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Yuba Basin Boating Flows! (CA)

Posted: 05/26/2010
by Bob Center

 South Yuba / Middle Yuba Plumbago Run Flow Information


Update 6/03/2010

Next Update 6/04/2010



South Yuba at JBR is running about 1500.  In the next couple of days it is more likely to go up, say by 200-300, than to drop.




5/31 565 603

6/01 589 652

6/02 581

6/03         740


600 cfs to 800 is thought to be about right, with 1,000 perhaps pushy.


Through at least June 6, the flow above Our House Dam, which is nearly the same as the flow at Plumbago, will be posted here and on Dreamflows Realtime Flows.  The run is described in Stanley / Holbek on Page 137.  (Access description is ok; the roads are better now.  There are probably better river descriptions.)  Send links to photos or descriptions of this reach.


Access from the south is down a steep, marginal road.  Access from the north, through Alleghany, is long, but a better road, as long as it is dry.


Pete Arpin’s Description:

I highly recommend paddling the extra couple of class 3/4 miles from Foot Crossing bridge to Our House Res.  The Foote Rd south of the river hugs the cliff on a Chinese built retaining wall.  It is the perfect location for a 3rd world bus plunge or a Foggy Mt Breakdown.  The road to the north is OK but Loooong.


My memory is foggy, but I think dragging a boat down to the put in from the south, IF the road was impassible, would not be too difficult.  Accessing the put in from the north is verrry looong.


My notes say class 4+ with a couple of 5- @ 566 cfs.  They also say I did 3 portages.  The 1st was short and at river level.  The 2nd is long and partly in the river.  The main obstacle was a huge log and maybe a sticky hole.  I think its described in S&H.  I can't recall the 3rd portage.  It may have been a short thing at the end of the 2nd.  My foggy recollection recalls a river similar in character to the hardest portion of the NF Cal Salmon, @ 800 CFS, which I just paddled.


Although very isolated, there are many active and abandoned mining sites.

This means there are many emergency egresses from the canyon.


Flow Study Surveys
If you paddle any reach of the South Yuba over Memorial Day, please go to:

and fill out a boater survey. Survey information will be important in determining future flows in these reaches.

Opportunistic Nature of Study Flows
Flows out of Lake Spaulding are primarily operational measures to manage spill, adjusted to provide for whitewater boating study flows.




Bob Center



Associated Rivers

Yuba, Middle Fork CA

Associated Projects

Yuba and Bear Rivers (CA)
The Yuba and Bear rivers are some of the best whitewater resources in California. American Whitewater is an active participant in the FERC relicensing negotiations that impact these rivers.