Yuba, Middle Fork, California, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||68 fpm|
|MIDDLE YUBA RIVER BELOW OUR HOUSE DAM|
|cdec-ORH||500 - 4000 cfs||III-V||01h24m||42 cfs (too low)|
This is a busy river with many class 3 and 4 rapids through out the distance and one class 5 rapid near the end. Flows are from spill when inflows to Our House Reservoir exceed the capacity of the Lohman Ridge Tunnel diversion. Typically this will be at peak spring snowmelt flows. Some years spill has lasted for a considerable period, but more often it will be very short or will not happen at all.
Reports indicate that this section has been run from as low as 500 cfs up to 3500 cfs. Higher flows are cleaner and the river is reported to be easier above 1500 cfs.
American Whitewater is partnering with Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to identify a preferred range of whitewater boating flows on numerous reaches in the Yuba and Bear watersheds. Information obtained from surveys completed by boaters will help us identify flow preferences for whitewater boating. Flow preferences determined from boater surveys will be used to evaluate possible effects on whitewater boating from Project operation and help define flow needs. Hopefully these studies will lead to regular recreational releases.
Take Out: The Oregon Creek Day Use Area is on the north side of the river on the upstream side of the highway 49 bridge. A scenic covered bridge crosses Oregon Creek. The gates are closed seasonally to vehicles, but the area is always open to foot traffic. There is also quite a bit of parking along Highway 49 on either side of the bridge. This area is about 25 minutes north of Nevada City on highway 49 and about 1 hour from highway 99 in Yuba City.
Put in: Our House Dam. Park near the top of the dam and hike down to the river just upstream of a gauging weir. There is a trail and stairway leading to the gauge. From the take out, drive north on hwy 49 for 1.7 miles then turn right onto Ridge Road. After 4.5 miles turn right onto Our House Dam Road and follow that to the reservoir and dam.
Other Information sources:
A GUIDE TO THE BEST WHITEWATER IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, HOLBEK & STANLEY, 1988
Cornbread wrote on Boof.com: "... about 3 years (2006) ago we did the run at 3500 cfs along with some rafts from Trib and most of our group was in playboats. It actually was a great level and everything was run (even the last one). That year we were consistently running it in the 2000-2500 range and also thought you could go a decent big higher than our trip at 3500."
Albert also commented: "We ran Ourhouse, oh, something like in the late 70s. We were on our
ways from the Bay Area to the North Yuba when we crossed the MF Bridge and we slammed on our
brakes, surprised to see water in a riverbed where we had never seen anything boatable before.
The flow was around 3000 cfs.
We had absolutely no idea about the difficulty or anything so ... we phoned John Googins at his home and he assured us that it was a class III section. From the top of the dam at the put in that looked about right...
Needless to say, we were somewhat wide eyed at the "Class III" nature of the MF at 3K. I clearly remember going into the last big rapid (Class V) without scouting, in my 4 meter fiberglass Lettmen Mark V (a World Championship winning slalom race design), going over one of the ledges and into a big hole, my whole boat went under and was held under for what seemed as way too long while making a 180 degree "eddy-turn" all the while my boat was still completely buried by the big hole. That was the last straw for river running in that particularly shaped Mark V, after that rapid I had enough of its low volume ... it was instantly retired.
So, yeah, the MF had been run previous to the last 3 years.