This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-IV
Length Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 12/12/2009 10:01 pm

River Description

This reach has been run only rarely.   Like many dam controlled rivers, flows in the reach are usually very low.  In the spring of wet years, spill flows occurr, but they are usually too high for boating.  The window of boatable flows will be very short at the beginning and end of spill events.   However, since there has been no real time flow information available, there has been no way for boaters to know if the reach has runnable flows without physically going to the dam and looking at the flow. 


On Labor Day weekend of 2009, boatable flows were intended to be released into the reach, but they are postoponed till 2010.   The purpose of the releases is to allow boaters to explore the reach and report what they find and experience.  


Boating Releases for Labor Day Weekend, 2009  have been cancelled.


If you have boated this reach in the past, please fill out the survey information.

Survey information is very important to securing flows as part of the new License.To fill out a survey, go to:    

Please help us document the reach.  Take pictures and post them to AW.   Write trip reports and comments and post them in the comments tab. 


It is reported that the difficulty is class 4 in the beginning of the run, but that it eases to class 2 by the end of the run.  It is possible that the difficulty at 200 to 300 cfs may be less than previously reported.


Tree Hazards!  Like most dam controlled rivers that seldom get high flows, trees and bushes have crowded into the river channel of this reach.   This makes the run especially dangerous at higher flows.

Daniel Brasuell reported on that a trip at 1000 cfs was very dangerous, "it wasn't overly difficult, but strainers and the utter lack of eddies in addition to blind corners created significant hazard. Be careful if you do this run...   Of course, we also had 1,000 cfs which is a lot for any Bear River run... I am sure the pace of the run, lack of eddies, and lack of time to react to strainers becomes less significant with 1/3 the water."   
Bear River Below Dutch Flat  contains Daniel's full write up. 


Put in:  Take Highway 80 to the exit for the small town of Dutch Flat.  Use your maps to find the Dutch Flat reservoir.   On the left side of the earthen dam, look for a rough trail leading to the base.   Elevation at the put in is about 2700 feet above sea level.


Take out:   Chicago Park Powerhouse Road leads to a bridge across the river at Chicago Park.   Elevation is about 2215 feet. 


Total Drop: is about 485 feet in 4.7 miles.  



Other Information Sources:

Nevada Irrigation District controls Dutch Flat powerhouse.
NID's Public Relicensing Website FERC license #2266

Rapid Descriptions


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

There is no realtime gauge information for this reach at present.   Historical flow information is available from USGS gauge 11421790.   The flow data will be daily averages which will hide the sudden fluctuations typical of dam controlled releases. 

Bear River Basin pdf is a schematic of the powerhouses, diversions and gauges along the Bear River.



Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

Bear River Planned Release Schedule September 5,6,7 2009

Robert Center


As part of the Yuba Bear / Drum Spaulding Relicensing Boating Flow Study, PG&E and NID will be providing flows on the Bear River CA reaches below Drum Afterbay and Dutch Flat Afterbay for opportunistic flow studies over the Labor Day Weekend.



Paul Martzen




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1195789 08/16/09 Paul Martzen n/a
1195790 08/16/09 Paul Martzen
1195817 08/17/09 Paul Martzen
1195818 09/02/09 Paul Martzen
1196889 12/12/09 Rob Enable directions.