Spillway gravel launch ramp reopens as Lake Oroville rises

Spillway gravel launch ramp reopens as Lake Oroville rises

OROVILLE — As the rain falls down in the watershed, Lake Oroville’s water level rises.

Lake Oroville recovered some of its water over the last two weeks from a recent storm ending a long streak of low lake levels that has lasted since its record low on Aug. 4.

According to a community update from the California Department of Water Resources, the recent storm brought the reservoir’s elevation from 629 feet on Oct. 22 to 658 feet by Oct. 27. The elevation Wednesday was 661 feet.

A view of Lake Oroville from the Oroville Dam on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 in Oroville, California. The lake’s elevation went was at 661 feet Wednesday. (Michael Weber/Mercury-Register)

The lake reopened a temporary boat launch in late October allowing owners of trailered boats to launch their boats safely. This temporary launch is a single lane gravel road located across at the Spillway Launch Ramp and limited to vehicles with four-wheel drive.

Water elevation needs to rise another 5 feet for their main launch to be safe enough to use, according to California State Parks.

With the reopened boat launch and last week’s storm raising the lake’s water level 29 feet, some are taking advantage of the slightly recovered reservoir.

A gravel road leading to the temporary boat launch Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021 at the Spillway Launch Ramp in Oroville, California. The lake has restricted access to the gravel boat launch to four-wheel drive vehicles only to prevent erosion from tire spin. (Michael Weber/Mercury-Register)

Carey Saunders and Neal Brookman, regular visitors and members of the senior fishing club “Slow Trollers,” traveled from Yuba City to fish for bass.

Saunders said the Slow Trollers, sponsored by the Sons in Retirement, meet once a month at the lake to fish.

“A lot of bass. Nice sized bass, two and a half pounds on down. It was a lot of fun,” Saunders said. “The water’s dirty, but not too cold. And they’re biting like heck.”

DWR also said the storm had a great impact on the exposed soil caused by the drought. The rainfall eroded some areas of exposed soil that have been underwater for decades.

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