Lake Almanor Water Level

May 19, 2014 12:39 PM

As the days get hotter and the sun stays up longer... nothing says "summer vacation" like a trip to the lake. Action News Now Reporter Rick Carhart made the drive up to Lake Almanor in Plumas County.. to see if the drought has left any water in its wake.


We're all well aware that the North State is in its second year of severe drought. The signs are everywhere, with water rationing being talked about statewide, and the official start of fire season a month early.

PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno says, "we didn't have much water left over from last year and we didn't get as much precipitation in this wet season as well, so lakes throughout California are low."

But one glance at this beautiful mountain lake will tell you that the water hasn't completely disappeared.

Plumas Pines Resort Manager Todd Geer says, "Almanor is the top of the food chain when it comes to water, therefore if you look around we have lots of water and not nearly as bad as the other lakes around us."

Lake Almanor is owned by PG&E, and it's primary purpose is power generation. The company gets an estimated 10 to 15 percent of its power from hydroelectricity, but so far they have been able to get by using other sources.

Moreno says, "we have been saving water in our reservoirs so we can keep them as full as possible before the start of summer so we'll have water available for downstream use and for power generation."

Good news for businesses and boaters alike. Bob Kopernik "discovered" Lake Almanor over 30 years ago, and he liked it so much he became a fishing guide. He's seen the lake go up and down over the years. He says there is one landmark that all the locals know.

Kopernik says, "when you look at Goose Island out there... You can see about 3 1/2 to 4 feet of the island, so we know that the lake is down 6 or 7 feet."

And that means the lake is still 85 percent full. With just under one million acre-feet of water inside 52 miles of shoreline, plenty of room for vacationers.

Geer says, "we've got lots of beaches, lots of flat water, plenty of coves to ski in."

Another advantage Almanor enjoys is it's location. Sitting at the southern end of the Cascade Range - which is composed largely of volcanic rock - the lake gets about a third of its water from underground springs, so it's more drought-resistant than lakes in different geographic regions.

nats fishing

Whatever the reasons, Lake Almanor holds a special place in the hearts of those who come here.

Kopernik says, "it's a beautiful, beautiful lake, the water is clean... we love it, we try not to tell anybody."

PG&E also owns Bucks Lake between Oroville and Quincy. Moreno says Bucks Lake will have plenty of water this summer as well.


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