Tailor-made for rafters – whitewater will be raging on Feather River’s spectacular north fork this weekend

Whitewater rafters in the North Fork of the Feather River on June 1, 2002.
Whitewater rafters in the North Fork of the Feather River on June 1, 2002. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Kayakers and river recreationists may enjoy increased flows in the Feather River’s north fork, but utility company officials are issuing a warning to others.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. plans to more than double water releases in an eight-mile stretch of the river below the Rock Creek dam.

The high flows are designed to create Class III, IV and V rapids for skilled paddlers. They are not appropriate for tubing or unskilled paddlers, said Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesman.

Swimmers and boaters in the Feather River near Storrie should use extra caution over the weekend, he said.

Starting Saturday, flows will gradually increase from 450 cubic feet per second to 1,100 cfs by 9 a.m. PG&E will hold flows at that level until 3 p.m., when they will be reduced and held at 900 cfs until about 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Normal flows will return by late Sunday afternoon, Moreno said.

Calling them “recreational flows,” Moreno said the higher water releases are done in cooperation with American Whitewater and the Rock Creek–Cresta Ecological Resource Committee as part of PG&E license agreement.

Similar releases are planned to follow the same pattern in September, when flows will peak at 900 cfs on Sept. 23 and 24, he said.