Pasote Tequila & Berryessa Bass Tournament 

THANKS to the 36 Teams that kicked off the first event on November 12, 2017 and hosted out of Markley Cove. Great job everyone! We had a great blast off with four flights, including 7 youth teams! The morning had a little cloud cover and air temperature was a little cool, but warmed to 65 degrees by weigh-in.

The lake kicked up a little breeze by late afternoon, but for most teams the bite was tough. The fishing has been off and on the past couple of weeks with the fish chasing bait, but sometimes hard to catch! There has been a bunch of bait schooled up all over the lake for awhile now and the fish are keying in on bait starting to move to typical fall areas again.

When the bite is real tough, it has been all about finding the feeding fish. Most teams had reported that they had a tough day, and the average weight per bag was down. Water temps were into the low 60’s with a good amount of water still in the lake.

At the weigh-in, it was warm & sunny with many spectators!!! Top teams reported catching their fish again on the main lake with Huddlestons, S-Wavers, Jigs, and Spoons!

First Place went to Kelly Oward with a solid sack that weighed 22.22lbs with a 7.64lb kicker. Second Place went to Ron ‘PJ’ Bruggeman Jr. and John Pearl who brought in a sack that weighed 21.88lbs and a 8.50lb kicker for 2nd Place Big Fish! Third Place went to Angelo Alorro and JP Gano with a 8.92lb kicker for 1st Place Big Fish that anchored a sack that weighed 18.35lbs. With a Fourth Place finish, Darren Vieira and Aaron Scott weighed in 16.69lbs. In Fifth Place, a sack of 16.10lbs was weighed in by Johnny Douthit and Jacob Vasquez. Sixth Place went to Greg Gutierrez and Billy Hines with a sack of 15.98lbs. Seventh place went to Matt Hamilton and Scott Smith with 13.86lbs. Mike Hitomi and Todd Ushijima weighed in 13.75lbs for Eighth Place. Ninth Place went to Phil Garcia and Roy Desmangles Jr. with a sack of 12.63lbs.

Again Thanks to our Sponsor’s: P-Line, Ficelle’s Bistro, Tomat’s Restaurant, Kasoku Teriyaki & More, Dobyns Rods, Battery Systems, Pisani’s Automotive, Hi’s Tackle Box, The Other Guys, Markley Cove, and CE Ranch, Buckhorn Restaurant, Todd’s Custom Rod Art, Hisui, A-Rig-Wrap, Buckhorn Grill, Pro Cure, Bay Tackle, Putah Creek Café, LEBCO, and new sponsor Pasote Tequila!

See you all on December 3, 2017 (Sunday)! 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


Winners collage


Lake Level 11/16/17

Lake Berryessa is rising!

Good news - Lake Berryessa has started to rise. It hit a low of 430.26 feet (9.74 feet below Glory Hole) on 11/7/17. It is now at 430.4 feet (9.6 feet below Glory Hole) on 11/16/17 - a rise of 1.68 inches in 9 days - back to its level on 10/29/17.

Last year on this date the level was 399.33 feet - 40.67 feet below Glory Hole.    

The latest three day rainfall of of 1.32” brought the season total rainfall to 2.81 inches. Once the ground is saturated, which it almost is, the lake goes up about 7 inches per inch of rain.

The total rainfall last year was 47.55 inches. The last time we had more than 40 inches in one year was in 2006 which was also the last time the lake filled up.    

LB Rainfall 21 years 111317
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217


The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017

By Peter Kilkus

The official name was the Atlas Fire and it never reached the shores of Lake Berryessa, but its immediate threat dramatically pulled the Lake Berryessa community together for more than a week. All Lake Berryessa residents were affected. All  Lake Berryessa residents worried about it. And the whole Lake Berryessa Region was united by it. That’s why I took the liberty of calling it the Great Lake Berryessa Fire.

The map on the left shows what we consider the Greater Lake Berryessa Region graphically. It extends beyond the edge of the lake itself to nearby communities with access to the lake and upon which the lake has a direct impact - like Capell Valley, Berryessa Estates, Pope Valley, and Circle Oaks.

We knew Sunday that the winds would be wild all night and had an uneasy feeling. Soon after the fire started on Atlas Peak at 10 PM Sunday, we smelled smoke. When the power went out at about 3 AM we knew there was a serious problem. That was soon verified by the news media, by government sources, and by the huge clouds of smoke rising into the sky.

The next two days were stressful because we knew the fire was creeping our way. The worst part was waiting, because you could see it coming. Finally, on Tuesday afternoon we were told to evacuate the Berryessa Highlands even though the fire was 6 miles away. But it was heading towards the Corners which was our only way out. Without power we also had no internet access so I couldn’t update the Lake Berryessa Facebook page or web site. I agreed to leave, but Evan stayed behind to do what he could to protect our property and report the status of the fire as it moved towards the Highlands.

When we got to the Corners (Hwy 121 at Hwy 128 and Steele Canyon Road) the fire was coming over the top of Sugarloaf heading right down to the intersection. Smoke was so thick we could barely see the helicopters dumping Lake Berryessa water on the fire. Due to the firefighters hard work, that part of the fire was stopped in its tracks.

Corners Before & After edited-1

Evacuation from the Berryessa Highlands

But later Tuesday night the raging fire bore down on the Capell Valley community only a few miles from the Corners and Lake Berryessa. The Pridmore family, alongside a dedicated crew of neighbors and friends, had stayed behind to save their homes. Swirling gusts of wind had whipped hundred-foot flames into a semi-circle around the valley. The group used bulldozers and water tenders to cut fire lines and douse homes in water and were successful in beating back the flames, not just on Tuesday night but for days after. Their efforts, alongside teams of firefighters, saved all but one home in the valley. They also slowed bit didn’t stop the fire as it burned upward over the ridge between Lake Berryessa and the Berryessa Highlands. You can see the battle in a KCRA report on YouTube at: 

Evan began using his AT&T cell phone to broadcast to the Lake Berryessa community for the Lake Berryessa News via Facebook Live. Although power was out, AT&T had brought in a generator to power their local tower.

Here’s a typical broadcast describing the use of the Global Supertanker to control the fire creeping towards the Berryessa Highlands.

For a week, the Lake Berryessa News’ Facebook page was a fount of images and reports from around Lake Berryessa, starting with dramatic nighttime footage of flames along a ridgeline and later documenting the closing-off - and eventual reopening - of roads and neighborhoods.

I spent the next six days in motels in Davis using my computer as a remote relay station, translating Evan’s Facebook Live updates into YouTube videos and posting them on our Lake Berryessa News web site and what turned out to be a crucial communication tool Nextdoor Berryessa (See story at What’s Happening NEXTDOOR?)

Several newspapers wrote about Evan’s efforts: 

He wouldn't evacuate, then used Facebook Live to broadcast firestorm in his hometown

A man, a phone and Facebook capture Lake Berryessa wildfire battles

Due to the magnitude of the disaster, normal news agencies were only able to cover it in summary stories. But our Lake Berryessa News updates were specific to our region and were critical to the residents who had no other ways to get news of the fire and the affect on their homes. Our motto is “Without the Lake Berryessa News, there would be no Lake Berryessa news.”

The difference between escaping from a rapidly advancing fire, as so many did, and the Berryessa Highlands evacuees watching the fire slowly but inexorably coming toward them is the sense of dread and helplessness. Evan’s regular video updates and calm voice were instrumental in helping people cope with those feelings - as so many said publicly. Facebook Live was an easy and quick way to show the neighbors their homes were still there, because no words could do that. Using Facebook Live, he streamed real-time video of the flames from atop a ridgeline. For seven days, he narrated and posted videos, providing context and updates to residents on edge about the fate of their homes. 

The full set of unedited reports is available on You Tube titled "Berryessa Fire Update”.

And because he had stayed behind, his responsibilities grew. He began feeding others’ pets — dogs, chickens, birds, cats — and keeping an eye on them.

Power to the Berryessa Highlands came on Sunday night and on Monday, October 16 we were finally allowed back home with power, water, internet, and spoiled food in stinky refrigerators. Fortunately, due to the hard work of firefighters and volunteers, only a few homes were lost in our region. That 747 global supertanker (official bird of Lake Berryessa) made a huge difference in saving so many homes.

But the real heroes of the fire were the firefighters themselves: Here are a couple of videos from inside the local volunteer fire trucks the first night of the fire. Try to put yourself inside those trucks. How would you feel?

Supertanker Berryessa  edited-2


Lake Berryessa Atlas Fire Updates by Evan Kilkus

For a real-time raw history of the Atlas Fire from the view of the Berryessa Highlands, here are the unedited YouTube versions of Evan Kilkus’ Facebook Live updates.


CeCe Nov2017


Atlas Fire Timeline From The Berryessa Highlands

By Evan Kilkus

Monday (October 9): As seen with a telephoto lens at 9:30 AM from the top of the ridge at the south end of the Berryessa Highlands, the fire that had started on Atlas Peak the night before was burning all the way south far past Hwy 121, and creeping downhill into Wooden Valley (top photo), and the North East/corner of the fire was two ridges or about three miles away from Capell Valley (bottom photo).

Plume 1


Tuesday (October 10):  The day started smoky and got worse as time went on. Winds had shifted towards the Highlands. By 3:30 PM the smoke was more intense as the fire began to enter the hills above the R-Ranch and Capell Valley (top photo).  By 6PM that night the fire was all throughout Capell Valley, right above Circle Oaks, and had reached the top of the hill just above Steele Canyon, about 1 mile from the Highlands neighborhood.  By 9:30 PM the wind had shifted back away from the neighborhood so the fire seemed to just stop at the top of the ridge (bottom photo).

Capell RRanch
Fire on ridge


Wednesday (October 11):  Morning broke and the fire had only crept part of the way down the hill. An afternoon pounding of water from helicopters and fire retardant from planes was a sign that firefighters were taking a stand, and they were not going to let the fire go any farther. Check out the video of all the aircraft fighting the fire below.

Creeping firre
Supertanker Berryessa  edited-2
Smoke and retardant


Thursday (October 12): At this point bulldozer crews had spent 2 days building large back-up fire breaks (middle photo), while small amounts of fire were still burning within the planned containment lines, all less than 1 mile from the neighborhood (bottom photo).

Fire from Highlands
smoke close neighbor


Friday thru Monday: By this point all active firefighting was wrapping up, but areas were still burning within the firelines. While firefighters cut hand lines and put out the hot spots, PG&E crews fixed power lines along the roads, and road crews cleared burned and damaged trees from along the roads. Residents were allowed home to all neighborhoods on Monday. Crews spent one additional week bringing containment to 100%.


Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program Report: 

Summer 2017

Download Full Report pdf here...

The Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach (LBBO) program focuses on educational outreach and invasive species prevention at Lake Berryessa. Lake Berryessa provides drinking water for more than 500,000 people in Solano County and is used by the Jelly Belly Factory and Anheuser-Busch for their products. The 2017 LBBO program was active from April to September. Throughout the season, LBBO interns conducted watercraft screenings for invasive mussels and educated boaters and recreational users. Sixteen student interns staffed six boat launches. 

The high water levels brought many visitors from different counties to check out the Glory Hole and the rest of Lake Berryessa. In order to track and analyze the effectiveness of outreach efforts, LBBO interns gathered data and provided weekly summaries to partner agencies and stakeholders. LBBO interns also participated in community volunteer cleanup events throughout the summer, including World Environment Day and California Coastal Cleanup Day. 

Back from left to right: Alessandro Schiavone, Lydia Kenison, Jo Black, Edward Blong- Her, and Qiming Yang.  Middle from left to right: Christopher Zaleski, Sierra Lissick, Mary Capcap, Angie Flores, Kyrie Aragon. Front from left to right: Kevin Young-Lai (Supervisor), Gustavo Cruz (Supervisor), Kasey Chohan, and Olivia Hart. Insets:  Scott Navarro (Supervisor) and Sarah Day.

Invasive Mussel Inspection Program

The primary goal of the LBBO program is to prevent the introduction of invasive mussels into Lake Berryessa. Invasive species are transported from one body of water to another through boats and other watercraft. LBBO interns screened watercraft both visually and through boater surveys. Interns staffed all boat launch sites at Lake Berryessa seven days a week from June-September - the peak boating season. 

In addition to screening boats and other watercraft, interns educated boaters on preventing the spread of invasive species, as well as the ecological, economic, and recreational impacts that the introduction of invasive mussels would cause Lake Berryessa, the surrounding community, and beyond. The vast majority of boaters were not only amenable to the screening process, but also supportive of the program.

Program Achievements

Screenings increased by 54% from 2016 and by 82% from 2015: 16,799 watercraft screened in 2017; 10,860 watercraft screened in 2016; 9,197 watercraft screened in 2015. 

Eight potentially infested watercraft were prevented from launching this year. Such watercraft launched in infested bodies of water in the past thirty days without sufficient dry time to eliminate risk of transmitting invasive mussels to Lake Berryessa.

As part of the invasive screening process, interns collected the following data: time of the screening, the boater’s home zip code, and the last body of water the boat had launched. This data helps the LBBO program understand the efficacy of the invasive screenings as well as to strategize better protection of Lake Berryessa in the future. 

Home County Data Analysis

Protecting Lake Berryessa from invasive mussels also requires knowledge of the geographic region from which boaters are coming and how many are coming from each region. As part of the invasive screening process, each boater’s zip code is collected and corresponds to their county of residence. 

The population that most frequently uses Lake Berryessa for recreational boating is also dependent on it for drinking water, and would be the most personally affected by an infestation of invasive mussels. Of the Solano County boaters that visited Lake Berryessa, more than 41% came from Vacaville and more than 26% came from Fairfield. 

Contra Costa and Napa are also major counties of origin for Lake Berryessa boaters with 21% and 13%,  respectively. Although residents of Contra Costa, Napa and other counties are not reliant on Lake Berryessa for drinking water, it is still critical to engage them in education and outreach for the sake of Solano County’s principle water source and their own local reservoirs that could be affected by an invasive mussel infestation.

Hydrologic Region Data Analysis

The most critical data collected during the invasive screening process is information on where a boat last launched. By recognizing launch patterns of boaters and determining which hydrologic regions are most popular, we can better assess and prepare for the risk Lake Berryessa would face if a nearby region became infested with invasive mussels. 

76% of boaters screened reported to have last launched at Lake Berryessa. Other commonly reported places of most recent launch are within the Sacramento River hydrologic region or the San Joaquin hydrologic region, neither of which currently contain any infested bodies of water with invasive mussels.

After Lake Berryessa, the most common recent launch locations were the California Delta (95), Lake Shasta (68), Lake Tahoe (67), Clear Lake (52,) Lake Sonoma (41), Sacramento River (36), Camanche Reservoir (36) and Folsom Lake (35).


The main goal of the Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program is to protect the drinking water source for nearly 500,000 residents of Solano County through invasive screenings, cleanup events, and educational efforts.

The 2017 LBBO Program was successful in screening a record number of boats for invasive species and educating over 3,400 visitors about the importance of keeping Lake Berryessa clean. 

Interns hope that visitors were inspired to help keep  Lake Berryessa cleaner than when they arrived so that the lake continues to be one of the cleanest reservoirs in the state of California. The chart below shows the results of the program for the last five years.

Outreach Program Achievements

 2,377 people were educated with boater surveys

1,115 boater surveys given: Of the 1,115 boats surveyed, 82% were inboard or inboard/outboard (eligible for bilge pad installation) and 41% of those eligible boaters installed a bilge pads

372 bilge pad installations prompted by surveys

41% of eligible boaters installed bilge pads (based on rates of Inboard/Outboard boats)

606 additional bilge pads distributed

 Boater Kits and Premiums

 All boaters who completed a survey received a tote bag filled with a boater kit.

Highlights of the boater kit included a bilge pad to keep oil and fuel contaminants from leaving bilge compartments, a fuel bib to eliminate spilled gasoline while refueling, and a West Marine coupon for 15% off a purchase. Also included in the kits are booklets about California boating and environmental laws as well as educational materials regarding zebra and quagga mussels. Boater kits were generously provided by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways and the California Coastal Commission.


The main goal of the Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program is to protect the drinking water source for nearly 500,000 residents of Solano County through invasive screenings, cleanup events, and educational efforts. The 2017 LBBO Program was successful in screening a record number of boats for invasive species and educating over 3,400 visitors about the importance of keeping Lake Berryessa clean. Interns hope that visitors were inspired to help keep the water and shores of Lake Berryessa cleaner than when they arrived so that the lake continues to be one of the cleanest reservoirs in the state of California.

The Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program is managed by the Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership which includes the Solano County Water Agency, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Solano Resource Conservation District. It also includes representatives from Solano and Napa Counties as well as a range of local agencies in collaboration whose goal is to keep Lake Berryessa’s water safe and clean.


TroopFlyer2017 Page 1


November, 2017

LBNews Pg 8&1 Nov17

Click to download this issue...


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.

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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.



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 - 2017

by Peter Kilkus

Download a PDF of the history timeline here.

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.

The Bureau of Reclamation 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.        

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".


Some Interesting Past Stories

The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017

Atlas Fire Timeline From The Berryessa Highlands

What Is That Red Stuff Falling From The Sky?

What’s Happening NEXTDOOR?

Pasote Tequila & Berryessa Bass Tournament

Circle Oaks Fire - The Great Escape

Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program: Summer 2017

Download full report pdf here...

Lake Berryessa 1971: Controversy Begins (Oakland Tribune)

Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation Consider Working Together to Rebuild Lake Berryessa

Milestone Achieved! A Positive Report on the Potential Future Rebirth of Lake Berryessa

Floating Native American Casino Coming to Lake Berryessa

Reclamation's Draft Environmental Assessment For Lake Berryessa

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

The Destruction of Steele Park Resort

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

Final Report on ICON A5 Crash at Lake Berryessa

Napa County Wildfire Awareness Resources

Is His Name Smokey Bear or Smokey THE Bear?

The California Boater Card Is Coming!

Adventure Water Drinking - The New Outdoor Sport

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

Rural Code Enforcement in Napa County

Exciting New Game Fishing Opportunity at Lake Berryessa

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

Two Napa County Volunteer Fire Sub-Stations Open


Special Publications

Final Ragatz Report (75MB PDF)

Ragatz Summary Recommendations (75 KB PDF)


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 rev1


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The Winters Express


pkilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2017