Lake Level as of 9AM, 2/16/19

Glory Hole Spill Watch - Only 3.5 Feet To Go!

The lake continues to rise slowly - only 8 inches in the last 24 hours. Now at 436.5 feet the level is 2.4 feet higher than its highest point last year - and only 3.5 feet below Glory Hole.

Total rainfall at Monticello Dam has reached almost 27 inches for the season.    

For comparison, the rainfall in the Berryessa Highlands is always higher than at the dam and has reached 29.8 inches. But more important to the lake level is the rainfall at and above the north end of the lake. See the story and map below. If the rains keep coming as predicted, the lake may spill over Glory Hole before the end of February. Then the question will turn to how high can it go before the end of the rainy season. 

Lake Water Levels Dec2016 Feb2019b edited-1
Lake Water Levels 2005 2019 Feb16 edited-2

See the lake rise in real time at:


Lake Berryessa Watershed 

Rainfall measurements at the dam may not be representative of the area, but they are also not the best indicator of how fast the lake may rise. The Lake Berryessa watershed is primarily fed by Putah Creek which originates from springs on the east side of Cobb Mountain in Lake County. Putah Creek enters Napa County about 11 miles east of Middletown. 

The upper watershed encompasses the 576–square mile area upstream of Monticello Dam. Putah Creek merges with Butts Creek just before it empties into Lake Berryessa. Therefore, rainfall over the Cobb Mountain and Middletown areas provides the bulk of water entering Lake Berryessa. 

One reason that Lake Berryessa rose so quickly in 2017 was the very heavy rainfall that occurred on Cobb Mountain and the Middletown area. There is NO connection to Clear Lake.

Lake Berryessa Watershed map


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

LBNews Pg 8&1 Feb19


Glory Hole 020819


Moskowite Corners: A Landmark in Lake Berryessa History 

Gets A New Owner - Again!

by Peter Kilkus

The Corners was still a happening place when I first bought my mobile home at Steele Park Resort in 1997. Although our fantastic restaurant and bar at Steele Park, the Boathouse, was our gathering place of choice, the Corners Bar was also a local destination. The Corners has a long, long history, but this article is only about the ups and downs of the last 15 years. The success of the Corners has always been tied to the success of Lake Berryessa as a recreation destination.

Although the Corners is located on a major highway gateway to Lake Berryessa and only a few miles away from the Berryessa Highlands population center, experience indicates that it cannot easily survive without a robust visitor base. There have been four owner/lessors since 2007 - a period which also coincides with the destruction of the Lake Berryessa community, including the nearby Steele Park Resort, by the Bureau of Reclamation.

Moskowite Corners historical

But in a potentially favorable development, on January 11, 2019  Jim Keller finally sold Moskowite Corners, which he had bought for about $1.1 million in 2008, to Thuyen Tran of Oakland for approximately $699,000. Tran, who comes from the restaurant industry, said he bought the parcel because he has great confidence he can create a destination for both locals and visitors. But he said it was premature to discuss his plans for his new property in detail, although he indicated he’d like to create an operation that could include a restaurant, food products, wine, cheese or other offerings.

The local community is delighted by this turn of events and is hopeful that the new owner will be successful.

Below is a review of the business history of the Corners which may give some insight into the difficulty creating a successful business there.

In 2007 Ron Watt opened the Corners Café and Shopping Plaza in the Moskowite Corners building. The actual owner was one of the co-owners of Spanish Flat Resort, Lee Johnson. Although they worked hard at it, the business was ultimately unsuccessful. Ron Watt went on to run the Berryessa Quick Stop in the closed gas station across the Steele Canyon Road from the Corners. It too was unsuccessful.

Corners 020107

In 2008 Jim Keller bought the property in a bankruptcy sale for $1.1 million. By April 2009 Keller and Mike Schildknecht had partnered with the hope of making Berryessa Corners a community gathering place for nearby residents. Steele Park Resort was demolished in 2009 with no replacement. They changed the name to Berryessa Corners. The grocery store reopened in January, 2009; the restaurant — Mike’s Barbecue — and the bar were all open by May, 2009. Mike’s sudden and unexpected death on June 9, 2009 left the whole Lake Berryessa community in shock. Unfortunately, the Berryessa Corners enterprise ended with him.

Corners 060409 web

In August 2010, Jim Winchell and his family took over the market, restaurant and bar under lease from Keller. They changed the name to The Crossroads at Lake Berryessa and had high hopes for the business. They opened a great pizza shop and restaurant and remodeled the bar. Unfortunately, they did not have a liquor license and could only serve beer and wine. After a couple of years of hard work they realized they could not make a go of the business, especially with a high monthly lease and no help from the delayed rebuilding of Steele Park Resort by Pensus. The Crossroads was finally closed by the Winchell family on March 11, 2012.

Final web ad 050811

In 2011 Jim Keller had listed the Crossroads at Berryessa for sale for $1.29 million, but was unable to find a buyer. After the Winchell family closed the place in 2012, there were no buyers or people who would lease the site until Yevo Jeworowski leased it to open a brew pub in early 2016. Yevo renamed it the Steele Canyon Saloon.

Yevo, who had previously run Boone’s Saloon in the Spanish Flat Village Center, invested tens of thousands of dollars in new brewing equipment and improvements. Unfortunately, he had not factored in the new state water quality regulations that had been passed regarding beer brewing systems. His effluent would not pass the new standards without an upgrade to the wastewater system run by the owners of the Capell Valley Estates. The owner of the mobile home park declined to do so. Under a special California law that allowed liquor to be served in brew pubs, Yevo was able to open a full bar. Despite some good drinks, rocking bands, and great times, he was forced to close the Steele Canyon Saloon before the end of 2016.

At that same time, Greeley Wright and his family opened the Lake Berryessa Market in the old Corners store partnering with Yevo. Greeley said he would open an additional venture - an on-line ordering and delivery service called Greeley’s Groceries. Despite hard work the store never got the number of customers that would have made it successful.

Steele Canyon ad draft

After the demise of the  Steele Canyon Saloon, the Corners site remained closed with no buyers until last month, January 2019. Where did the time go?


February 2019: 2nd Anniversary of Glory Hole Spilling

The last time the lake overflowed Glory Hole before the long drought was January, 2006 when the level reached 443.5 feet above mean sea level (msl). During the ten year drought (2007 -2017) it’s lowest level dropped to 398.6 feet in October 2016. 

On February 21, 2017 Lake Berryessa finally reached its second highest lake level in history - 443.6 feet msl - a  45 foot rise - the second fastest rise in its 58 year history. 

This was above the highest lake level in 11 years. It was only 3.1 feet lower than the highest level in lake history - 446.7 feet in 1983 - 6.7 feet above Glory Hole. 

The fastest rise was 61 feet in 1995 - and the lake never even got to Glory Hole level that time. The lake level has only reached Glory Hole 25 times in 60 years.

Lake Berryessa water washed over and into the Glory Hole on Feb. 12, 2017 at 1:45 PM for the first time in 11 years! Granted it was helped by California Marine Sports wakeboard boats creating large wakes on a beautiful, clear sunny Sunday, but before anyone objects that this doesn’t count, we were MAKING history. It was REAL Lake Berryessa water flowing over the lip of Glory Hole. And it was also a bit of good fun the large crowd on hand.


2/16/17: Lake Berryessa "officially" hit 439.9 feet - 1 inch below Glory Hole at 7 PM! Wind pushed some small waves over the lip. We really didn’t count this because the lake level was not at 440 feet. The water was just below the lip.


2/17/17: Lake Berryessa  OFFICIALLY HIT THE TOP of the Glory Hole Spillway, 400.0 feet, at 1 A.M!

2/21/17: Lake Berryessa hit 443.6 feet, 3.6 feet above Glory Hole, the second highest level in history. 


February, 2019: Can it happen again this year? Only 11.5' to go as of 2/4/19!

Click Here For Lake Berryessa Drone Videos of Glory Hole and More!

Glory Hole spills edited-2
Lake Water Levels Dec2016 Feb2019b edited-1
Lake Water Levels 2005 2019 Feb16 edited-2

Discussion of Lake Berryessa water levels often raises the question of what is down at the bottom. The Town of Monticello and thousands of acres of prime farmland were destroyed by the lake.

The buildings were all demolished or burned down. Nothing taller than the building foundations were left. Some houses were moved up to the Spanish Flat Village area. The bodies in the cemetery were dug up and moved to the Monticello Cemetery next to the Senior Center on Spanish Flat Loop Road. Some of the foundations came out of the water during the drought in 1991.

See the 1991 news video here:


Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick, curator of the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at theSpanish Flat Village Center and its Facebook page, the history of the Berryessa Valley and the Town of Monticello is lovingly preserved:



Monticello burning barn
Monticello burning house
Monticello Cemetery1
Monticello Cemetery open graves
Monticello Cemetery moving graves
Monticello moving house1
Monticello store demolished


Lake Berryessa: An Untapped Resort Development Opportunity for Napa County -  Progress Is Needed Now!

Almost two years ago a  report done for Napa County presented to the supervisors in May, 2017 by Ragatz Realty depicted Lake Berryessa as a potential prime destination in itself, not simply a lazy afterthought to wine country. Unfortunately, progress has been stalled by the Bureau of Reclamation despite the County's publicly expressed desire to move forward with the process of entering into a Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) with Reclamation to manage the revitalization of this important Napa County recreation and economic resource.

Lake Berryessa is one of the largest, cleanest, and most attractive freshwater lakes in California. It now represents one of the most untapped opportunities in the country for new resort development and local economic impacts. The report said a balance should be struck between economic gain and protecting the Lake Berryessa natural setting. Any improvements would meet all the latest environmental standards. An extensive survey which received 3,000 responses, indicated Lake Berryessa needs to offer a variety of experiences and accommodations to reclaim and surpass its previous status as a major, regional resort destination.

The ads and information on the Lake Berryessa News web site below show details of the Lake Berryessa region including the ranges of real estate opportunities available. As one stated: "Live the Lake Berryessa Lifestyle". A gift plaque I received noted simply: "If you are lucky enough to live at the lake, you are lucky enough.”

2018 LBN ads R
Amber all Feb 2019


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

February 2019: 2nd Anniversary of Glory Hole Spilling

Moskowite Corners: A Landmark in Lake Berryessa History 

Gets A New Owner - Again!

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