Ramp Conditions

7-25-17
ONLY 2 OUT OF 5 RAMPS ARE USABLE AT THE LAKE.  BE CAREFUL GETTING OUT THE CHANNEL AT ONLY ONE RAMP IN SPALDING.  THE ONLY OTHER USABLE RAMP IS THE LOW WATER RAMP AT GALLATIN. 
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Kayakers:  No matter where you launch, be sure keep an eye on the wind speed and direction posted for the days you go out.  You don't want to be caught an hour paddle away from where you launched if winds pickup over 10mph.  Our wind comes up quick when it comes up, regardless of direction predicted.  NOAA link on weather has been pretty accurate.
 
GALLATIN LOW WATER RAMP:  Good to go all season.  Little to no waiting. Weekdays are much quieter than weekends and holidays but it has been pretty easy.  Pull your boats down the dock so others can get in the water while you're parking your vehicle.  Later in the morning people are trying to launch to play while fishermen are trying to get out.  If this happens I try to split the differnce and allow enough space in front for someone to get a boat in the water and enough space in back for a boat to come in behind me. The courtesy dock in the water this year is the step down.  It's better having the pipes inside the dock so they don't catch side lights or downriggers or rod holders and makes it easier to get in and out of a boat before stepping up on the dock, but the lower height can beat the heck out of your boat so be sure to use bumpers. It's also a longer reach to the cleets with a boat hook when the winds are howling.  Catch 22, can't have it all.  All in all it's been fine and no trouble as long as you deal with it.  Having a boat hook on board can be a life savor.  We still have a few rocks out there between the dock and the jetty so we don't have a lot of space yet to screw up or get blown off course.  No fee launch and much closer to where the fish are right now.  Great store, a ton of tackle and great inventory of things that break when camping, RV stuff or boating and really reasonable prices considering our location!! 

Kayaks have limited availability.  It's a shorter romp thru the grass now off the old Aspen Ramp.  Christie too but don't try to use the plastic handicap access walkway at Christie.  It's a mess.  LNF was going to remove the safety hazard but as of right now, they have not.  Stay on the vegetation beside the trip hazard walkway.  Getting a craft down to the water isn't the hard part, getting it back up hill several hundred feet is. Another option is driving into Eagle's Nest and launching off the gravel bar.  No maintained handicap access accept the ramp to the courtesy dock at the low water ramp....getting to the handicap ramp can be a problem for chairs and scooters.
 
Kayaks have every right to use the low water ramp just like any other boat.  I would suggest unloading in the small parking/loading spot so rigs could still turn around and launch boats and to take your craft to the jetty side of the ramp rather than the ramp itself so boats can still get in and out of the water.  Since LNF replaced boulders accessing the gravel bar to the west side of the courtesy dock, kayaks can no longer be dragged, carried or hauled to the gravel bar...not a smart move so kayaks now have to use the ramp area.  Oh well, not the kayakers problem.  You can't help but to tie up the ramp and have every right to launch there.  I suggest getting a kayak to the water from the cement ramp and floating it towards the gravel bar on the jetty side of the ramp. If it's your turn in line, just do it.  Most angler kayaks are over 60lbs, Hobie peddle drives start out at 125lbs.  Not easy to carry or drag on kayak carts over boulders so launch ramps can often be your only choice.  There is no other launch area for kayaks and they have become quite popular up here.  So do what ever it takes to get it in the water.  With no other options, you can not be denied access at access areas.  RIGHT NOW FOR THE BEST CHANCE FOR KAYAKERS FOR CATCHINIG A FISH AND STAYING CLOSE TO THE VEHICLE IS LAUNCHING OFF THE GRAVEL BAR AT EAGLE'S NEST.  Get your lines down to 25 to 30ft deep.
 
GALLATIN MARINA:  A long way to go before launching will be feasible.  Might see the rental boats floating inside the jetty for a while this season, but launching any boats inside the harbor is not doable.  There is a little water now inside the jetty, just not enough yet.  
 
SOUTH RAMP AT SPALDING: HAS ENOUGH WATER FOR LAUNCHING EARLY THIS SEASON, AND IT IS STILL MOSTLY FUNCTIONAL FOR MOST BUT WE ARE NOW EVAPORATING AT 1 1/2" PER WEEK. so just be careful.  We are now barely above an elevation of 5096ft and dropping.  That leaves around 2 1/2 ft of water in the channel.  Once you get out beyond the pipes, there is enough water to take off in, some bigger deeper motors leaving prop-wash silt trails and releasing trapped methane, but once in 7ft of water it was okay.  Note that boats need water.  My boat drops about 2 inches deeper over a methane release.   For docks, the depth of water over 100 YARDS (300ft) from shore was around 3ft to 3.5ft deep and the bottom was still covered with weeds as well as silt.   See Photos in Ramp album and 2017 All Eagle Lake, All the Time album. Once past the weeds, the water was clearer and the further south one went it was in pretty good shape.  Right now, it's a long way to where the fish are and quite a few Spalding folks are still launching at the south end of the lake. $8 fee to park or launch in Spalding.  The water is pretty weedy heading down to Pelican Pt.  Lots of bugs out there and water temps in the low to mid 70'sF.  Note that it may look calm out from Spalding but more often than not, the south basin is ripping with waves in the afternoon.  You don't see them until reaching Pelican Pt.  Very normal.

I won't be launching my big boat up here in Spalding for many reasons.  One reason is I have a big boat with a deep draft and I don't like putting my boat in a predicament for having down time on repairs.  Once I have more water and spending more time fishing the north basins again, I will once again launch here. It will be a whole new tule line in all the northerly basins once we get more water.  It could take a couple years before the fishing up here gets good again though. 
 
NORTH RAMP AT SPALDING:  My best advise for kayakers is launching down south since water temps are unfavorable for trout until fall rolls in.  For fall, there is a small road just north of the airstrip that accesses a gravel bar.  If we get some fall fish up here, this is a fairly good place to put in.  I wouldn't bother unless you just want to paddle around and play.  Still going to cost you $8.

STONES LANDING: Don't bother unless you just want to paddle a kayak for fun.  Don't bother fishing...no fish....maybe fall will see a few, but we'll have to wait and see.  No fish in this lake has even been up that far since water levels dropped.  It will take a massive food supply to get the trout to come back this year, keep our fingers crossed. No courtesy dock.  

ROCKY PT:  Lake level dropping,  Kayaks can make it but small boats might be a different story.
 
Note that if you take the CA BOATING COURSE, power loading your boat at ramps is not recommended AT ANY RAMP, ANYWHERE.  I didn't need to be certified until 2025 but I took the course anyway and have my certification.  I don't care who you are or how much experience you have, you will learn something.  The course you have to pass covers ALL bodies of water, ocean, rivers and such as well as all types of watercrafts.  You have to learn it all in order to pass by 80%.  I highly recommend getting certified.  I will know at the ramp whether you're certified.  If nothing else, take a stormy winter day, take the course, don't just take the test unless you know everything about all bodies of water and all types of boats, sailboats, kayaks and PWC's.  It's all covered in the course, as well as how alcohol affects are different on the water.   
 
 
 
SEE LAKE ELEVATIONS SINCE 2010 ON LAKE CONDITIONS PAGE.
 
 
NO HANDICAP FISHING OR BEACH ACCESS: Handicap parking at the launch ramp is further away than it was last year and not clearly marked by ADA requirements, cinder gravel for carts and wheelchairs is not compliance to ADA requirements.   Hard to walk in the loose gravel compared to the packed gravel or pavement where previous handicap parking was, although there is a saw horse sign now indicationg handicap parking back in the center closer to the ramp.  Due to noncompliance the ADA parking is not actually enforceable.  Although, you might get a note taped to your windshield, I don't believe you can actually get a citation due to lack of signage and legal mumbo jumbo.  
 
The handicap walkway at Christie Day Use/Picnic Area is a trip hazard in many locations and has not been maintained by Lassen National Forest.  It can easily handicap you if you aren't already.  We just make our own way down and ignore the signage regarding protecting the vegetation as it is more about having to keep from falling or tripping over the damaged trail grates due to LNF's inability to repair the existing specified trail.  If it wasn't so dangerous, we would be happy to use it.  LNF is now laying blame on the State Lands Commission before any repair of the existing handicap accessibility can be done.  So we might be waiting a long time before accidents can be prevented.  My guess is it will take a serious injury and lawsuit before it will get repaired or removed.  But, I will keep hounding them to repair existing handicap accesses and most likely will have to contact Boating and Waterways myself to get improvements.  So unless the walkway down is repaired, I suggest walking on the vegetation rather than getting tripped up and falling down, regardless of signage.  If the USFS wants to protect the vegetation from paths being made, they can fix the walkway.  We would be happy to use the walkway if it wasn't a complete hazard with great potential to cause injury.
 
   
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2017-07-25