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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    375

    Default Drought out west

    Went to our usual lake the other day, and water level is 10ft less than what it was Sept 26th. Down about 70ft and only measurable snow was about 1-2Ē in the shaded aspects. Spring thaw may bring the lake up 3-4ft. Not sure if Iíll be able to launch after June if we donít get some good moisture in. I guess itís the nature of boating in the high desert and Sierraís.

    Looks like early season close to home, then fight Tahoe traffic or head west to Sierra foothill lakes as they are bigger and hold more volume.

    Local choices early season:
    Lahontan Res. (30 min)
    Pyramid Lake (30 min)
    Frenchmanís Res. (45 min)
    Stampede Res. (Got reservations here mid June-July; 30 min)
    Jackson Meadows Res. (45 min)
    Donner Lake (40 min)
    Tahoe (30-40 min)
    Antelope Res. (1.5 hrs)
    Almanor (2 hrs)
    Bullards Bar (2hrs)
    Englebright (3 hrs)
    Folsom (3 hrs)
    Oroville (3.5 hrs)
    Shasta (4-4.5 hrs)

    Anyone else dreading drought in the west right now?


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Henderson, NV
    Posts
    6,371

    Default

    since snowpack comes from various areas it depends on where the person you are asking boats.... that said.....

    they will always take care of mead so not real worried about that lake. I have heard tho that the cut in powell will be lucky to see 30 days of use this year due to a depleted snowpack in the rockies. they did get a MAJOR dumping last week and haven't seen new projections for this year.
    gf's father works for the irrigation company in boise and they are always saying it's bad but not any worse than some other years.

    I do believe it'll be a lighter water year this year tho in most areas out west. I don't believe there are any more boat sales going on as manuf. are producing roughly the same numbers as years past but I do believe that more boats are being used more often which coupled with lower water will make an interesting year for sure....
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Knoxville TN
    Posts
    2,126

    Default

    I just got back from snowboarding in Utah. At Solitude, Big Cottonwood Canyon, there are apps 320" of snow. Locals say it should be around 500".

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Springfield Missouri
    Posts
    3,239

    Default

    Look up the seasonal levels. On dammed reservoirs, the levels are pretty consistent and it isn't until mid-May or later that levels can be trended. The local mountain snow pack can say a lot on the levels. It is good to have contingencies but it may be still early.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    375

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zabooda View Post
    Look up the seasonal levels. On dammed reservoirs, the levels are pretty consistent and it isn't until mid-May or later that levels can be trended. The local mountain snow pack can say a lot on the levels. It is good to have contingencies but it may be still early.
    I get briefings from our National Weather Service office and last week had a briefing about snowpack, runoff, and expected drought. Currently we are at 43-53% of normal in snowpack with 20% below seasonal norms on surface and subsurface soil moisture. We would need to see 5-7 atmospheric river events for snow pack to meet the 25 year average, and several more to fill the reservoirs.

    Current long range prediction models are predicting less than normal spring moisture and monsoonal flow with sustained high pressure ridges staying stagnant over much of the west, but locally causing gradient wind conditions. This indicates increased evaporation from water sources and vegetation.

    No model is accurate, but they are useful. My 40 yrs of experience knows there is no recovery to normal until next winter. I took some pics of our fav lake, but I didnít get enough shoreline in the shot to represent the deficit.

    I havenít been privy to the drought predictions for regions other than Northern and Southern California, and the Great Basin, so I canít speak to them, but the outlook locally is grim on the water sports front.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    375

    Default Drought out west

    Quote Originally Posted by sandm View Post
    I do believe it'll be a lighter water year this year tho in most areas out west. I don't believe there are any more boat sales going on as manuf. are producing roughly the same numbers as years past but I do believe that more boats are being used more often which coupled with lower water will make an interesting year for sure....
    We had two reservoirs shut down last summer. One was because of tribal land closures, and the other the water level dropped below the ramps with people getting stuck beach launching. It was mayhem every weekend on the lakes. Luckily we can go mid-week, but even then ramps and lakes were congested.

    If our usual lake doesnít get 10-15 feet this spring, the ramp end will be exposed by July 1, and itíll be shut down.
    Last edited by 2in2out; 03-23-2021 at 01:56 AM.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Posts
    119

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    We are 90% full right now. Below average, but spring is a wet time up in the mountains. If it continues to snow on and off we should be fine. The real deal breaker here are the afternoon storms we use to have everyday all summer long. They are pretty much gone, or unheard of. These storms are what have always kept our grounds from drying out, rivers full, which lead to our reservoirs being full. Fingers crossed those storms will come back someday, otherwise our 4 month boating will be down to 2-3.
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    Steamboat,CO

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sandm View Post
    since snowpack comes from various areas it depends on where the person you are asking boats.... that said.....

    they will always take care of mead so not real worried about that lake. I have heard tho that the cut in powell will be lucky to see 30 days of use this year due to a depleted snowpack in the rockies. they did get a MAJOR dumping last week and haven't seen new projections for this year.
    gf's father works for the irrigation company in boise and they are always saying it's bad but not any worse than some other years.

    I do believe it'll be a lighter water year this year tho in most areas out west. I don't believe there are any more boat sales going on as manuf. are producing roughly the same numbers as years past but I do believe that more boats are being used more often which coupled with lower water will make an interesting year for sure....
    Lake Powell is in dire shape. Based on the latest USBR operations projection, the cut will not open at all this year. The Antelope Point public ramp will be high and dry all year long as will the Bullfrog Marina main ramp. Supposedly the Wahweap and Stateline launches will be fine as will the Antelope Point concierge ramp. The Bullfrog Executive Ramp and Halls Crossing Ramps should remain operational and rumor has it there is a contingency plan in place for the Bullfrog main ramp to add a provisional launch. Unfortunately, if the state keeps the ferry running between Bullfrog and Halls, one lane of the Halls ramp is all that is accessible there and two lanes at Bullfrog executive will be available. For the hundreds of boats launching there on a weekend, it will certainly be a trial. There are also some problems in large bays with submerged features coming very close to the water, with reports of over 20 boats hitting the top of a plateau before the park service marked it last week.

    In northern Utah, all reservoirs are holding back water right now in hopes of preserving something for irrigation, but if we don't have a wet spring/summer, we will be in dire straights and there will be no northern Utah boating by mid August.

    It will be an interesting summer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    3,263

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Zog View Post
    Lake Powell is in dire shape. Based on the latest USBR operations projection, the cut will not open at all this year. The Antelope Point public ramp will be high and dry all year long as will the Bullfrog Marina main ramp. Supposedly the Wahweap and Stateline launches will be fine as will the Antelope Point concierge ramp. The Bullfrog Executive Ramp and Halls Crossing Ramps should remain operational and rumor has it there is a contingency plan in place for the Bullfrog main ramp to add a provisional launch. Unfortunately, if the state keeps the ferry running between Bullfrog and Halls, one lane of the Halls ramp is all that is accessible there and two lanes at Bullfrog executive will be available. For the hundreds of boats launching there on a weekend, it will certainly be a trial. There are also some problems in large bays with submerged features coming very close to the water, with reports of over 20 boats hitting the top of a plateau before the park service marked it last week.

    In northern Utah, all reservoirs are holding back water right now in hopes of preserving something for irrigation, but if we don't have a wet spring/summer, we will be in dire straights and there will be no northern Utah boating by mid August.

    It will be an interesting summer.
    Is Bear lake a northern Utah option?


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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by larry_arizona View Post
    Is Bear lake a northern Utah option?


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    Bear Lake is always an option. It is deep. However, the lake recedes from shore significantly and the marinas and state launches can dry up. If that happens you may have to hire a farmer with a tractor to help you launch your boat.

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