Putah Creek Trout: History and Heritage

For those of you interested in the history of Monticello Dam and Lower Putah Creek - a fly fishing special area, here's an excellent short documentary.

Putah Creek Trout Video Opening




The latest issue of the Lake Berryessa News  has been published and is available for download here

8 August 2022


Berryessa Point Recreation Area Concessioner Has Been Chosen - Suntex Marinas

Suntex Marinas, which currently operates Pleasure Cove Marina, has been chosen as the winning bidder for the Berryessa Point Resort & Marina ( old Berryessa Marina).

Suntex is the leading owner, operator, and developer of best-in-class coastal and inland marina properties located throughout the United States. During the last five years, Suntex invested more than $150M in actual capital expenditures and we are targeting over $200M in projected capital expenditures in the next five years. 

In addition to their capital projects, Suntex is currently developing over $150M in “ground up” projects. Their development projects range from new restaurants to large-scale marina redevelopments, and they have lasting relationships with design and engineering professionals, contractors and specialty trades, and regulatory agencies throughout the United States.

Their team manages all developments from concept to completion, and their development principals have substantial experience leading projects through the approvals process, engaging with local stakeholders and public agencies, and delivering high-caliber facilities. 

Their development team focuses on “upland” development throughout their portfolio, as marina traffic and guest satisfaction is driven by the quality and amount of guest amenities, including restaurants, recreational centers, boater services, lounges/“captains quarters,” and other boutique amenities.

Renovations, additions, and general refurbishment routinely occur throughout their properties, as Suntex heavily reinvests into their properties to ensure they deliver a competitive and quality experience to their customers. 

Suntex’s development team will be responsible for taking Berryessa Point Resort & Marina from concept through construction, and will assign a single point of contact throughout the development process to ensure Napa County is able to easily access a principal decision maker.

Per the goal of the original Managing Partner Agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation, Napa County wishes to make Lake Berryessa more accessible to a broad range of recreationists by offering a wide range of amenities affordable to families and indiividuals alike.

The lake used to have 8 million visitors per year. It now has only about 300,000 per year. The revitalization of Lake Berryessa is critical to Napa County and to our local residents and businesses.

The proposal is quite detailed and makes very interesting reading. You can download it here:… Berryessa Point Proposal

Suntex Exclusive Negotiation Agreement

Berryessa Point pool
Design criteria

Concession amenities


Lake Berryessa Statistics (8/7/22)

The lake level is now down to 400.0 feet – exactly 40 feet below Glory Hole.

The official rainfall total at Monticello Dam is 18.73 inches for the 2021 -2022 rainfall season. A “rainfall season” runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.)

Rainfall Summary 25 years 080722

The Gamble Gauge shows the lake dropped to 56.6% capacity.

Surface water temperature is 80 degrees from the surface to 10 feet down. Temperature is around 58 - 65 degrees at 40 feet and 57 degrees at 70 feet and below.

Lake temps 080722
Summer Water Level Decrease


A History of Lake Berryessa Droughts

Lake Berryessa is not a part of the statewide water supply. The water held in our reservoir is used exclusively for Solano County, and a little bit for the homes around the lake in the communities of Berryessa Highlands, Spanish Flat, Berryessa Pines, and Berryessa Estates. Some water is also allocated to the resorts and to ranchers on the east side of the lake.  

While most reservoirs across California get drained for statewide use, Berryessa always stays fuller and more functional for boating/outdoor recreation, while providing more consistent water for residents, agriculture, and industry in Solano County.

The graphic below shows current % of capacity of the primary state reservoirs. Most of these fluctuate a lot every year as they fill with rainwater and snow melt, and then get drained in the summer for use across the state. You can see that our state water supply is much lower than average.

-Reservoir conditions

The previous drought lasted from 2005 to 2017. In the drought of 1990-93 the lake was at 361.8 feet and only 25% capacity. The present capacity is at 57.1%.

How Much Water Does Lake Berryessa Hold?

Heights are usually shown on maps by contour lines which give the height above Mean Sea Level (msl). The volume of water is a function of the difference in depth between two successive depth contours where the area of the lake within the outer depth contour is compared to the area of the lake within the inner contour line under consideration. The procedure consists of determining the volumes of successive layers of water, and then summing these volumes to obtain the total volume. 

Local residents use a rule of thumb that the lake increases a foot in level for every inch of rainfall after the ground has been saturated by several initial inches of rain. This is not completely accurate since the relationship between the lake level and its storage capacity is not linear. The lake is shaped roughly like a bowl (with peaks and valleys and inlets and large flat areas), which means that the higher the water level gets the more rain is needed to raise it further. It takes about 25% more rain to go from 430’ to 440’ than it does to go from 390’ to 400’. 

However, the unexpectedly rapid rise of the lake in 2017 provided data that showed the rise was twice as great as the normal average. The published data defines the surface area of Lake Berryessa when it is at a lake level of 440’ msl (the Glory Hole spillway height) as 20,700 acres with a total volume of 1,602,000 Acre-Feet.

Using the published standard capacity of 1,602,000 acre-feet (AF), some people noticed that as the level approached the 440-foot mark (100%), the capacity was less than that figure. In fact, at 440 feet (100%) the official storage value was only 96.2% of capacity - a 3.2% discrepancy.

During this study a new Area-Capacity curve was developed that was slightly lower than the previous curve. This new lake level versus capacity was officially adopted by Reclamation and SCWA in 2009. The new curve has a lake capacity of 1,551,292 AF at a level of 440 feet - 50,708 AF less than previously calculated.


How Many Droughts Have Ocurred?

Per the chart below, from 1958 several droughts are evident, the most serious of which was in 1993 when the lake dropped to 25% capacity. The droughts ended with dramatic increases in lake level due to large rainfalls - 38 feet and 61 feet for example. The latest drought which began in 2005 ended in 2017 with a 41 foot lake level increase in 3 weeks! The lake has reached Glory Hole level - 440 feet - only 26 times since 1958.

Although climate change has been scientifically-verified, the actual results, aside from sea level rise, are still relatively unknown. The projections are that weather may become unpredictably extreme. Could a long drought be followed be excessive rain? It has happened before. Those of us who lived through the unpredicted storms of February 2017 saw it happen personally.

1958 - 2015 below

Lake Level History 1958-2015

2015 - 2021 Below

Lake Level 2015 2021


Amber ad August 2022


Dogs Welcome at Lake Berryessa

On a patio boat trip last week, I saw a jet ski with a dog riding on the front. It reminded me of our old dog, Koda. He was the best dog Evan and I ever had. He also loved riding on the front of a jet ski, in the front of our boat, and swimming in the middle of the lake with friends. Seeing the dog on the jet ski reminded me of passage from a thriller I just read: Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz – Orphan X series. The main character’s name, coincidentally, is Evan.

-Koda on jet ski

The Dog’s Perspective

"You? Talk something out emotionally?" She stiffened up and gave him Robot Arms and Robot Voice, one of her many preferred means of impersonating him. "Me am Orphan X. Me want to have conversation about feeling states of living organism. But me Cylon programming is not enabled to compute human eye juice."

"What's a Cylon?"

Robot Voice continued, "I lack knowledge of all things pop cultural. This is another infuriating trait that makes me feel superior to my human counterparts."


At the sound of his voice, Dog the dog padded over into Joey's workstation and stuck his snout up into the frame. His big tail was wagging, audibly thwacking the curve of desk behind him. Joey scratched his scruff, her voice softening. "Who's a sweet boy? You want a bite?" She offered him the remaining half of her hot dog, which he scarfed down.

"You know," Evan said, "you don't have to feed him every time you eat."

She pinned him with a bruised expression. "See? That's so you. Not thinking about it from his perspective."

"The dog's perspective?"

"Yes! Think how friggin' pissed you'd be if someone ate all kinds of food in front of you and you had to eat the same canned crap over and over. Like, you have no opposable thumbs and can't get, like, your own food for yourself 'cuz you've been taken out of nature into a world of opposable-thumb privilege. 

And this selfish a-hole buys whatever she wants and opens it up with, like, her superior digits, and it smells all delicious, and she can't even spare a scrap? Oh - and by the way, you bred me to be, like, super loving and loyal, I mean, I'm literally evolutionarily designed to have to be nice to you, like, it's in my DNA to not kill you and take your food, but hey, tough shit and just sit there and watch me eat, 'cuz, screw you, right? You want to raise a dog with dignity. Not just to obey. See, that's what you still don't get, X. Sometimes you have to take care of people the way they want to be taken care of."



"You mean dogs. Sometimes you have to take care of dogs the way they want to be taken care of."

"That's what I said.

Big or small they’re welcome at Lake Berryessa

Can you see the little guy in the kayak below?

-small dog in kayak


These Are Supposedly Actual Complaints Received By "Thomas Cook Vacations” In Edinburgh From Dissatisfied Customers.

And remember, if you saw it on the internet, it must be true.

"They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax."

"On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food."

"We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."

"We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price."

"The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."

"We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."

"It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallartato close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."

"No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared."

"Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers."

"I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."

"The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun."

"It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

"I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."

"When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners."

"We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning."

"It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."

"I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes."

"My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked."


A Little More History: What Was Steele Park Like in the Good Old Days?

Steele Park brochure old outside
Steele Park brochure inside1
Steele Park brochure rates


Evan ad 2022


Valley Internet color 2022


Updated Map of Lake Berryessa (6/30/22)



The Lake Berryessa Fishing Page

Lake Berryessa: Best Fishing in America!

BOR Fishing Brochure.pdf


Lake Berryessa Summer Hours

Dufer Point Visitor Center: Park rangers will continue to staff the Dufer Point Visitor Center from noon to 3 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Oak Shores Day Use Area: Throughout the year, South Oak Shores is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

South Oak Shores open is weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reclamation has extended South Oak Shores’ closing hours to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Starting on May 2, the north end of Oak Shores will reopen for day use from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only.

Smittle Creek and Eticuera Day Use Area: Smittle Creek and Eticuera are available for wildlife watching, picnicking and hand-launching watercraft throughout the year. The Smittle Creek Trail remains closed due to damage from the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. Park Rangers close the parking lot gates by 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The parking lot gates will close before 5 p.m. on weekdays.

The Capell Cove Boat Launch is close until further notice. The parking lot and small picnic areas at the Capell Cove will remain open. Additionally, hand launching of kayaks, canoes and other small craft will continue to be permitted.

Concession areas: Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Putah Canyon, and Spanish Flat offer a variety of recreation services, including boat launching, and are alternatives to Oak Shores and Capell Cove.

For information regarding services offered at concession-operated facilities, launch fees or to make reservations, call the concession operators or visit their websites:

Markley Cove, 707-966-2134, www.markleycoveresort.com

Pleasure Cove Marina, 707-966-9600, www.goberryessa.com

Steele Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9410, www.sunoutdoors.com/california/steele-canyon

Spanish Flat Recreation Area, 707-966-0200, www.sunoutdoors.com/california/spanish-flat

Putah Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9051, www.royalelkparkmanagement.com

For information on activities, fees, directions, pet restrictions or other questions at the lake, call the Lake Berryessa administration office at 707-966-2111


The definitive book about what happened at Lake Berryessa!

Policy and Politics Betray the People:

The Lake Berryessa Saga, 1958-2020

This KPIX Eye on the Bay interview I did in 2010 is a relevant introduction to the substance of the book. I did it after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012. 

Peter & Brian Eye


Berryessa Book Cover

The book is available on Amazon as a Kindle version and a paperback version.



Special Reports

Special Release: New combined report for those who want to know almost everything about how Lake Berryessa works!

As Lake Berryessa Flows:

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty

by Peter Kilkus

The Science and Engineering Elements of a Major Natural Resource

Download Full Report PDF Here...


Lake Berryessa Fills and Glory Hole Spills: The Video History

This amazing series of Lake Berryessa News Drone videos by Evan Kilkus documents the 45 foot rise of Lake Berryessa in 2017.



lake-levels multi year


Sun Lake Berryessa, LLC Devlopmment Plans




Berryessa Valley and the Town of Monticello Historical Photos and Videos from before Lake Berryessa covered it.

Monticello from air gig

Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick for creating the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center (Now t the Winters Historical Museum) described in the first video.


Berryessa Valley Exhibit Moves to the Winters History Museum


Some Interesting Past Stories

Berryessa Valley Exhibit Moves to the Winters History Museum

...From 1977 (45 years ago):Revolt Against BOR in 1977: Wier Out of Lake Berryessa Management


Floating Native American Casino (4/1/22)

Napa County Fights Against Building the Monticello Dam

Lake Berryessa Historical Maps

What’s Under Lake Berryessa?

Glory Hole: Awesome, Frightening, But Dangerous?

Skateboarding Inside Glory Hole

Best of April Fool's Stories (2009 - 2021)

Full April Fool's Issues (2009 to 2021)

Triploid Trout Getting Bigger and Smarter in Lake Berryessa

University of Lake Berryessa Promotes Global Food Security: 

Meat Grapes &  Steak Potatoes


Scuba Diving the Putah Creek Stone Bridge

Bridge Dive Video

Lake Berryessa Waterspout 2017


The Stock Market IS NOT the Economy, Stupid!

Bird Goes Over the Glory Hole Waterfall Without A Barrel

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

Berryesa Oil Rush 1900 & 1920

Rattlesnakes: Friend or Enemy – or just a primal fear?


Lake Berryessa Technical Manual


The History of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument: The Ultimate Political Perversion of the Antiquities Act

By Peter Kilkus

The Twisted Ten-Year Political Path From a Modest Nature Area Partnership to a Local Blue Ridge Berryessa National Conservation Area to a Large Disjointed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area to an Incoherent Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

Is it the “Dumbest National Monument in the United States”? An objective review of the process by which it was created and the final formal designation suggests the answer is YES. I personally support the creation of legitimate national monuments, but this is not that. Being part of the ten year political process that led to its creation convinced me that in many situations the Antiquities Act is being abused. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a perfect case study of this abuse. 

Read the full report here.


Chef Neiman Marxist French

The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist


EFM: Agriculture Day, 1999

Sun Lake Berryessa Master File

Rebel Rebel - Rockin’1000


Evan fights the fire at our house

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2021