Trailer wheels are off the end of the cement ramp but the transition hasn't been too bad yet. I prefer staying in the lane closest to the dock. However it does change with usage. So just ease your boat down...you will find it. When loading, the most problems I see are from folks getting their trailer too deep to get the boat centered properly. You might laugh at me shallow loading my boat, but it's always true on the trailer the first time. This morning, one poor guy backed in several times to get his boat centered on the trailer while his buddy tugged and pulled on it. If you don't get your trailer too deep, you won't have that problem. We have about 8 ft of cement left at the ramp now. Stay towards the dock, the east side of the ramp has a steeper drop off the end of the cement.
The depth of the water in the launch lane along side of the dock is pretty much 3 to 3 1/2 ft deep for the last 2/3rds of the dock and a narrow channel about where a motor would be in the launch lane can vary from day to day but mostly 3-4ft deep. Just don't drift to the east towards the jetty. There are still some rocks and it shallows up quickly. The drop off the end of the cement is also worse on the east side compared to keeping your trailer closer to the courtesy dock. Regardless, we only have 8 to 10ft of cement left in the water and it's only mid July.
I don't advise I/O units to have their lower unit down all the way getting out and away from the dock. Deeper water and the drop off are only about 50ft away from the end of the dock. The buoys are sitting in around 12-18ft of water. On the west side of the dock, the water depth is pretty much 4ft deep at the end, then gradually shallows up towards shore. Note: North winds wreak havoc getting in and out and for the top of every wave, there is also a bottom that generally reduces clearance to the bottom by as much as it raises it. Southwest and west winds, blow you away from the dock when coming in and there isn't a lot of wiggle room if you drift off towards the rock jetty. Have a canopy or side curtains up? Best to have a dock hook on board. Canopies are simply big sails & one good gust can throw you several feet in an instant.
Larger boats are getting in, just know that it's still shallow. It looks like we are about 10 inches below where we started opening weekend.
At the end of the dock, metal tabs stick out above the water (they would connect to another section of dock if needed as the water starts dropping off about 30ft beyond the current installation so be careful pulling your boat around to the other side of the dock or pulling straight in in the wind. There are bumpers on the pipes, but the metal can still produce nasty scratches if you aren't careful or the wind and wave action are causing problems. Also, the dock pipes along side have bumpers slid over them which helps prevent damage to boats pulling in, but note that they are located outside the dock so when pulling in, be sure nothing is sticking out of your boat such as leaving rod holders on the boat or rods propped up and be very careful guiding downriggers around them. Some bow mounted electric trolling motors could also get caught when coming in when windy. Boats whose running lights are side mounted will also catch the pipes, so be sure you don't tear one off on a hard landing in the wind or moving your boat up or down the dock. I know I will be replacing one of mine before the season ends already....perhaps before the week ends if I don't have larger screws.
There is still a bottom rise or shoal in the launch lane about mid-way down the dock. It is not problematic at this time. The marina folks did a good job of maintaining a launching channel last year but by November boats over 20ft long were having difficulty. We hope to retain our nearly 6 inches of water through the summer evaporation and into fall to keep us launching most all boats through the season. It will be very similar to last season’s launching with a few bonus inches of water if we don't see an extremely hot windy summer and increased evaporation. We should get through ok.
I don't advise power loading your boat on the trailer at this time. The thrust from your prop or jet blows out the sand at the end of the cement causing a step to form which will eventually cause damage to trailers. The prop wash pushes the sand and fine gravel out from the cement and drops it on top of the shoal that starts about halfway down the dock. The shoal ends up about a foot shallower than the rest of the channel and repeated power loading will eventually lead to a rise of the shoal & the need for blowing it out to keep a launch channel. You can also screw up your prop and lower unit if you aren't careful and take note that while you are power loading you are pumping all that grit through your impellor and water pump which can put a lot of wear in a short period of time....and pretty soon you see your temp gage rise a bit and eventually just a dribble out of the pee tube. Why take chances and why cause damage. We still can't afford to have things screwed up. Stirring up a massive amount of dirt and a large dirty plume in the lake is also frowned upon. We know it doesn't matter to some visitors as why would they care if they have finished their vacation. Those of us that launch all season are the ones that pay for the damaged caused by a few.
Spalding' ramps were notorious for loading up the channel when we could launch at the new marina and the dredging only lasted for half of one season and half of the next. 99% of the problems came from power loading boats where the bottom was mud. Be thankful we have sand and gravel down at the south end low water ramp.
The springs (since closing the Bly Tunnel valve) are probably capable of adding 5-6 inches to the lake without local moisture which buys a month of evap in summer....good for about a foot of water per year that was drained off the lake for decades. Every inch still counts and we are still 14ft below our prime elevation and several feet below launching at the ramps at Stones and Spalding this year.
Lassen National Forest has NO PLANS FOR IMPROVING LAUNCHING CONDITIONS. PERIOD. END OF STORY.