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Difficulty I-II(III)
Length 4.7 Miles
Gauge PUTAH C NR WINTERS CA
Flow Range 300 - 1600 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 48 minutes ago 140 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/20/2014 5:56 am

River Description


Aaron Rough recommends Putah Creek:
"Lower Putah Creek has... lots of wildlife, lots of cool "creekin" scenery, and several spots for playing etc... Too boot this thing pretty much runs year round! It was only at a flow not runnable (300 cfs and below) for a month or so this year so far.....  I just did from the bend (on the map called Strainer Danger) to Lake Solano and it was fantastic! I saw no less than 8 river otters, some of them actually were checking me out and not just swimming off like normal. The waterfowl are in full force but from a cool standpoint. Some cool migratory ducks I haven't ever seen local before, tons of cranes, etc... Coulmn Drop is a true drop right now at this flow and is smooth into a nice wave train. Skin Deep isn't all that shallow and there were some changes in the stream flow but still a clear easy channel to get through. Even this short section was fun and has some fun playspots at ~1600 CFS." I

Ted Tarver does not recommend this creek for kayaking. 
"I worked for four years as a ranger at Lake Solano and would warn anyone trying to run Putah Creek that there are three chutes that have trees across them. Earlier in the year I went with a group who wanted to try it after Cache and on the third one a hard shell got trapped after trying to limbo under the third tree, spun sideways and the kayak was trapped in a strainer under the surface. Luckily he pulled his skirt and was able to get out while trapped underwater. I had to climb out on the limb and divert water flow to pop out the kayak. By fishing access three where the the creek splits there is a limb running completely across the creek where it splits on the left channel. Most people would run the right split. While the water is shallow getting pinned there could be fatal in the right conditions and water flows. I would avoid any runs from fishing access 3 4 and 5. The island right above Lake Solano has some mild whitewater to run and you can keep dragging your kayak around and run it. Cache Creek is simply much safer for whitewater and Lake Solano is perfect for flat water kayaking. Oh and going down to the island above Lake Solano, watch out for the rattly snakes who have a den nearby.  Lastly if you take your kayak in Putah Creek you will need to clean your gear to make sure you do not transport the New Zealand mud snail to other bodies of water since it was one of the first California waters infected with the mud snail."   
Ted Tarver via cfsrivertrips@googlegroups.com, July 30, 2013

New Zealand Mud Snail:  Putah Creek and Lake Solano are infected by this invasive snail.  All boats and gear which contact these waters must be cleaned thoroughly to prevent the spread of this damaging pest.  Boats must be completely dried and cleaned.  Clothing can be frozen to kill these tiny snails.   Dept of Fish and Game information.  

Other Information Sources:
Lower Putah  is Aaron Rough's website about boating this section.
Lake Solano County Park  has a $5 parking fee.  There may also be a boat launching fee. 

 

 

Rapid Descriptions

Put In

Class - N/A Mile - 0
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On the south side of the Highway 128 bridge is a turn off leading to  a large dirt clearing.  Trails lead directly to the river or upstream towards the dam.   

Highway 128 Bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 0.1
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Swiftwater starts just upstream of the bridge.  Below the bridge the creek bends right through a line of trees.  Pick an opening between the trees.  Then the creek bends left and narrows into a whitewater chute.

Rapid

Class - II Mile - 0.17
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Below the bridge and past a line of trees growing across the channel, the creek narrows and forms a whitewater chute.  Past the chute, the creek widens into a long stretch of flatwater.

Right side channel

Class - N/A Mile - 0.52
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The main channel is on the right side of what may be an island.  The channel narrows and swiftwater starts immediately. 

Tree hazard

Class - N/A Mile - 0.59
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Whitewater starts at a smaller island.  The right side channel appears to be the better one.  Trees loom overhead and may block the channel. 

Rapid

Class - II Mile - 0.66
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Appears to be a fairly large rapid at a left then right turn.

Trees

Class - N/A Mile - 0.72
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More trees hang overhead and some may fall underfoot. 

Rapid

Class - I Mile - 1.08
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After another stretch of wide flat water, the channel narrows into short distance of swiftwater and whitewater.  Possible tree hazards at the end. 

River Access

Class - N/A Mile - 1.27
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There is a public parking area with pit toilets and short access trails to the creek. 

Trees

Class - N/A Mile - 1.6
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Best route is not clear

Rapid

Class - II Mile - 2.07
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Trees and a bit of whitewater.

Rapid

Class - I Mile - 3.25
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Short rapid.

Bend

Class - I Mile - 3.42
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The main channel bends sharply right, then gradually left.   Swiftwater starts at the right hand bend and continues through the whole left bend.  The creek is flat past here to lake Solano. 

A left channel appears to be infested with trees, but there is a parking area with river access close by.

Comments

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Aaron Rough
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13 years ago

Ran it at ~1850 CFS yesterday. Bigger and a little tight under some of the trees that normally are about 6 feet overhead. Lower section had some great play spots.

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Aaron Rough
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13 years ago

Ran it this morning at ~1100 CFS and it was great! Fun boating on a cool section of river.

Gage Descriptions

This gauge is located at the base of the dam and does not include several smaller tributary streams which can increase the flow, particularly Cold Creek if it is flowing heavy from recent rain.

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2014-10-12 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More

Alerts

 

News

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Paul Martzen

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Aaron Rough

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1202461 07/31/13 Paul Martzen added snail warnings and info fromTed Tarver
1194429 02/03/06 Aaron Rough n/a
1203622 08/20/14 Paul Martzen added rapids