California Marine Sports Will Help Make Your Summer Fun!

California Marine Sports gained fame this Spring when their wakeboard boats helped the Lake Berryessa News splash lake water into the Glory Hole for the first time in 11 years. See their boats in action here:

California Marine Sports will be hosting their annual CMS Campout at Steele Canyon Recreation Area on June 2-4. Come out to see these beautiful boats on the water that weekend.

California Marine Sports final


Bob Joe 2017a



Lake Level Status: 5/14/17

It appears that, officially, Glory Hole stopped spilling on Thursday, May 11. 2017 at 8:30 PM. The level was above Glory Hole for 84 continuous days.

Although the lake level measurement is accurate to a tenth of an inch (hundredth of a foot) using the instrument inside the dam, it is not calibrated precisely to the actual physical spill level of the Glory Hole rim itself. Off by about 1.25 inches.

05/08/17: 440.01 ft., Spill = 18 cfs

05/09/17: 440.02 ft., Spill = 15 cfs

05/10/17: 440.00ft., Spill = 12 cfs

05/11/17: 439.97ft., Spill = 7 cfs

05/12/17: 439.95ft., Spill = 1 cfs

05/13/17: 439.89ft., Spill = 0 cfs

There are no accurate historical records of the number of days Glory Hole spilled that I could find before 1998. Here are  few from the last 20 years.

2006 - 140 days

2005 - 79 days

2004 - 50 days

2003 - 71 days

1998 - 90 days    

Water temperature is around 70 degrees. Rainfall total is at 47.1 inches, officially the highest annual rainfall in 20 years.

Water Temp 050817


1958 - 2017

How Could the Government Have Done Something So Stupid?

by Peter Kilkus

Many people ask me about the history of the process that led to the present situation at Lake Berryessa. When I explain what happened most become incredulous and can't believe the government could have done something so stupid. "How could they have gotten away with that?" they exclaim. The Bureau of Reclamation destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of children.

This timeline gives short descriptions of the historical events. I can document every statement made in it. I’ll expand on it with relevant essays from the Lake Berryessa News as time permits.

Download a PDF of this timeline here.


Reclamation Expects a Busy Recreation Season This Summer 

at Lake Berryessa

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Lake Berryessa is a beautiful destination and safe for swimming, boating, and fishing for the whole family. The public is encouraged to come out and enjoy the great outdoors at the lake this summer.

Lake Berryessa is full after 11 years of decreasing water levels and several years of drought in California. With temperatures averaging in the mid-70s and only expected to increase, the lake is a great option for cooling off on a hot summer’s day with the family. 

The public is encouraged to take advantage of the many recreational opportunities happening at Lake Berryessa this summer, including “Meet a Park Ranger at Monticello Dam” every Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 2 p.m. now through Labor Day, as well as the World Environment Day on Sunday, June 4 near Markley Cove Resort.

Details for these events and more can be found at  


Additionally, concessionaires at Lake Berryessa also offer a variety of recreation services, including camping and boat launching. For more information regarding operations and services at concession- operated facilities or to make reservations, please contact:

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

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

Steele Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9179, www.goberryessa.com 

Spanish Flat Recreation Area 707-966-0200, www.spanishflatcamping.com

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

If you would like more information on any topic described, please contact the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111 ext. 113, or visit the Lake Berryessa website at  https://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/ for additional information.


May 2017

LBNews Pg 12&1 May17

Click to download this issue.


Bib & Tucker Berryessa Bass Tournament

Lake Berryessa fishing is great!

THANKS to the 28 Teams that fished the 7th event of the Bib & Tucker Berryessa Bass Tournaments Circuit for the 2016-2017 Season that was on May 7, 2017 and hosted out of Markley Cove.

The morning was a little cooler than it has been, and the wind was blowing on the main lake at about 14 MPH. The wind did settle and the main lake is where most teams reported fishing. With conflicts and the WIND we still had a great turnout because the lake has been fishing great until the wind blew.

Most teams reported fishing shallow. Top teams reported catching fish on senko’s, swim baits, a-rigs, Keitech’s, and LV’s. With an 6.04lb. kicker for 2nd Place Big Fish, First Place went to Shawn Lunza and Troy Daniels with 24.03 lbs. Greg Bunting and Billy Hines came in Second Place with solid sack that weighed 20.62 lbs. Third Place went to Mike Sidebottom and Mike Ryland who brought in a nice sack that weighed 19.23lbs. and anchored with 1st Place Big Fish that was 6.35lbs.

In Fourth Place coming down from Ukiah, Jared Walker and August Kinney weighed in a nice 17.14lb. sack. Finishing in Fifth Place, with a sack of 16.99lbs. was Ryan Oshea and Luke Lipanovich. Weighing in a sack of 16.42lbs for Sixth Place, was John Pearl fishing solo. Seventh Place went to  John Bounds and Jamie Clifton who weighed in 16.32lbs. Coming in Eighth Place, Jared Clark and Frank Antonio Jr. weighed in a sack of 15.29lbs. for 1st out of the money with a River2Sea $100 Certificate. Ninth Place & 2nd out of the Money was taken by DJ Webber and Chuck McCartney with 14.88lbs.

We had another great turnout and THANK YOU to all the new teams for supporting the 2016-2017 Bib & Tucker Berryessa Bass Tournaments Circuit! Thanks to our Sponsor’s: P-Line, Ficelle’s Bistro, Tomat’s Restaurant, Kasoku Teriyaki & More, Dobyns Rods, Battery Systems, Pisani’s Automotive, Markley Cove, and CE Ranch, Buckhorn Restaurant, Todd’s Custom Rod Art, Hisui, Marty’s Boat Rental, A-Rig-Wrap, Buckhorn Grill, Pro Cure, Bay Tackle, Putah Creek Café, LEBCO, Bib & Tucker Bourbon, River2Sea and New Sponsor “The Preserve” in Winters!

See you all on May 21, 2017 (Sunday)! Email or call office phone if you have any questions (530)794-6085  Website should be updated shortly! berryessabass.weebly.com 


Bass winners


ICON Aircraft: The Essence of High Tech Adventure

By Peter Kilkus

Although the crash of an ICON A5 at Lake Berryessa yesterday, killing two people, was a tragedy for the ICON family in Vacaville, it was also was a personal shock to me. The plane that went down, #07, was the one I had just flown around Lake Berryessa on the previous Friday. I actually flew it around the lake, landed it twice, took off twice. Ironically, I flew over the seaplane that had flipped over on the east side of the lake on April 30 while practicing touch-and-go landings on the water. Two occupants received minor injuries. The plane, a 2003 Glasstar experimental floatplane, was towed upside-down to shore. It looked very odd from two hundred feet above.

Friends have asked me whether I’d fly in an A5 again. Of course I would. Why not? Flying in one felt very secure and safe and was an amazing experience. We don’t stop driving our car because a neighbor crashed his. Besides, I consider myself an adventurous person. I’ve raced jet skis, ridden ATVs off-road in places that actually scared me. I ski and scuba dive. The reason I scuba dive is to feel like I’m flying like a bird in three dimensions. Having sharks swimming around me adds to the excitement. But I’ve never personally flown an airplane.

ICON wants to be a good neighbor to the Lake Berryessa community. They sponsored a Community Outreach Day at Reclamation HQ on Friday, May 5 for about a dozen community members. Evan and I flew in two separate A5s with cameras rolling - filming the lake and each other. We’ll post those videos at an appropriate time.

ICON gave me the opportunity to fly like a real bird for the first time in my life! I’m very grateful.

But more than that, I admire them for the state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facility they built in Vacaville next to the Nut Tree Airport. Most of my career has been in fast growth, high tech telecommunications design and manufacturing. You may think this odd, but when I walked into ICON’s pristine manufacturing facility a couple of weeks ago, it actually gave me a thrill (not quite as much as flying the plane). It’s attention to detail and manufacturing efficiency, its dedication to quality assurance, were superb. Seeing the large crew of hardware and software designers at work was inspiring. This was Silicon Valley or Telecom Valley in Vacaville. Maybe I’ve been retired too long, but I wanted to submit my job application that day. One thing I miss is working with very smart people on very cool technology.

So yesterday’s tragedy did hit me hard personally, but obviously not as hard as it hit the ICON family. ICON Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins said, in part, that it was with great sadness that he reported that two ICON employees were killed in an A5 accident while flying at Lake Berryessa, CA. He had no details on the cause of the accident yet. The NTSB and FAA are investigating. ICON will be working closely to fully support their investigation.

“This was a devastating personal loss for many of us…The thoughts and prayers of our entire organization are with the families of both people onboard, they were both truly amazing individuals."

The pilot of the aircraft, Jon Karkow, was a superstar of aeronautical research and development. I would consider him a real American hero - talk about living the high tech adventure in real life!

From ICON’s web site:

“Jon Karkow spent 21 years in aircraft development at Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites and over that time rightfully earned the reputation as the most accomplished aeronautical engineer and project engineer in the history of Scaled. He led more than 20 aircraft programs and five complete airplanes including the record-breaking, around-the-world Virgin GlobalFlyer that won him a 2006 Aeronautics Laureate Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Jon Karkow

Most recently, he served as the Technical Program Manager for Richard Branson's commercial space program SpaceShipTwo. A licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic, Jon received a BS in Physics at Kenyon College and a BS in Aeronautical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is an active pilot and experimental test pilot with instrument, multi-engine, seaplane, helicopter, and glider ratings.”

So it is with personal sadness that I, and your Lake Berryessa neighbors, give our condolences to the people of ICON.


The Cleanest Lake In Northern California Is 

FULL And OPEN For Summer Fun! 

Now that the “cleanest lake in Northern California” is full again, recreation spirits are rising fast. Boaters are flocking to the lake in greater numbers than ever. It just feels good to play on a full Lake Berryessa!

Anheuser Busch – Fairfield Brewery wrote a letter many years ago supporting their long-standing scientific analysis that Lake Berryessa water was and is pure - contradicting false pollution stories that pop up in the news from time to time. 

Scientific data from other sources, including local water agencies and the Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership also corroborated this assessment. There has never been any documented evidence – ever – that Lake Berryessa water purity has been compromised.

Reliable water is rare in California and one of the most important elements in many manufacturing, food processing and biotechnology companies. Thirty years ago, when representatives from the Anheuser-Busch Inc. were looking for a West Coast home for its Budweiser distilling vats, it tested the water in Solano County and stipulated it would move to Fairfield if the city could guarantee to provide only Lake Berryessa water. 

Three decades later, the Fairfield brewery uses more than 1,500 acre-feet of Lake Berryessa water per year to brew more than 4 million barrels of beer annually.

Anheuser Busch is also a major financial supporter of the Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership (LBWP). On Sunday, June 4, 2017, World Environment Day, LBWP, Budweiser brewery employees, and other volunteers will again get together at Markley Cove Resort for a cleanup along the Lake Berryessa shoreline.

The LBWP promotes Lake Berryessa water quality through its mascot, Bilgee the Bilgee Pad, Clean Water Warrior, seen around the lake almost every weekend. Bilgee talks to boaters and other visitors about water quality, invasive species, and recycling.

According to management of the Fairfield Brewery, “Water is vital to plant and animal life and it's a key ingredient in brewing beer, and one of five key ingredients used in the making of Budweiser – that’s why they are committed to water conservation both inside and outside our breweries. Lake Berryessa is a consistent, high quality water source for our brewery. As with all our breweries, we carefully monitor our source water on a regular basis.  The water we receive is tested and goes through additional purification processes to meet the exacting standards of our brewmasters".

The Anheuser Busch brewery opened in 1976 and employs about 460 people. It is Fairfield’s single biggest user of water at about 2 million gallons daily, 7 percent of the entire city's consumption. All of this is Lake Berryessa water. Brewery officials don't think the city's Delta water is good enough for Budweiser.

This Bud’s for You -  from Lake Berryessa!

budweiser logo


Tragedy at Lake Berryessa

The following story was printed before a terrible accident this morning in which an ICON A5 aircraft crashed near Pleasure Cove with two fatalities. This is a terrible blow to the ICON family in Vacaville. It also hits the Lake Berryessa News hard after our amazing flying experience on Friday which we wrote about below and in the Lake Berryessa News print edition and Facebook page.

It is even more heartbreaking to me personally since the plane that crashed was #07, the one I flew Friday.

ICON crash


Lake Berryessa: The Right Location For Light Sport Aircraft

Another company that located in the area specifically because of Lake Berryessa is ICON Aircraft of Vacaville. If you've been up at the lake during the last couple of years you've probably seen their bright jet-skis-of-the-air flying, landing, and taking off.

ICON located in Vacaville because Lake Berryessa is the exact type of environment for people to have fun with this aircraft. You don't need a full pilot's license and the plane can easily be towed by a car. ICON has been using the lake for flight training.

Lake Berryessa is an official FAA seaplane base. Seaplanes are, and will always be, a regular feature of this lake. This is a public air space, public lake surface, and public land area dedicated to recreation - even in three dimensions.

The A5 is FAA-legal, follows all the aircraft rules in flight, and Coast Guard rules when operating as a boat.

ICON was actually a bidder for Berryessa Point Recreation Area (former Berryessa Marina) during the last bid prospectus. They wanted  a site to support their customers who wished to enjoy fly-in camping. Unfortunately, their bid was rejected as were all the other proposals.

I and Evan Kilkus, LBNews' FAA-licensed drone pilot, visited ICON's impressive manufacturing facility and sat at the controls of an A5. Since we both have raced jet skis, just sitting in this  3-D jet ski was a thrill.

ICON wishes to be a good neighbor to the Lake Berryessa community. They sponsored a Community Outreach Day at the lake on Friday, May 5 near Oak Shores, and The Lake Berryessa News staff was lucky enough to be invited to go for a ride and see what the hype is about. Well we have to say, these things are awesome! They are so easy and fun to fly! All that easy fun for under a cool quarter million!

It was another day in paradise! Icon showed about a dozen community members how the planes work and what it is they do up at Lake Berryessa. Basic flight training and product testing are mainly it, so stay tuned next week for a LB News Video Report, where you will get to ride along in the plane and see how they practice their effortless takeoffs, landings, and safety maneuvers, all while enjoying a spectacular view.

ICON on shore
ICON fishing
Peter in ICON A5
ICON flying


Marty Rental Ad 040717


Lake Berryessa - Is  It The Cleanest Lake Around?

The answer is a rousing YES! Water quality studies have consistently shown Lake Berryessa to be exceptionally pure. 

But a few weeks ago the Sacramento Bee raised its ugly head with a poorly-written story headlined: "Millions of gallons of sewage water poured into streams near Lake Berryessa." 

A flurry of inquiries from concerend residents and visitors resulted in some people cancelling their camping reservations despite explanations that this was not a real problem. Unfortunately the story was picked up by many news outlets, especially TV news shows with short attention spans, which left out the following important points. 

The overflow was 3 months ago due to clean rain mixed with fully treated wastewater and the resulting “spill" was cleaner than the water in the lake itself.

The location was at the Berryessa Estates at the north end of the lake, 5 miles up Putah Creek from Lake Berryessa, and 25 miles from Monticello Dam - and had not affected water quality.

Phillip Miller, Napa County’s deputy director of public works, said the Berryessa spills did not put the public at risk because water agencies treat for pathogens.

Alex Rabidoux, a supervising engineer at the Solano County Water Agency, which sells water from Berryessa to cities, said high lake levels this winter mean contamination of drinking water is extremely unlikely

Andrew Altevogt, assistant executive officer at the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board, said the recent Berryessa spill likely didn’t harm people because it was diluted by high creek levels during storms.

Conclusion: This was a non-issue magnified by out-of-context reporting during a time when the community is trying to revitalize this premier recreation destination. The Sacramento Bee seems to have created an new journalistic guideline, replacing the old "If it bleeds, it leads" with "If it poops, it scoops".

By The Numbers

- 6 Million Gallons of  treated and diluted wastewater spilled  five miles from the lake, more than 20 miles from the dam. 

- The lake inflow in February was more than 120 Billion Gallons.

The "get a grip" mathematical result?

6 Million gals./120 Billion gals. = 0.01%

How low can you go?


1061 Steele Canyon 050317


SIR: A New Social Media Channel

Although I've been doing a lot of computer-based social media work with the Lake Berryessa News web site and Facebook page, email newsletter and Twitter (I need to be ready if I ever become POTUS), friends just introduced me to a radical new form of social media. It's been dubbed FFEE and is being practiced by the Sons In Retirement (SIR). The FFEE acronym stands for Face-to-Face, Eye-to-Eye, a form of social media that transcends computers, keyboards, and digital transmission formats.

The Mission of SIR is to improve the lives of its members through fun activities and events - while making friends for life. The only requirement is that you actually have to physically meet people, talk to them face to face, and enjoy interesting social activities with them.

A few retired friends up here at Lake Berryessa recently decided I wasn't having enough fun on a regular basis so they invited me to consider the Sons In Retirement. I was actually invited by the Big Sir himself  - Lake Berryessa's Stu Williams - quite an honor! 

My first luncheon meeting at the Napa Elks Lodge (great facility) was very enjoyable and I joined. There are now seven members from the Lake Berryesssa area - only two more needed to form the Berryessa SIRball team or the new Lake Berryessa SIRpreme Court. 

SIR has monthly luncheons with interesting speakers, good food and  fellowship. Additionally, their members  enjoy a variety of  social activities such as golf, fishing, hiking, bowling, bocce, card games and more.

Many activities like travel, theater, dining, picnics, and holiday parties include their ladies and guests.

SIR flyer


Lake Berryessa’s Connection to Outer Space and Inner Space:

The Rubins Family of the Berryessa Highands.

Lake Berryessa News readers are familiar, through our reporting, with Astronaut Kate Rubins who just returned from outer space a few months ago and was recently honored at a Women in Science event with President Trump. Turns out that Kate has a brother who is working in inner space and taking on the legal system with artificial intelligence (AI).

Dan Rubins, 33, is creator ands chief executive of , www.legalrobot.com, a start-up that uses artificial intelligence to translate legalese into plain English.

Dan Rubins edited-1

A major impact of A.I. that concerns economists is job loss - and not only blue collar jobs. What white collar jobs will be lost to artificial intelligence and automation? Researchers are beginning to see that artificial intelligence, robotics, and new disruptive technology are challenging white-collar professions that previously seemed invulnerable.

Dan Rubins has a lot of grievances with lawyers. At his former job, he recalled the time when six corporate lawyers, each billing at hundreds of dollars an hour, were inspecting a contract looking for capitalization errors. It’s what prompted him to create . Having reviewed nearly a million legal documents, Legal Robot also flags anomalies, strange wording or clauses in contracts. Mr. Rubins said that A.I. is good at identifying potentially vague word choices, but he doesn’t think A.I. will put lawyers out of business.

He said legal documents are well suited to machine learning because they are highly structured and repetitive. Legal Robot tapped a vast trove of contracts prepared by human lawyers in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission - “a cesspool of legal language,” Mr. Rubins said - as well as past documents from various law firms who wanted to help train Legal Robot’s systems. 

His start-up company software offers features like:

Instant Error Check: automated contract review which helps understand complex legal language and spot problems - without the time and cost of hiring an attorney.

Compare & Collaborate: Evaluates a contract against standards and across industries or jurisdictions, then collaborates with a company’s legal team.

Fairness & Risk Analysis: Algorithms assess fairness and risk so all parties can be clear on the terms and confident about what they are signing.

The Lake Berryessa News would like to see a version of an Artificial Intelligence algorithm that can help understand the inner workings and reasoning of the federal government, especially the Bureau of Reclamation! We already have Allie the Lake Berryessa Alligator as a mascot. Maybe Berryessa AL, the Lake Berryessa Algorithm-gorilla, can help protect our community in future dealings with various levels of government.

AI gorilla


Water Ski Into Summer at Lake Berryessa

Spring is here and Summer is coming. Water skiers have a great club to join - the Monticello Ski Club! Check out their new web site for details.

Monticello Ski Club 2017

Monticello Ski Club: Who are we? 

We are water skiers who, at one point in our life, decided that going around little red buoys at faster and faster speeds and shorter and shorter line lengths was just a whole lotta fun. We are a small, family-friendly group that happens to occupy one of the best little coves on Lake Berryessa in the beautiful Napa Valley. If you have never been on a slalom course, but would like to try, we are your best bet in Northern California. You will be hard pressed to find a better, more economical way to ski in a protected cove on a lake anywhere. 


If you have been skiing on a course for long time and think you are pretty hot stuff, this is the place for you too. We're pretty good and we would be happy to help you get even better. Head over to the Use Pass section for information on how to ski at our site. Most of all, we would love to meet you. If you are at Lake Berryessa and want to learn more, please head to the dock (at 5mph). Members there will be happy to answer questions for you.



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.

It was the second largest annual increase in the history of the lake.

It was also the second highest level the lake has reached in its 58 year history.

The lake has only spilled into Glory Hole 26 times in those 58 years. Also the rainfall total (47.1 inches as of 5/8/17) is the highest in 20 years.

The first video shows how low the lake was 2 years ago. You should watch it before the others to get some perspective on the amazing rise of the lake in 2017.



Parking Lot Sale!

Lake Berryessa Senior Center 

Saturday, June 3, 2017   

9-4 pm

Sunday, June 4, 2017     

9-1 pm

... Furniture, Furnishings, & Tools ...

100% Proceeds of Sales to Benefit the Senior Center

Napa Valley Mobile Petting Zoo

Hot dogs, soft drinks

4H sweet tooth booth 

Come mingle & join the fun!

If you would like to donate items and receive a donation receipt,  please call 707-337-0224

4380 Spanish Flat Loop Rd.  


Full lake level history 2015




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

Berryessa Valley photo

Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick for creating the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center described in the first video.



Lake Berryessa History 2010

The Bureau of Reclamation has destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of children. Here's an interview I did in 2010, three years after the interview below with Pat Monaghan and just after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012.    

How Could the Government Have Done Something So Stupid?

Many people ask me about the history of the process that led to the present situation at Lake Berryessa. When I explain what happened most become incredulous and can't believe the government could have done something so stupid. "How could they have gotten away with that?" they exclaim.

Here's a 2007 TV interview with Pat Monaghan, cofounder of Task Force 7 at Lake Berryessa, to give you some historical insight. Those of you who remember Pete Lucero will recognize his description of what we called "The Big Lie" - which turned into the "Epic Fail".


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express


pkilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2016