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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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2009 Raft Guide School Info
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• Kern Festival 2008 Photos & Results
"Around the Kern" Resource Guide
Employment Information
News from the Past...

Updated 10/03/08

o The first serious cloud seeding program in California began in 1948 on Bishop Creek in the Owens River basin for California Electric Power Co. Precipitation enhancement in the form of cloud seeding has been practiced continuously in several California river basins since the early 1950s. Most projects are along the central and southern Sierra Nevada with some in the coast ranges. More.

o Spectacular mountains, rivers and open spaces in California’s Eastern Sierra and San Gabriel Mountains are closer to gaining permanent protection today after a hearing in the Senate Public Lands and Forests Subcommittee. More.

o From farmers to fishermen, from the feds to the Yurok nation, all sides spent the past two years hammering out a deal that hinges on the destruction of four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River. If those four dams come down, it would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history. More.

o The Roadless Areas Conservation Rule is an administrative rule adopted by the U.S. Forest Service in January 2001 to protect the last remaining wildlands in our national forest system. It places about one-third of the national forest system's total acreage off-limits to virtually all road building and logging. (More than half of our national forest land is already open to such activity.) This protection is the only way to spare roadless areas from the severe damage that roads and intense development like clearcut logging have done to other parts of our national forests. More.

o One of the most hotly debated topics on Earth is the issue of climate change, and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) data centers are central to answering some of the most pressing global change questions that remain unresolved. The National Climatic Data Center contains the instrumental records that can precisely define the nature of climatic fluctuations at time scales of a up to a century. Among the diverse kinds of data platforms whose data contribute to NCDC's armamentarium are: Ships, buoys, weather stations, balloons, satellites, and aircraft. More.

o California is blessed with some of the most beautiful and diverse rivers in the world. From the steep creeks of the high Sierra to the broad and powerful rivers of the Central Valley, each river tells a personal story and provides a unique experience to the visitor. More.

River Notes for Thursday, September 10, 2009

Important information about River Notes.

The ICF Freestyle World Championships were held in Thun, Switzerland last weekend capping a great freestyle paddling season with our good friends at “Team Jackson” mopping up in nearly all categories.

The new Jackson All-Star 2010 was “the” boat of the competition, that’s for sure. Eric Jackson and the “family” were medalist in nearly every category. Nick Troutman, Eric’s son-in-law, (married to daughter Emily Jackson) took the gold, dethroning EJ who came in second. Bronze went to Steve Wright, aka, Stevo, and/or the Hobbit, who also works for Jackson. All-Stars were paddled by every boater in the top five. Jason Craig of Reno, NV, and eldest son Dane Jackson placed 1-2 in the Junior Men’s category. They paddled a new All-Star and Star respectively.

In the women’s, it was Emily who matched her hubby’s gold with a gold of her own, followed by Ruthie Gordon (Can) and Tanya Faux (Aus) silver and bronze respectively. Emily and Ruthie both paddled new Jackson Stars. For some fun reading , check out EJ’s blog for his insights about the World Championship.

Ruthie and Tanya both raced in the Kern Festival race last April and plan on being back. The Jackson clan, who make a bi-yearly pilgrimage to the Kern, are scheduled to be in Kernville for the Festival in April 2010. It could be the greatest concentration of Freestyle World medalists ever on the Kern. These world champions are down-to-earth-paddlers who are very approachable. They still love rivers for the same reasons you and I love them. Most of them put on free clinics all over the country and teach part-time in the famed freestyle program with Wilderness Tours on the Ottawa River in Canada. Don’t hesitate to say hi when you see them on the Kern.

Now is a great time to order the 2010 Jackson Star of your choice: The Star, All-Star, Super-Star, and the new Mon-Star. The Mon-Star is the 1st truly playful big guy’s play boat for paddlers over 200lbs. If we don’t have a boat in stock, Jackson is not only fast on the water, they are fast in shipping and production.

Thanks to everyone for a great end of the season sale and a great paddling year on the Wild & Scenic Kern River. Although we had a lower than normal snowpack, an extremely cool June allowed us to run well into August on the Upper. The Lower ran higher than expected for the entire summer. We expect fall flows on the Lower to be starting in the next 2 weeks. Look for them to be in the 600 cfs range, which is still boatable in creekers, inflatable kayaks, and small rafts. Remember, we never really know what the Watermaster wants in terms of irrigation needs in the Southern San Joaquin Valley.

For those of you, who missed out on the sale, don’t despair as there are still some killer deals to be had on boats and accessories. Check out our New Boat Barn and Used Boat Barn — we have extended the new & used boat sale through September 30th for you Johnny-come-lately's! Our boat inventory changes daily so give us a call at 800-376-7303 or email 'paddle at' with any boat questions. We also seem to get a number of trade-in boats during this time so if you don’t see a particular model in the Boat Barn, ask for it by name as we may have just gotten a trade boat in stock. Check the web site frequently and don’t hesitate to email or call. We like to talk boats!

There are still good deals to be had on paddling apparel and used fleet gear — check out the items in the Sierra South River Store. To see what's on sale, use the Advanced Search page and click “Only Sale Items.” The Store is still being updated from the sale, so check back frequently.

As you have probably heard unless you have been off the grid on a 3 month river trip in Alaska all summer, El Nino is here and is expected to strengthen and last through Winter '09-'10. An El Nino usually means a wetter Southern CA, winter and a wet watershed for the Kern River all the way to Mt. Whitney. It could be considerably wetter than normal. Could it be true? Rub your rabbit’s foot, kiss a toad, knock on wood, and anything else you can do to not jinx this exciting prediction!

With the excellent flows on the Lower Kern, Evan Moore and Spencer Josif have been giving their new 2010 All Stars a good workout at the KRT and Royal Flush playspots. Check out their Lower Kern Playboating video on YouTube.

Stephen Wright doing a massive 'Space Godzilla' on Gore Creek in Vail, Colorado. Photo by Dane Jackson.

24 Years Rafting the Kern!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 tikes to grandmas and grandpas. Looking for more adrenalin? Try our new Upper Kern and Forks trips. Download our Rafting & Kayaking Adventures brochure (PDF) for more information! Reserve your 2009 trip now!

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. Our Kayaking School page has all the details on these, and other whitewater and lake touring kayak classes!

Evan Moore and Robert (Swanie) Swan competing in the boatercross Duo-class at the Reno Whitewater Festival.

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. The 2009 Kern River Festival is April 18-19, make your plans now!

Sierra South has been running raft trips, and teaching kayaking classes on the Kern River since 1985. The 2009 season will mark our 24th 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!

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)
10SEP2009 1400 -- -- 4.41 145 523 65 458 119953


Kern Flow Info Current 5 Day Plot 10 Day Plot Month WY '09 WY '08 WY '07 WY '06 WY '05
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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