La Grange, CA – Though drought conditions continue, inflow from early December storms gave Don Pedro Lake enough of a lift for the recreation agency to open an alternate boat launch at Moccasin Point on Monday.
“The lake elevation had to be sufficient…at the appropriate grade for shallow-hull boats to be able to launch again,” explains Don Pedro Recreation Agency Director Carol Russell.
The regular boat launch ramp remains closed, however, as it requires that the water level at Moccasin Point be at 722 feet above sea level. The current reading is about 19 feet shy, Russell says. “It’s not that far [away], IF we get some good rain and runoff. The lake has really been slowly coming up. Unless we get more [rain], we don’t anticipate that it will continue to rise.”
The alternate unimproved low-water ramp, actually a part of Old Hwy 49 that runs along Moccasin Creek, where the road is still in place. For access, enter the Moccasin Point Recreation Area entrance station. Head towards the regular boat launch ramp and turn left onto the roadway at the regular ramp base.
“The water is in a location where the road kind of has a downward grade…to get a shallow-hulled boat off a trailer out to the end of our 60-foot dock,” Russell states. “There’s probably about four to five [feet] of depth, so it’s sufficient to get a bass boat that doesn’t have a real deep hull…for the bigger boats, they would still need to come to Fleming Meadows, the only other launch open at this point.”
Russell wants recreationists to know that the camping facilities are open and have been. “Certainly, at Moccasin Point, we do get some folks who are on their way to Yosemite, or on their way back, and who stop in there and hook up camping areas. From a day-use standpoint at least, folks with the shallow-hull type boats or kayaks or canoes…they can get back in the water there at Moccasin Point.”
Winter sport fishing at Don Pedro Lake continues to be active, Russell adds, due to catchable rainbow trout that Fish & Wildlife planted back in December at the Fleming Meadows launch area as well as bass tournaments happening on the reservoir nearly every weekend. She notes that large bass have been coming in around the seven to ten-pound, range.
Even during the drought last summer, Russell recalls. “we had quite a bit of surface acreage out there for people to still do all their boating activities.” As the summer wore on and levels went down, two ramps closed but the lake itself had enough acreage to play, she says. Though, with Fleming Meadows as the only launch ramp in operation from August on, Russell admits, “it required a lot more coordination and traffic direction on the launch ramp to get those boats in and out of the water.”
For the latest information on conditions at Don Pedro Lake, click here.