Our central reservoirs are still a little low. We are the ones always stealing your water anyway.