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California 2023 Scheduled Recreational Releases & Opportunities

Posted: 05/01/2023
By: Theresa Lorejo-Simsiman

California paddling adventures abound during this wet water year! Here are the confirmed recreational releases or forecasted whitewater opportunities ordered by date for the North Fork Mokelumne River, South Fork Silver Creek, North Fork Feather River, Pit River, and the San Joaquin River. American Whitewater coordinates these whitewater releases and opportunities with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Southern California Edison (SCE). All scheduled recreational flows can be viewed on the American Whitewater calendar here. 

NF Mokelumne 

This year, before Salt Springs Reservoir begins to fill and spill, PG&E will provide Devil’s Nose releases on May 13th and 14th. The release measured below Salt Springs Dam is expected to be 900 CFS from 10:00 am to 12:00 Noon. PG&E and the USFS have confirmed that Salt Springs Road will be open for access. Keep in mind accretion from NF Mokelumne tributaries including Cole Creek and Bear River will add to this flow so plan accordingly.

Tiger Creek releases will be May 20th, 21st, 27th, 28th and June 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th. These releases will be a minimum of 900 CFS form 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.


The Electra recreational flows will round out this year’s calendar on the Mokelumne and will be May 20th, 27th, 28th, 29th (Memorial Day Weekend), June 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 24th, 25th, and July 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 29th. These releases will be a minimum of 700 CFS from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Be sure to check the river gauge before you head out as spring runoff may bump the flows higher.

South Fork Silver Creek

SMUD will provide both opportunistic and scheduled releases for the Ice House run on South Fork Silver Creek for your enjoyment. Beginning on May 20th through May 25th SMUD will be releasing license required pulse flows. These pulse flows mimic spring runoff events that normally occur within a natural hydrograph. These flows maintain the river channel and transport sediment and wood downstream creating habitat for aquatic species. Pulse flows will provide opportunities to boat and will ramp up to and remain at 600 CFS below Ice House Reservoir from May 20th through May 21st. On May 22nd the flow will ramp up to 780 CFS and ramp down to 600 CFS for May 23rd through May 24th. On May 25th the flows will ramp down to minimum instream flows.

Scheduled recreational releases on South Fork Silver Creek will be on May 27th and June 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th at 500 CFS from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. And additional releases will occur on June 17th, 18th, 24th, and 25th at 400 CFS from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. These scheduled recreational flows are being monitored by SMUD 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 last known hazard locations from 2022 can be downloaded here. American Whitewater will continue to partner with USFS and SMUD to address wood in this reach and we will post any updates to the river page.

North Fork Feather

Recreational flows on the Rock Creek reach will be provided on the 4th Saturday & Sunday of June, July, August and will culminate with our Annual Feather River Festival in September. Releases will be 1100 CFS on Saturdays and 900 CFS on Sundays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The current road closure between Jarbo Gap and the Greenville Wye on CA Highway 70 is expected to reopen before the first release date. For more information you can check the California Department of Transportation road information here.

PG&E is planning to provide 2 recreational flow days on Cresta. They will either be provided on the ramp down of our wet water year runoff forecasted to happen in August or provide releases later in the Fall. There will also be 4 releases on the Poe Reach in the Fall which have yet to be confirmed. So, stay tuned and American Whitewater will provide updates as they are received.

San Joaquin River

In wet water years, Southern California Edison provides whitewater opportunities for the Horseshoe Bend Reach by benching off the descending limb of spill. This year’s spill will provide 9 consecutive boatable days. Currently, they have forecasted reaching boatable flow ranges for this reach on July 10th through July 18th. Keep in mind these dates are subject to change and SCE will provide weekly forecasts going forward which we will post to the San Joaquin River Horseshoe Bend river page. Once we can confirm dates American Whitewater will update the release calendar. The approximate range of average daily flows are forecasted below:

July 10th 3500-3000 CFS                                                                                                       

July 11th 3000-2500 CFS

July 12th 2500-2000 CFS

July 13th 2500-2000 CFS

July 14th 2500-2000 CFS

July 15th 2500-2000 CFS

July 16th 2500-2000 CFS

July 17th 2000-1600 CFS

July 18th 2000-1600 CFS


Pit River

Pit 5 releases will be provided by PG&E on August 5th & 6th at 1500 CFS and September 9th & 10th at 1200 CFS. Each release will be from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please note at the Madesi Camp Ground that one camp site is now being taken out of use to the public. PG&E will block off and sign this sensitive site for recovery. American Whitewater is asking all paddlers to observe this change and adjust accordingly.

Pit 1 Fall River Mills releases are scheduled for October 6th, 7th, 8th, 20th,21st, 22nd, and 23rd at ~900 CFS. Please remember to always 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.

Keeping Tabs on Releases & Opportunities

To help you keep track of scheduled recreational flows make sure to bookmark this page and remember to check-out our calendar for confirmed dates. You can sign up for email alerts about  boatable flow opportunities on hydropower projects negotiated by American Whitewater. So, stay tuned there is more to come.

Photo by Trevor Croft - Rafting Magazine - Whitewater paddlers at American Whitewater's Annual Feather River Festival








Theresa Simsiman

Sacramento, CA

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