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River Notes Archive

(Links and other information are historical in nature and may no longer be correct. Products referenced in the archives may no longer be available. References to products on sale do not apply.)

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News from the Past...

Immersion Research Comp LX Dry TopImmersion Research Comp LX Dry Top This 4 season dry top now features ergonomic seaming for greater mobility and comfort.

Kokatat Helix DrytopFrom fall's first chill all the way through the spring paddling season, the Kokatat Men's Helix Drytop or Women's Helix Drytop is our constant companion.

Southern Sierra Mountain Bike TrailsSouthern Sierra Mountain Bike Trails is the first book written from a mountain bike rider's perspective to be done exclusively for the Southern Sierra.

Surfskin Pant When we pulled on the Surfskin Pant we said good-bye to poorly-fitting paddling pants!


Descent Rescue VestThe Descent Rescue Vest is new for 2010, and available now. Type V Strong Swimmer approved Safety vest for paddlers.

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 Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Important information about River Notes.

The most recent Summary of Snow Water Equivalents from California Cooperative Snow Surveys put the Southern Section Sierra Snowpack at 227% of normal for the date. This translates to around 100% of the normal seasonal (April 1) snowpack. The active phase of the MJO is moving into the Western Pacific, and this typically results in an extension of the Pacific jet stream. Although it's not currently in the forecast , this might produce a change of pattern in the 8-14 day outlook period that could result in more rain and snow for California. We'll see!

With all the Sierra snow it looks like were going to have another great season of paddling the Kern. Enjoy the Kern Valley's great water and weather, and make a weekend of it! Reserve a Full Day Raft Trip combined with a 1/2 Day Morning Lake Paddle by February 4, 2011, and paddle Lake Isabella for Half-Price! Trip dates must be between May 14, 2011 and July 17, 2011. Use Coupon Code PK11RFTLK when booking either the Novice Class 2-3 package or Intermediate Class 3-4 package online, or mention this offer if you call us to reserve.

The Kern Valley River Council (KVRC) was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the USFS, Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The Kernville Riverside Park Renovation 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 Renovation 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. Earlier this month 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 Corp 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.

In response to extremely heavy rain below about 7000 ft., the COE gage in Riverside Park recorded a peak of 21,741 cfs at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, December 19th! Kern locals Evan Moore, Eric Giddens, Rebecca Giddens, Geno Hackett & Johnnie Chase checked out the river from Riverside Park, before getting in the water when the flow was near its peak. The Johnsondale RAWS recorded about 12 inches of rain from 1:00 p.m. Friday to 3:00 p.m. Sunday, and about 15.5 inches for the rain event.

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 new Upper Kern and Forks trips. Reserve your 2011 trip today!

Learn to kayak! Our proven teaching method takes you through a gradual progression that maximizes the fun. We've designed our beginning class 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!

Check out the Jackson boats in the New Boat Barn. We think the new elite versions of the boats are the best ever made by Jackson and worth every penny. With the Sweet Cheeks and Happy Feet system, you also get the best outfitting ever. It takes just a minute or so to understand the process to get the correct fit. It is not hard to master and we will be happy to show you how. Cross-linked plastic and a composite beam support make these hulls the stiffest and most durable on the market. The come with a 2 year double warranty. Also take a look at these Jackson videos of the Star Series in action and the Elite outfitting. We usually have the new Star Series, Funs, and Heroes in stock. The new creek boat, the Villain, looked great on Brush Creek at the Kern River Festival, and we have it in stock.

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.

Sierra South has been running raft trips, and teaching kayaking classes on the Kern River since 1985. The 2011 season will mark our 26th year on the Kern River!

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). Click on "Current" to get the latest COE info. For SCE flow information, 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) Total Outflow to River to Borel Canal Storage
Flow (cfs)
18JAN2011 0800 -- -- 6.20 1010 1361 1381 0 223183 --
Kern Flow Info Current 5 Day Plot 10 Day Plot Month WY '11 WY '10 WY '09 WY '08 WY '07
Weather NWS NWS Zones CNN Washington Post Satellite Radar Riverkern RAWS RAWS Archive
*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.


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

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