Sincere thanks to our 2018 advertisers. Without them there would be no Lake Berryessa News. And without the Lake Berryessa News, there would be no Lake Berryessa news.

2018 LBN ads R


Good news for Lake Berryessa and the Berryessa Highlands. 

Moskowite Corners has been sold. The new owner is Thuyen Tran of Oakland. Tran said he bought the parcel because “I have great confidence,” he can create a destination for both locals and visitors."



Now that the rains have increased, it reminds me of an unusual weather event from the big winter of 2017 (besides Glory Hole overflowing in February, 2017). This was at the north end of the lake with the video taken from the Putah Canyon campground.

Waterspout at Lake Berryessa - May, 2017

Waterspout 2017

Here are more videos of the same waterspout:




1081 Arroyo Grande ad



(Editor’s note: This tournament took place while more than 3 inches of rain fell on Lake Berryessa during the windy day! You can see from the photos below that these are dedicated - or some other appropriate word - anglers.)


WOW - lots of or rain lasting from live-well check to awards in Markley Cove Store! Thanks to the 18 BRAVE Teams that fished the 4th event! The rain was relentless, glad I have my 200MPH Rain Gear! Hot chili was the favorite at weigh-ins!

Next tournament Sunday 2/10/19! 

The lake is fishing well for numbers now, and most of the field found limits, just no giants were weighed in. Most teams struggled for a big bite all day, but a few teams got a good one! The bite has been good with the lake turning and the rains falling! Most teams reported catching their fish in 10 - 40 feet. Only a few boats ran North, with most teams staying off the ocean in the main lake. Once again, you all did great taking care of your fish and catching fish in the harsh conditions! 

On a bad note, I was told three boats went blasting through the 5 MPH under Pope Creek Bridge and a fourth boat blasted on to plane after the bridge! That is a 5 MPH zone and you can be DISQUALIFIED if turned in!

Water temps are into the mid 50’s range with the water clarity slightly murky, especially after the rain and winds on Saturday again. Teams reported catching their fish on Crank Baits, Jigs, A-Rigs, and Glide Baits. Swimbait bite did not happen? Most teams were fishing anywhere before main body of the lake and didn’t run far in the rain.

First Place went to Shawn Graves and Brook Van Muijen with a good sack and a great kicker! Their sack weighed 16.97lbs and was anchored with a 4.93lb kicker. Second Place went to Joe Mariani and Luke Lipanovich who brought in a sack that weighed 14.29lbs and a 4.13lb kicker. Third Place went to Bob Dettling and Jason Kincannon with a sack that weighed 14.27lbs with a 5.67lb kicker for 1st Place Big Fish. With a Fourth Place finish, Matt Hamilton and Scott Smith weighed in 12.75lbs. In Fifth Place, John Pearl came in with a sack weighing 12.53lbs. Nic Nourot and Ryan German weighed in a 4.98lb fish for 2nd Place Big Fish. 

Happy New Year from Berryessa Bass Tournaments!! Thanks to all the teams for supporting the 2018-2019 Pasote Tequila & Berryessa Bass Tournaments Circuit on this past miserable wet Sunday! Thanks to our Sponsor’s: Pasote Tequila, P-Line, Venom Energy Drinks, Ficelle’s Bistro, Tomat’s Restaurant, Kasoku Teriyaki & More, Koloa Bass/Zipline/ATV, Dobyns Rods, Fisherman’s Warehouse, Battery Systems, Pisani’s Automotive, Trigger Grips, 3Badge.com, Markley Cove, and CE Ranch, Buckhorn Restaurant, Todd’s Custom Rod Art, Hisui, A-Rig-Wrap, Round Table Pizza, Buckhorn Grill, Pro Cure, Bay Tackle, LEBCO, Berryessa Boat Repair and Gone Fishin Marine!

If you bring a currently dated receipt from Gone Fishin Marine or any other sponsor, I will give you free raffle tix! You can also get 10% off purchases if you’re a Berryessa Bass Tournament member! I will have membership cards for you at the next tournament! Email or call office phone if you have any questions: (530)794-6085 Thanks for the Support!!! Website should be updated shortly! berryessabass.weebly.com




809 Bahia Vista ad


The latest issue of the Lake Berryessa News, January 2019, has been published. Download a pdf version here.

LBNews Pg 8&1 Jan19


2018 Lake Berryessa News Complete Set (PDF)


New Year's Warning from the Onion: 

Earth Passes Through Temporal Vortex Hurling Planet Into Year 2019 750,000 Americans Die During 1st Attempt To Get Back In Shape!

According to an alarming report just published, three quarters of a million Americans die annually during their first attempt to get back in shape. “We found that, each year, about 225,000 out-of-shape Americans collapse and perish within the first three minutes of attempting to start jogging again, with most typically not making it to the end of their own block,” said the study - adding that a further 60,000 Americans who decide to improve their health by swimming laps succumb to overexertion every year and sink to the bottom of the pool and drown after just a few strokes. 

 “Perhaps most troubling, our data show that 60 percent of Americans who commit to regaining their former level of physical fitness by hiring a personal trainer at a gym drop dead almost instantly during their first abdominal crunch. And another 30 percent die while stretching before they even begin their workout.” The study further noted that, of the Americans who managed to survive their first attempt at exercise in years, nine in 10 suffered from debilitating pain for the rest of their lives.

-Ht vs wt


The headlines below document the last several years of Reclamation's promised "seamless transition" process. Never Forget! 


2015: The Bureau of Reclamation Announces a Business Opportunity, or Prospectus, for Commercial Recreation Services Development and Operation at Lake Berryessa

2016: No Bids For Berryessa! Why? A Modest Proposal: Radical Restructuring -  Ownership and Management of Lake Berryessa Should Be Transferred to Napa County

2017: Will 2017 Be Lake Berryessa's Lucky Year?

2018: "Holes In History" at Lake Berryessa: Simple Incompetence, Fervent Ignorance, Malicious Arrogance! Ten Years Lost.

2019: The Tenth Anniversary of the Final Demolition of the Lake Berryessa Resorts! Still No Improvements in Sight After Ten Years.


It’s 2019, Time To Give Big Island Lagoon Back to the People!

My latest 2019 recommendation below is updated from my original recommendation in 2012, to reverse the arbitrary closure of Big island Lagoon to motorized family recreation. 

This is the least Reclamation can do to help mitigate the significant damage they have done to the Lake Berryessa community, including the stalled revitalization process being negotiated with Napa County. Observation by local residents for many years has shown that non-motorized use of Big Island lagoon varies between zero and none throughout the year.

The subject was never raised at any of the public forums held to date, as was specified in Paragraph 6: Land and Water Use Classification, of the 2006 Record of Decision. I raised it at the last Public Forum meeting held on November 14, 2018.

Drew Lessard, Reclamation Regional Manager, Central California Area Office, agreed to review the issue if I provided an analysis of the situation. Public input to support this recommendation will be very important to rescinding this flawed decision. 


Recommendation: Immediately Return Big Island Lagoon to a 5MPH Zone for Family Recreation (2019 Update)

In a highly unpopular move with no real public support, the Bureau of Reclamation arbitrarily closed Big Island Lagoon to motorized recreation almost ten years ago. This area was an historical 5 MPH zone and a heavily-used family recreation gathering spot. It provided a quiet, safe respite from the activity on the main body of the lake.

This action was taken with no public input or evaluation of its effects on lake users. Monitoring of the area for the many years has shown there has been no appreciable use by non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks. This action simply created a wasted recreational resource that had previously been used by hundreds of boaters on a regular basis. (Map on Pg.3)

Steele Park Cove (Willi’s Cove) near Steele Park Resort was also designated as a non-motorized zone, but enforcement was never implemented. This lack of enforcement is a precedent for the lack of importance of this type of classification.

The closure of Big Island lagoon was stealth action hidden on a map at the end of the 2006 Record of Decision section excerpted below. This section also implied that no changes would be made until the Public Forum referenced in this same section was created. The subject was never discussed at any of the public forums held to date until November 14, 2018. 

Big Island Lagoon non-motorized

2006 Record of Decision: 6. Land and Water Use Classification. 

"The WROS is not adopted as part of the VSP ROD. Existing requirements developed in conjunction with Action 17, “Water Surface Zoning and Restrictions,” of the 1993 RAMP ROD are carried forward on an interim basis pending future adoption by Reclamation of the WROS or other land and water use classification system in consultation with the forum established in paragraph 1c. In the interim, certain areas will be reserved for use by non-motorized watercraft and electric trolling motors only. These areas are identified in Appendix B, map number 413-202-8."

1. Recreation Program Management. The following principles and actions will be used to guide and manage recreation activities at Lake Berryessa:

c. Collaboration. Reclamation will sponsor a regular forum with the opportunity for public involvement to promote communication, thoughtful consideration of interests, consistency and uniformity, and constructive resolution of problems or conflicts.


The Water and Land Use Recreation Opportunities Spectrum (WALROS) (Download PDF here…) was approved and adopted by Reclamation in 2009. Its application by the Department of the Interior mandates creating the greatest recreational opportunities possible. All concessions/resorts would maintain the highest level of development in order to serve the public demand. 

The standard for WALROS decision-making incorporates (1) sound professional judgment, (2) preponderance of the evidence, (3) a rule of reasonableness, (4) a sliding scale rule of analysis, and (5) a scale of degree.

Lake Berryessa clearly falls in the category of Rural Developed Setting and Rural Developed Recreation Experience. (See descriptions below.)


Since there was neither public input nor public support for this arbitrary action; there was no statutory authority or other justification for Reclamation’s decision; and the action is in opposition to Reclamation’s stated purpose to support and expand recreation at Lake Berryessa, Big Island Lagoon should immediately return to its historical 5 MPH status in anticipation of the 2019 recreation season.


Rural developed setting: A rural developed WALROS area is beyond a metropolitan area and the suburban ring of development. Rural developed areas may serve as “bedroom” communities for urban areas and may contain working farms, ranches, and towns. In this setting, primary road networks are common. 

Although development will be prevalent and common, the setting has a pastoral sense because of an interspersing of forests, water resources, hills, valleys, canyons, wetlands, open spaces, and agricultural lands. Naturally appearing shoreline edges are common, although various water controls or other structures are also common. 

Recreation management is prevalent and common but not as extensive as in an urban setting (e.g., personnel, rules, facilities, signs, services, conveniences, security). Recreation use, diversity, socialization, concentration, sense of security, and conveniences are less common than in a developed suburban or urban setting. 

The sights, sounds, and smells of recreation and non-recreation use are common, yet interspersed with locations and times when the urbanized visitor may experience a sense of tranquility and escape from everyday challenges. 

Examples of rural developed areas include areas with country estates, second homes and cabins, dams, power stations, primary and secondary roads, communication lines, resorts, marinas, small communities, full service campgrounds, county and State parks, farms, ranches, and small commercial and industrial establishments.

Rural developed recreation experience: The area provides occasional or periodic opportunities to see, hear, or smell the natural resources (e.g., forests, wildlife, aesthetics), but development, human activity, and natural resource modifications are common and frequently encountered. 

 In a rural-developed area, everyday sights and sounds are also important. Socialization within and outside one’s group is typical, and the presence of other visitors is expected. The opportunity to relieve stress, alter everyday routines, and achieve a moderate level of comfort and convenience along with a sense of safety and security is important. 

The array of recreation activities may be diverse, ranging from relaxation and contemplation (e.g., sunbathing, sailboating, shoreline fishing) to physical exertion and challenge (e.g., competing in shoreline and water sports, tournament fishing, ice fishing, water skiing, snowmobiling, motocross racing, and kayaking). 

The rural developed area is typically attractive for day use by weekend visitors from local metropolitan areas, nearby communities, short-term campers, recreational vehicle users, large groups, and adventure tourists within a day’s drive. 


Ten Years Ago At Lake Berryessa

March, 2009: Reclamation cancels negotiations with Markley Cove and Pensus because of a minor technicality in the bid document regarding future federal funding. 

The Antideficiency Act prohibits the government from purchasing, or implying that they may purchase, assets for which funds have not yet been officially approved by Congress. This could have been easily resolved. A single government attorney seriously disrupts a decades long process. Requires a complete rebid of the concession selection process, but allows Pleasure Cove contract to remain in force.

May 15, 2009: Revised Bid Prospectus released for six concession areas.

May 26, 2009: Intense public pressure forces Reclamation to sign interim contracts with Markley Cove and Steele Park to avoid interruption of services.

June 9, 2009: Intense public pressure forces Reclamation to agree to operate temporary campground at Oak Shores Day Use Area.

June, 2009: Reclamation initiates “environmental remediation and clean-up” at each concession area, including demolition of millions of dollars of useable facilities and infrastructure (launch ramps, roads utilities, restaurants, marinas, lodging).

September 30, 2009: New bid proposals due; five separate proposals received. Some previous bidders dropped out. Reclamation’s bid evaluation panel analyzes latest proposals during November.

January 14, 2010: Pensus Group selected as most responsive bid for all six concession areas. Markley Cove loses the bid it had previously won. Markley owners question the legality of the results and demand an investigation. OIG Investigative Report finally determines there were no improprieties with contract award process.


2019 is the Tenth Anniversary of the Final Demolition of the Lake Berryessa Resorts! Still No Real Progress.

TEN YEARS of lost opportunities! A generation of children and families have missed some of the best experiences of their lives! Never forget! Here’s the tenth anniversary update of the destruction of Steele Park Resort.



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...


Welcome to the best map of Lake Berryessa you’ll ever find!

Click on the map to see a larger version.

Click here to download a pdf copy.

1 Lake Map Base 082317


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.



Full lake level history 2015
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217 edited-1



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.




1958 - 2018

by Peter Kilkus


What Happened At Lake Berryessa? The Book! 

(Click to Download the PDF here)

Table Of Contents


Without THE LAKE BERRYESSA NEWS there would be no Lake Berryessa News…and finally there would be no definitive history of what happened at Lake Berryessa. Having participated directly for more than twenty years as an advocate for the lake in the fiasco that was the Bureau of Reclamation’s Visitor Services Plan, its farcical but tragic outcome, and the process of rebuilding, I have very strong views of the causes and results - supported by facts and data which were mostly obfuscated by the proponents of the destruction of the lake’s residential and business community.

The Bureau of Reclamation and their supporters destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of families, children, and friends. 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 goal of this book is to provide the history and the context within which such an incredibly destructive course of action took place.

The initial timeline shows a condensed history of the process. The next section tells the story through the eyes of Lake Berryessa News articles. With the permission of the Napa Register, a parallel history is presented through contemporaneous editorials, articles, and letters to the editor from the Napa Register.

This book is not a traditional academic exercise in historical exposition. Academic historians define history as presenting facts without expressing any opinion or analysis of the events whereas memories are comprised of emotions that can have a great influence on the perception of an actual event. Critical historians live by the old saying of "there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth."

I’m more interested in the narrative approach to defining this history. Almost two decades have passed since this story began, and Lake Berryessa history has been created with every day of that twenty years.

This book is the raw, as-it-happened, unfiltered picture of what many of us lived through. It is organized chronologically; focused on a single coherent story; primarily descriptive but also analytical; primarily concerned with people but also the abstract circumstances in which they find themselves. To me a big part of the fascination with any history is trying to discover what was going on inside people's heads in the past, and what it was like to live in that past.

The future may finally looking brighter for Lake Berryessa or does it? History continues to unfold.

Peter Kilkus, Lake Beryessa, 2018


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.        

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".

How It All Began: The Origins of the “Big Lie”

Lake Berryessa History Timeline: 1958 - 2018

Click here for PDF version

Lake Berryessa News (2010 - 2018): A VERY SLOW MOTION Disaster! 

Click here for PDF version


Some Interesting Past Stories

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

Silly Septic System Standards Harm Rural Napa

A Fishy Fishing Story at Lake Berryessa

Undercover agents and all…plus a new Fishing Guide Policy from Reclamation

Analysis of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument - the Dumbest National Monument in the United States

Lake Berryessa History: The Summer of Love (1967) versus The Summers of Chaos (1998-1999) 

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


Special Publications (PDF)

As Lake Berryessa Flows:

The Science and Engineering Elements of a Major Natural Resource (Combined Reports)

Combined Report Title Page and Index


As Lake Berryessa Flows: 

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty 

(Single Report)


As Lake Berryessa Turns!

Temperature and Fishing in a Warm, Monomictic Lake 

(Single Report)  


Seeing Underwater at Lake Berryessa 

(Single Report)


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

By Peter Kilkus (6/20/17)

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.


Conspiracy Theory Or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots Of Environmental Destruction        

By Peter F. Kilkus 

Download PDF of this report (2 MB)


The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist

Chef Neiman Marxist French


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express


ACDC Intros mix


Glory Hole Overflows

County Berryessa Map Large

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2018