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Kern River Rafting & Kayaking River News, Flow and Weather

Kern Flows (COE) on Nov 25, 2015 @ 3:00 pm • Upper: 145 cfs • Lower Above Borel: 175 cfs • Lower Below Borel: 175 cfs

Record High Nino 3.4 Weekly Temperature Anomaly
Record High Nino 3.4 Weekly Temperature Anomaly from the week of November 8-14, 2015.
Record High Nino 3.4 Weekly Temperature Anomaly
Week of November 8-14, 2015

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Also see: Looking for the Flow?
For HAZARD notes see THE RIVER

The Sierra South Event CalendarSierra South Event Calendar

Shop at the Sierra South River Store!
Check which New Kayaks are on Sale!
Browse New & Used Kayaks, Rafts & Gear!
Kayak Comparison Chart
Raft Guide School Info
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Stand Up Paddleboard & Tubing Info
• Kern Festival 2013 Photos & Results
"Around the Kern" Resource Guide
Employment Information
News from the Past...

Astral Buoyancy Greenjacket Rescue VestRun the gnar and pick up the pieces with the unsurpassed fit and safety of the next generation Astral Greenjacket Rescue Vest.

Werner Advantage SUP PaddleThe Werner Advantage SUP Paddle with Premium laminate fiberglass construction has a balanced blade design which is smooth and powerful. The Full-size shape is great for straight ahead tracking. The fiberglass shaft adds comfort, control and is lightweight, stiff and durable. If you're just getting started, check out the Fiji SUP Paddle.

Sweet Rocker Halfcut Helmet The pinnacle of whitewater protection! The Rocker HC is a high performance helmet for really rough conditions, made with the brand new TLC Shell Technology.

Teva Terra Fi Lite (Women's) The Terra Fi Lite features all the mondo performance details of its iconic sport-sandal forebears in a leaner, lower profile. Three-point strap adjustment fine tunes the fit and provides optimum support off-road or off-shore. Available in Men's and Women's models.

Immersion Research Neoprene Guide Short The Neoprene Lined Guide Short is two shorts in one: an IR Guide short with a separate 1.5mm neoprene inner short attached to the waistband.!

Immersion Research Supermodel DrytopThe Supermodel dry top design is inspired by high end, packable alpine shells, and the end result is a waterproof breathable dry top that is simply a delight to wear on the water..

Mini Me Inflatable RaftYou'll have soooo much fun in this compact and super-maneuverable Hyside Mini Me Inflatable Raft!

Player PaddleThe Werner Player straight shaft is a great paddle for play and creek boaters.


More Selections from our River Store

River Notes for Thursday, November 19, 2015

Important information about River Notes.

Sierra South Raft Trips and Kayaking ClassesDownload our Rafting & Kayaking Adventures brochure (PDF).

Godzilla El Nino News Flash!! Nino 3.4 Region temperature anomaly sets new record of 3°C, exceeding highest value recorded in the 1997-98 El Nino!

Monster El Nino Savings!A big winter snowpack in the Sierra equals a fun-filled summer on the Kern River and the weather geeks are saying we have an excellent chance of a Monster of a winter. Everyone in the West knows we need it!

We are so excited about the possibility of a great 2016 river season we wish to extend to you some killer deals. Check out the big selection of New and Used Kayaks on Sale! These are the best prices of the year! Think about getting a new boat for your 2016 kayaking season and bring your old kayak in and we will sell it for you. Really, how many Dinosaurs do you need in your garage? Check out the Drytop Sale! All Drytops 40% off! Paddlesports accessories, clothing, shoes and more are on sale 20-40% off in the Sierra South River Store. Plus, Free Shipping on orders over $75.00! (Excludes kayaks, rafts & paddles.) This Sale will end at the stroke of midnight December 31st 2015. These are the best deals of the year! Don't wait! All Sales are final and subject to stock on hand.

30% Off Raft Trips and Kayak Classes until November 30, 2015!Jump into Spring and Summer Savings Now! 30% Off Raft Trips and Kayak Classes until November 30, 2015! Book your 2016 trip or class before November 30, 2015 and get a monstrous 30% off!* This is one of our best promotions of the season. Don't miss out, make your 2016 reservations today! Use Promotion Code ELNINO30. Remember, we're open fall and winter, too. Come visit us here in the Sierra all year long for kayak, SUP and rock climbing classes, rentals, boats, paddling gear, outdoor clothing, and amazing seasonal deals. *Promotion is only available for reservations made by November 30, 2015 for the 2016 season. Deposit and final balance must be paid by the due date to retain the discount. Some restrictions may apply, may not be used with other discounts.

Last Spring the consensus forecast was that weak to moderate El Nino conditions would develop by the end of Summer 2014. On again, off again, warming of the equatorial Pacific did occur, but did not develop into a fully-coupled and sustained El Nino event. This year is different. An El Nino event is not being forecast, it's already here and it's a strong one!

Based on the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) the 2015 El Nino is one of the three strongest El Ninos since 1950. The 2015 El Nino is being compared to the "Super" El Ninos of 1997-98, 1982-83 and 1972-73. How might a Super El Nino affect the Kern Snowpack? Historically, they have produced some of the biggest snowpacks on record:

April 1, 1998 Kern Basin Snowpack: 174%+ - All Sierra Snow Courses
April 1, 1983 Kern Basin Snowpack: 258% - All Sierra Snow Courses
April 1, 1973 Kern Basin Snowpack: 195% - All Sierra Snow Courses

November 19th the Climate Prediction Center released the latest Winter outlook for December, January & February 2015-16. We're hoping all that green is going to translate into the best paddling on the Kern we've seen in many years!

Learn to Paddle An SUPYou've seen them at the lake, river, beach and on TV -- learn to paddle a SUP! It's fun and a great way to get an on-the-water workout! We offer a 2.5 hour Intro to SUP class and a more extensive SUP 101 class. We also have 4 Hour, Full Day, and Overnight SUP rentals.

Sierra South - Paddling the Kern for 28 Years!Learn to kayak! Our proven teaching method takes you through a gradual progression that maximizes the fun. We've designed our introductory and beginning classes for those who have never river kayaked before, or who have played around with kayaking some, but have not had formal instruction in the fundamentals of river kayaking. We also offer a 5-day total immersion learn-to-kayak class and Private Instruction. Our Kayaking School page has all the details on these, and other whitewater and lake touring kayak classes!

Sierra South has been running raft trips, and teaching kayaking classes on the Kern River since 1985. The 2016 season will mark our 31st year on the Kern River!

Smile, then gasp, then smile again! Paddle along with Sierra South's Evan Moore, Johnny Chase and friends on their epic kayaking road trip to Idaho and British Columbia. Hit the North Fork Payette, Green Truss, Lower Lewis, Box Canyon, Ashlu Mine, Fear Canyon and other classic runs at flows that will make your adrenalin surge and palms sweat!

Kern River Flows & WeatherCheck the Kern River Flows & Weather using our desktop/laptop Flash app. Get the latest available 15 minute flow for the Upper; and hourly flows for the Upper, Lower Above Borel, Lower Below Borel, Lake Isabella storage, Kernville temperature, headwaters temperature, 24 hour change in flows, and 3-day & 9-day forecasts for selected cities and Sierra locations. Use your mouse to rotate lists & spinners, and make selections. Double-click a selected location/city to get the weather forecast.

Sierra South Instructor Katharine Edmonson Paddling the new 2012 Jackson Fun Runner in Riverside Park
Sierra South Instructor Katharine Edmonson paddling the new 2012 Jackson Fun Runner in Riverside Park

Check out the newest Jackson boats in the New Boat Barn, including the Zen 55, Zen 65 & Zen 75, and the Fun Runner 60 and Fun Runner 70. Both the Zen and Fun Runner are great new river runners. The Rock Star and Star are still the playboats of choice and for creeking/river running the Villain and Hero series are both standouts. Jackson still has the best line of kids boats hands down. Cross link plastic for kayaks went bye bye in 2012. However the good news is the newest linear plastic on the market is an exclusive to Jackson. So far it is super tough, and looks great. Come paddle a Jackson boat and see why Jackson Kayak is the #1 whitewater manufacturer in the US!

Johnny Chase on the South Fork Tule River
Johnny Chase on the South Fork Tule River.

Johnny Chase on the South Fork Tule River

The various forks and tributaries of the Kern, Kaweah and Tule rivers have some incredible paddling. Local paddlers Eric Giddens, Evan Moore, Spencer Josif, Johnny Chase, Austin Nickell, and Andrew Pernicano went exploring on the South Fork of the Tule River and found a short jewel of a run around Camp Nelson. Check out this drop!

Looking for the flow? The most recent Upper and Lower Kern River flows are now displayed near the top of this page as the data becomes available from the Corps of Engineers. Included are the flow on the Upper Kern at Riverside Park, and the Lower Kern above and below the Borel Powerhouse. If the flows cannot be obtained from the COE, "N/A" or "-NR-" will be listed.

The Kern Valley River Council (KVRC) was awarded a $50,000 grant from Southern California Edison for the Kernville Riverside Park Restoration Project. Earlier this year KVRC was awarded a $25,000 grant from the USFS, Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The Kernville Riverside Park Restoration Project's goal is to enhance the ecological, aesthetic, and recreational value of the 1/4 mile stretch of the Kern River starting just above the Kernville Bridge, through Riverside Park in Kernville. KVRC is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that runs the Kern River Festival every year and organized the 2003 Wildwater World Cup Kayak races on the Upper Kern.

Area of Riverside Park damaged in recent flooding.
Flood damage in Riverside Park from high water in December 2010.

The Kernville Riverside Park Restoration Project will provide bank stabilization, erosion control, hazards removal, control of noxious weeds, promote local salmonid habitat, plant native flora, provide recreational opportunities for water users such as fishermen, rafters, kayakers, tubers, and implement public safety and environmental education programs. This Winter volunteers did an initial survey of the reach, gathering stream profile data and flow velocity data.

Unknown to some, Riverside Park in Kernville is the first manufactured whitewater park in America. Tom Johnson, local boating legend and former Olympic Coach and National Kayak champion successfully lobbied for the construction of rapids and bank restoration over 40 years ago with the Army Corps of Engineers as mitigation for the drowning of part of the Stanislaus River with the New Melones Dam in North Central California.

After 40 years, Riverside Park is in dire need of restoration and additional improvements. Whitewater parks have sprung up in both urban and rural settings throughout the country. Parks have been constructed in places such as Reno, Nevada; Vail, Steamboat, Boulder, Buena Vista and Salida Colorado; Boise Idaho; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Their construction has revitalized the river and promoted recreation and tourism.

Describing the numerous on-river and off-river recreation options, the July/August 2008 issue of Paddler Magazine selected Kernville as one of the 'Best Paddling Towns' in the U.S. The article rated Kernville a 5-star weekend destination and a 5-star 'Near Home' vacation destination.

We talk a lot about the "Kern River basin" in Rivernotes. During the Winter, we frequently refer to the Upper Tyndall Creek, Pascoes, and Wet Meadows snow sensors. During the paddling season, it might be Limestone, The Forks, Kern Falls, or Kernville. Here's a satellite overview of the 1000 square mile N.F. Kern drainage area with a few of the features labeled. If you look near the bottom of the photo, you'll see Lake Isabella. We're located just north of the lake!

Want to check on the Kern snowpack and see where the snow sensors and snow courses are located? We've put together a Kern River Basin Snow Courses & Sensors Google Earth KMZ file mashup that shows the station locations in Google Earth and links to the California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) data page for each station.

Here is a snapshot of today's flow and reservoir data, based on reports from the Corps of Engineers (COE) and Southern California Edison (SCE). Flow data is preliminary and subject to revision. Click on "Current" to get the latest COE info. For SCE flow information, see the SCE web site or call the flow phone at 877-537-6356 or 760-376-8821. According to SCE, the flow phone values reported for Above & Below Fairview, and Below Democrat Dam are updated every 5-10 seconds. All other flow phone data is manually updated twice a day (7am & 2pm) when an operator is on duty.


Upper Kern

Lower Kern

  Above Fairview* Below Fairview*

At Kernville

Lake Isabella**
Below Democrat Dam***
Date & Time Flow (cfs) Flow (cfs) Stage Flow (cfs) Below
to Borel Canal Storage
Flow (cfs)
19NOV2015 0900 161 59 4.81 145 153 153 0 30422 --
Kern Flow Info Current
(15 min)
5 Day Plot 10 Day Plot Month WY '15 WY '14 WY '13 WY '12
Weather NWS NWS Zones CNN Weather Underground Satellite Radar Riverkern RAWS Democrat RAWS

*Flow values from SCE web site.

**The Borel Canal diverts water from Lake Isabella approximately five miles downstream to the Borel Powerhouse. The flow above Borel Powerhouse is the water released from the Dam directly to the river. The combined flow below the Borel Powerhouse is the total outflow from Lake Isabella. Creeks along the Lower Kern may also contribute to the flow.

***Flow values from SCE Flow Phone. For current information call 877-537-6356 or 760-376-8821. According to SCE the flow values reported for Above & Below Fairview, and Below Democrat Dam are updated every 5-10 seconds. All other flow phone data is manually updated twice a day (7am & 2pm) when an operator is on duty.

More information concerning flow and weather can be found on our LINKS page.

River Notes Archive and Index - River Notes Photo Archive

Interactive Maps to Kernville & Road Conditions

Kernville - Upper Kern Maps

Sandy Flat, Hobo, Miracle Hot Springs - Lower Kern Maps

Maps are marked at junction of Borel Rd. and Kern River Canyon Rd. Sandy Flat, Hobo, and Miracle Hot Springs are south of this junction on Kern River Canyon Rd.

Road Info

Don't Miss Out - The Sierra South Rapid!

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Barry Tessman

Barry Tessman
Barry Tessman



Store: 760-376-3745  Mail Order: 800-376-7303  Reservations: 800-457-2082

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