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Kern River Rafting & Kayaking River News, Flow and Weather

Kern Flows (COE) on Jan 22, 2017 @ 11:00 am • Upper: 1310 cfs • Lower Above Borel: 311 cfs • Lower Below Borel: 314 cfs

Evan Moore & Johnny Chase paddling Lower Salmon Falls on January 5, 2017
Evan Moore & Johnny Chase paddling Lower Salmon Falls on January 5, 2017. Photo by Tom Moore.
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Evan Moore & Johnny Chase - Lower Salmon Falls
January 5, 2017

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KERN FLOWS & WX - SCE - COE - CDEC - DF
Also see: Looking for the Flow?
For HAZARD notes see THE RIVER

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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.

Shred Ready Shaggy HelmetThe Shred Ready Shaggy Helmet is a classic billed helmet with smooth, round lines. More volume to fit those with more hair and larger craniums. Good for Kayaking, Wakeboarding and Kiteboarding.

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..

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

 

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River Notes for Friday, January 13, 2017

Important information about River Notes.

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

What a way to start the New Year!! On January 1 California Cooperative Snow Surveys reported the Southern Sierra at an average 7 inches Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), or about 26% of the normal April 1 seasonal snowpack. Today's report puts the Southern Sierra snowpack at a whopping 22 inches SWE or about 83% of the April 1 norm. The snowpack has more than tripled since New Year's! Today, four Kern Basin snow sensors (CHP, PSC, TUN & CSV) were reported at over 100% of the April 1 normal and Wet Meadows (WTM) is listed at 93%.

Kern Basin Snow Sensor data for January 13, 2017.

The heavy snow resulted from a combination of a broad, moist westerly flow and more-defined atmospheric river events. At times lower elevation rain and melting snow produced high flows on the Upper Kern. Based on the preliminary flow data from the COE gage at Riverside Park there was a peak of 8909 cfs at 6:00 a.m. on January 5; another peak of 15263 cfs at midnight on January 7; and then the highest peak of 18338 cfs at 8:00 a.m. January 9.

While most of us just stood with our mouths agape, local Kern paddlers Evan Moore (son of Sierra South co-owner Tom Moore) and Johnny Chase jumped on the river and got in some epic runs. Both are very accomplished, elite kayakers who have paddled internationally. On January 5 they paddled Brush Creek and then the Upper Kern down through Chamise Gorge, Upper Salmon Falls and Lower Salmon Falls, Sock 'em Dog and Fender Bender. On January 9 they did a "Bridge to Bridge" (Johnsondale Bridge to Kernville Bridge) in 2.5 hours, with a stop a Corral Creek. They did it without portages and commented that 17,000 cfs was "'kinda pushy... really fun." Now the they're are off to Patagonia for more amazing paddling. Here's a video from Evan during the Bridge to Bridge run.

The big snowpack and big water has already piqued interest in 2017 paddling season, which should be the best in many years. Following is a video posted by Ivan Rodriguez of KERO 23ABC, with some comments by Sierra South co-owner Tom Moore.

Last season we had the best whitewater in five years, and with all the snow we're getting this Winter the 2017 paddling season is looking to be bigger and better! In 2016 we had more than 1,000 guests rafting with us over the Memorial Day Weekend. Over the 2016 season our kayak instructors taught more than 100 students -- new paddlers and paddlers refreshing their skills. Our tubing season floated guests down the river from just after July 4 until Labor Day Weekend. We want to thank all those who came out and played on the Kern with us, in rafts and kayaks, on stand-up paddle boards and inner tubes. Make 2017 awesome, and enjoy a trip on the Kern River! Make your 2017 Raft Trip, Kayak Class and SUP Class reservations today!

Check out the big selection of New and Used Kayaks on Sale! Get a new boat for the 2017 kayaking season! Bring in your old kayak and we will sell it for you. Really, how many dinosaurs do you need in your garage?

Our world-famous Lickety-Split and Lickety-Blaster raft trips are far and away the two most popular and most affordable Class 2-3 whitewater rafting runs available on the Kern River. Both are full of enough excitement to challenge just about everyone from young tykes to grandmas and grandpas. Looking for more adrenalin? Try our class IV Upper Kern trips. Make your 2017 raft trip reservations today!

We received the following recently: "Hi there! My friends and I took a rafting trip through Sierra South back in June 2016 and had an amazing time. I thought you might like to check out some of the video from our trip... Thanks for everything!" Scott Simerly Jr. Note: The Forest Service now prohibits the use of any glass containers in the Kern River recreation areas. Scott assures us that no glass was broken or left by the river in the Frisbee game on the video. The game can be played with plastic bottles or even a cool new Kern River Brewing Co. beer can. See more about Scott's video productions at his web site and on Facebook.

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! Make your 2017 Kayak Class reservations today!

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. Make your 2017 SUP Class reservations today!

Evan Moore paddling in the North Fork Championship
Evan Moore paddling in the North Fork Championship Elite Race on Jacob's Ladder

Evan Moore, Sierra South kayak instructor/raft guide, and son of co-owner Tom Moore, recently competed in the hardest extreme kayak race in the world -- the North Fork Championship -- and crushed it! Three races on the North Fork of the Payette River in Idaho, with the premier race on the notorious class 5 Jacob's Ladder. Racing for the first time in the NFC, Evan placed 7th out of 99 to qualify. In the Boater X he pulled down a 4th place, and then finished 10th in the grand finale on Jacob's out of a field of the 30 best extreme kayakers on the planet. We are so proud of our homegrown talent.

Sierra South has been running raft trips, and teaching kayaking classes on the Kern River since 1985. The 2017 season will mark our 32nd 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.


 

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
Borel
Above
Borel
to Borel Canal Storage
(acre-feet)
Flow (cfs)
13JAN2017 0900 1354 1164 7.42 1660 307 307 0 170,538 --
Kern Flow Info Current
(Hourly)
Current
(15 min)
5 Day Plot 10 Day Plot Month WY '17 WY '16 WY '15 WY '14
Weather NWS NWS Zones CNN Weather Underground Satellite Radar Kernville 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.

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

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