Gallatin Road to the Marina has caused more damage to boats & trailers than anything else up here. Slow down in the straightaway from the last left bend in the road Gallatin after Eagle Campground and to the intersection to Camp Ronald McD. There are bumps in the road you can't see & if you hit them at the 35mph speed limit, things are going to happen & they won't be good!! These are on both sides of the road. I am now basically going 15mph over them & still have trailer damage from that and the previously unsealed cracks in the road from Spalding. Friends have lost trailers of hitches and motors off transoms. Keep your boat secured to the trailer when towing to and from camp....not doing so could result in the boat being thrown off the trailer.
The ramp is still working for most all boats. People have been the biggest problem when it's busy. I am still getting my boat in just fine & can still lose a few inches of water before it gets too skinny over the shoal for my boat. I measured 17 to 19 inches of water over the shoal in the launch lane next to the dock. 33 to 34 inches of water at the end of the dock. 2" between my keel and the lake bottom at full trim.
I'm only weeks away, depending on evaporation rates, before I can't launch unless the rocky shoal is addressed. We have plenty of water off the end of the cement to float most boats off the trailer for a while longer. However, like what happened in Spalding, the shoal and the fines building up at the end of the dock will do us in before the ramp can't float a boat off. But until then, just ease your boat down into the water & over the end of the last cement panel then walk your boat down the dock to the end before dropping your motor & warming up. I believe I will be lucky if I get through August launching my boat, at most, I have about 5 inches of water before I will have to lift my boat over the shoal...& well, that's when I am done launching my big boat and will do fine with my kayak and float tube. Smaller boats will probably do better longer.
I would NOT recommend driving onto the trailer. Watched a Yamaha 150 do that the other day. Glad its not my repair bill. ...and it never will be because I am smarter than that & don't want the down time or take the chance of major repairs. Do as you please. However, I won't do it under orders by a sheriff or forest service demand or order either...that is unless they have several thousand dollars on hand to pay for repairs. PS) a new 4stroke over 115 HP is well over $15,000 and closer to $20K.... lower units are over $5K so I hope they have wallets packed full of cash when directing folks to drive on their trailers. Small boats don't have any problems & larger boats are doing okay for now. Having the cement anchor away from the launch lane is helping keep the shoal from building up as fast as it had been but it is still there & its still trapping sand & light gravel as well as fist size rocks. We are hoping to get a serious winter & if we don't, we will probably be screwed if something isn't actually in a contingency plan already. Of course, the government really doesn't think that far ahead.
On holidays and weekends there are traffic jams when the wind picks up. No matter where one pulls up at the dock, its the truck/trailer at the ramp who is first. Generally, that person is tied up at the end of the of the dock. Other boats can't come into the dock or that boat has to get around them all if his trailer is first in line. One day I waited outside the buoys for 45 minutes to get into the dock. Which I prefer over another day when I was forced to power load over the shoal and around 3 boats & another in the way if I got blown off course...and I was simply lucky I didn't cause several thousand dollars worth of damage to my lower unit. I won't be taking that chance again. I grew up power loading, however I also don't want to cause damage to my lower unit because "that's what I HAVE to do" to keep the flow going at the ramp. I barely cleared my keel while still having to have my motor low enough to control with steering since I had to dodge several boats and pray I didn't get blown into the cement anchor buoy or into the rock jetty before landing on my trailer. That would have cost me a lot more damage had it happened. I would have no problem seeking damages & recording the incident. Perhaps no one at USFS realizes that you can't steer the boat with the motor up enough to clear the shoal or have control in the wind.
Being that many people are mobility impaired and walking disabled and NEED to get to the dock and cannot take chances with causing damage to a boat or a body. Folks like me can't just jump off a boat while the boat backs out from the dock to wait for the driver to return with the trailer. Often I am by myself & there are no other options. However, this aspect is not seen by USFS when requiring drop off & back out and power load protocal when the dock is busy....at it's busiest about 15 minutes after the wind comes up. I now carry my handicap placard in my boat. If someone doesn't like the way I have to do it, too bad, deal with it as we all have to deal without handicap considerations by USFS. Hell, I have a hard enough time traversing the rock path up to the dock. I can't count the times people jam in front of the boat line & find out they are 6th in line with their vehicle and now others have to get around their boats. People need to stop and slow down & consider that other people might not be as fast or nimble as you want them to be. I have no problem if someone moves my boat up the line of the dock or further back when I am either parking or getting the truck. I take a lot less time loading my boat than 99% of others. There is more dock around. Perhaps USFS should install one loading dock for disabled people only so others don't get "water rage".
I am hoping to get through July for launching & the recent weather is buying more time. It's looking fairly good as long as our evaporation litterally stops or is countered by storms in the entirety of the Basin. I still hope that we have something else to use for fall or minimally skimming the top off the shoal. Regardless, as the water goes down, the shoal gets nearer to the surface & it won't be long before we will be backing up a rise. But, so far, so good. Just take it easy. The shoal varies but mostly 18-22 inches deep & begins about half way down the dock. Boat traffic and wave/wind action can change things pretty quickly. It shallows right up towards the jetty from the dock so don't allow your boat to drift too close to the rocks. Don't power load or off load your boat right now. The water shallows up before it gets deeper at the end of the dock but at the end of the dock, the water is still waste deep. When the lake is choppy & winds are from the west or north, landing at the dock can get tricky. Remember, every wave has an up and down which can reduce the amount of water under your boat at the dock or coming in to it.
I do not recommend I/O units at all but their have been some making it & it's a lot less dangerous with the cement anchor removed from the launch lane. . But I expect that our 19-21 ft boats are going to run out of water before we are ready....it will depend on the wave action & mostly about the height of the shoal & how fast it builds and the thunderstorms have been our saving grace. It won't take long before there will be a step off the end of the cement which will help getting the boat to float but eventually could damage a trailer...just ease it down & over. The marina folks try to keep it maintained so it doesn't cause any damage.
Without a solid committment from Lassen National Forest for a new low water ramp, we are going to be in a world of hurt for launching our Eagle Lake Boats (bigger and built for the heavy winds) late this summer and fall no mater how much maintenance is done....there is only so much that can be done at the current location. We hope to see some serious work beginning soon if anything will be done for fall. We certainly hope that USFS comes thru so the local economy isn't more severily impacted. If a new ramp is installed, it won't be protected, it will be bare-bones but should get us in the water. AND, since Murphy's Law seems to always apply up here. Just when we have a low water ramp & then a lower water ramp, the lake will come up! Think positively. Coming in after the wind comes up is going to be where the trouble is with the current ramp. With small waves of 1 to 2 ft we may end up grounding out before the next wave lifts the boat back up. North winds are going to be the most challenging. Motors up means less steering control and for every 1 ft up, we will see a 1 ft down. In 2 to 3 ft of water folks, that leaves us 1 to 2 ft of water in a moderate wind. Heavy winds will be tough. I expect that will be our major problem...just don't drift too close to the rock jetty. Boulders close to the surface dot the area between the ramp and the jetty. HIGHLY RECOMMEND A BOAT HOOK TO GRAB THE CLEATS OF THE COURTESY DOCK. We are all only going to get one chance at landing safely at the dock depending on heavy wind from any direction.
My intent on this website was never to make money doing so in the first place. I wanted to give people traveling here a fishing report that they could actually catch fish by (not 2-3 weeks old) and teach them how to use what they have to achieve the results so they would come back. If I did well, then Lassen County businesses would benefit. Then, I ran across the dirty little pollutions and water secrets I didn't go looking for but had to do something about regardless of what some people said. I was warned about the results, but since I never planned on making money I had nothing to lose. Lassen businesses only benefit from what I do for fun. I had nothing to lose and I still have nothing to lose which is why I can say what I see. So without information or guarantee they can launch all boats safely this summer and fall, they will make other plans elsewhere.
Personally, I will still be able to fish this lake in my tube or yak along with others that enjoy that sport....oh yeah, that access has been being decreased as well and is in some places several hundred feet up from where it has always been posted. I assume it is another way for Lassen National Forest to let you know, they really don't want you to use public land that has always provided access between Christie and Wildcat.