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California 2024 Recreational Releases

Posted: 03/06/2024
By: Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

Annually, American Whitewater starts the paddling year by confirming recreational release dates negotiated with hydropower projects across California like those operated by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). Here is what we have on tap so far for 2024. A reminder that all confirmed recreational releases can be viewed on the American Whitewater calendar here. If you would like to be notified of California releases and opportunities on specific watersheds, please fill out our form here.

SF American - Slab Creek (Class V)

This year, based on paddler feedback to 2023 releases, American Whitewater recommended to SMUD that flows on Slab Creek should remain at one flow level for the entire day. We also requested that release levels start in the lower range on the first day and end in a higher range on the last day. This arrangement will allow paddlers new to the reach an opportunity to learn the rapids of this spectacular river and then return for a go at the higher release levels.

Slab Creek releases will be from 10 am to 4 pm on April 13 at 900 cfs, April 14, 20, 21 & 27 at 1000 cfs, and April 28 at 1100 cfs.

The USFS and SMUD have assured American Whitewater that the gate at the top of Slab Creek Road will be open and will remain on an automatic timer for these scheduled releases and for any opportunistic flows. Paddlers who encounter a locked gate are encouraged to call the USFS Placerville District during office hours to request its opening.  

BLM and SMUD have worked to provide a new take-out at Rock Creek that will be open from 6 am to 6 pm. At this location SMUD has widened the road, provided parking turnouts, a turn-around, and a new trail to the river. If your vehicle is still in the Rock Creek take-out lot after 6:00 pm BLM is prepared to follow search and rescue protocol so, please be aware of your time on the river.

A note that paddlers taking advantage of these scheduled recreational flows will be monitored and counted by SMUD for each day. The counts will help determine if there will be additional release days added to Slab Creek. Also, be sure to provide your feedback to monitors at put-in and take-out.

SF Silver Creek – Ice House (Class IV)

Scheduled recreational releases on South Fork Silver Creek are based on the current water year as reported by the Bulletin 120 report released by the California Department of Water Resources. The current water year allows for 4 release dates. These dates will be June 22 and 23 at 400 cfs and June 29 and 30 at 500 cfs. Flows will be provided from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm for all dates. Note the release of the next Bulletin 120 report may add 2 more release dates to this schedule. American Whitewater will post any changes to the Ice House calendar.

Again, a reminder that these scheduled recreational flows will be monitored by SMUD as well and paddler counts will be recorded for each day. These counts will be averaged over a 5-year period to determine whether use will trigger additional boating days for Ice House. The trigger for more boating days is a 5-year daily average of 68 boaters per release day. Finally, a reminder that wood is a reality on this reach and American Whitewater will keep folks informed of any known hazards as these dates approach.

Pit 1  – Fall River Mills (Class IV)  Pit 2 – BLM Campground to Highway 299 (Class II)

Scheduled release dates for Pit 1 & 2 recreational flows are confirmed for October 4, 5, 6, 11,12 and 13. Also, as of the January forecast provided by PG&E, paddlers can expect opportunistic flows every day from October 1 through 13. American Whitewater will receive another forecast from PG&E in April and will relay any changes.

A reminder to respect private property along this reach. Pit 1  travels through both private land and the Native homelands of the Pit River Tribe. All scouting and portage should be done in the river channel/below the high-water mark. Bathroom facilities are located at the put-in and take-out.

NF Feather – Rock Creek (Class III), Tobin (Class V), and Lobin (Class IV)

Barring any road closures, recreational releases for these reaches on NF Feather will be every 4th weekend of the month starting in June and culminating in our Annual Feather River Festival in September. Paddlers can expect targeted flows of 1100 cfs June through August and 900 cfs in September. The weekend dates are June 22 & 23, July 27 & 28, August 24 & 25, September 28 & 29.

More release dates coming - Mokelumne, San Joaquin, Pit 5 etc. - Stay Tuned!


Theresa Simsiman

Sacramento, CA

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