The Lake Berryessa News

Your Information Gateway to Lake Berryessa and our Napa Back Roads!


Lake Berryessa is Still a Great Choice for Summer Recreation

Lake Berryessa is open for launching and boating!

It is one of the few California lakes that has not been seriously affected by the drought. The lake is at about 50% capacity and is only about 5 feet lower than at this time last year. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Reclamation had to shut down the Capell Free Launch Ramp due to low water.

Boaters will still be able to launch at Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Putah Canyon Recreation Area, Pleasure Cove Marina, and Markley Cove Resort.

Lake Level Update: 7/27/15

The elevation of the spillway (Glory Hole) at Monticello Dam is 440 feet msl. The water is now 37.7 feet below the top of the spillway at 402.3 feet - down another 7.4 inches since last week. This date last year the lake was at 407.04 feet. The Capell Launch Ramp is closed.


Fire Information and Photos Are Available at the Lake Berryessa News Facebook Page.


Lake Berryessa Bid Preparation Assistance

The Lake Berryessa News and the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce encourage bidders to respond positively to the Bureau of Reclamation’s new Bid Prospectus for the redevelopment of five Lake Berryessa Resorts.

Local resources with decades of experience at Lake Berryessa are listed in the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce Directory available at: 

Several local consultants are ready to assist you in preparing your bid.

Peter Kilkus, Environmental Management,, 415-307-6906: Wrote Environmental Management Programs and environmental program bid responses for the previous bid process. 

Chris Lacombe, Construction Project Management,, 925-699-3729: Rancho Monticello Resort Operations Manager and Environmental Manager, Erosion Control and Mitigation.

 Paul Quarneri, Berryessa Electronics and Mechanical Services, pdq9251@gmail, 775-843-7450: Water Systems consultant for several Lake Berryessa resorts.

The Bureau of Reclamation announces that the bidding period is now open for a business opportunity (Prospectus) for recreation development and operation at five concession areas located at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. Reclamation is requesting proposals from interested parties for the development and long-term management of concession facilities and services at Lake Berryessa. These businesses will be conducted under the terms and conditions of long-term concession contracts between the successful bidders and Reclamation.

Concession operations at Lake Berryessa were selected as the preferred management option in the 2006 Visitor Services Plan/Record of Decision. The Lake Berryessa Prospectus offers five areas for development and operation as concession facilities: Putah Canyon, Monticello Shores, Berryessa Point, Spanish Flat and Steele Canyon Recreation Areas. Bidders may submit proposals on all five concession areas, either singly or as bundled sites to take advantage of potential cost savings from combined operations. Reclamation will award no more than three areas to any one bidder.

Business opportunities may include full-service marinas, overnight lodging, tent and RV camping, houseboat and pleasure boat rentals, retail sales, restaurants, day use facilities and other services. Some operations may be seasonal while others will be year-round. Bidders may also suggest other appropriate facilities/activities as part of their unique proposals. Reclamation has conducted substantial advanced planning in the development of this business opportunity and has several relevant draft reports and reference materials available for review on the Lake Berryessa Prospectus website.

Reclamation will provide opportunities for prospective offerors to tour the existing facilities and submit questions regarding these concession business opportunities. A site visit will be held on Friday, July 17, at 8:30 a.m. Participants will meet at the Lake Berryessa Administration Office, 5520 Knoxville Road, Napa CA 94558, 707-966-2111, ext. 0.

Proposals will be accepted for 60 days, from Thursday, July 2, to Monday, Aug. 31, 2015.

Reclamation is prepared to work closely with new concession contractors in approving and helping to coordinate the development of commercial public facilities. The Prospectus is open for 60 days, with an amendment expected within the first 30 days in order to provide bidders with additional information on infrastructure planning and design.

With a business model committed to the provision of new facilities and services, Reclamation foresees outstanding commercial opportunities at Lake Berryessa, which is readily accessible by millions of potential visitors; it is within a 3-hour drive of San Francisco, Sacramento and other population centers in California. The location, environment, scenic vistas, a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities and proximity to other tourist destinations, including the Napa Valley, make this a desirable location for land and water-based commercial recreation services. These services are expected to show immediate visitor demand, with current occupancy levels on rental boat slips at existing Lake Berryessa marinas near 100 percent, and existing waiting lists for marina slips indicative of a high interest in having a boat moored at the lake. Together, this presents financially viable business opportunities favorable for the establishment of appropriately designed recreation facilities and services with outstanding growth potential over the term of the next concession contract.

Two existing concession areas, Markley Cove Resort and Pleasure Cove Marina, with full services and facilities are operated by concessionaires under existing contracts and are not part of this Prospectus.

Lake Berryessa is the reservoir for the Solano Project, which is owned by Reclamation and operated under a cooperative agreement by the Solano County Water Agency/Solano Irrigation District. The project provides flood control protection, generates hydropower and provides a high-quality water supply for irrigation and the cities of Vacaville, Suisun City, Vallejo and Fairfield.

At capacity, Lake Berryessa stores 1.6 million acre-feet of water and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in California. The lake is 23 miles long and 3 miles wide, with 165 miles of shoreline. Reclamation oversees the management of a 2,000-acre wildlife area along the east side of the lake. Nestled between Blue Ridge and Cedar Roughs, east of the Napa Valley, Lake Berryessa offers year-round recreation opportunities for boating and water sports, fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking, wildlife viewing and 
sightseeing. Popular Reclamation-operated recreation facilities include expansive day use areas, a visitor center and launch ramp as well as hiking trails and dispersed lake access sites.

For additional information, please contact Peggi Brooks, Chief, Recreation Resources Division, Central California Area Office, at 916-989-7128 (TTY 800-877-8339),, or fax 916-989-7208.


Lake Berryessa offers recreation opportunities at its other sites:

Reclamation-Operated Facilities The Capell Cove Boat Launch, Dufer Point Visitor Center, expansive Oak Shores Day Use Area, Smittle Creek Trail and several other day use areas around the lake are all open for the summer recreation season. Come fish for bluegill, bass, trout and salmon. Barbecue with family or friends at one of the many picnic areas. Walk the many miles of beach, or hike the Smittle Creek Trail.

Concession Operations in addition to Spanish Flat, Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area and Putah Canyon Recreation Area are open and offer a variety of recreation services, including camping, boat rentals, cabin rentals, boat launching and more. For specific information, please call the concession operators or visit their websites:

Markley Cove: 707-966-2134,

Pleasure Cove Marina: 707-966-9600,

Steele Canyon Recreation Area: 707-966-9179,

Putah Canyon Recreation Area: 707-966-9051,

Spanish Flat Recreation Area: 415-966-0200

Other Recreation There are many other recreation opportunities at and around Lake Berryessa. For questions, please contact the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111 ext. 0 or visit the lake’s website for directions, hours of operation and other information at


Hours of Operation for Reclamation Facilities at Lake Berryessa for 2015

Dufer Point Visitor Center
April 1 through May 17: Open Saturday and Sunday, Noon - 3 p.m.
May 18 through Sept. 1: Open weekends and holidays, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Weekdays, Noon - 2 p.m.; Closed Wednesdays

The Dufer Point Visitor Center offers displays and exhibits on the history of Lake Berryessa and the Monticello Valley and the construction of the Solano Project. It also houses an exhibit of local wildlife (stuffed and mounted) showing the common and not-so-common animals found around the lake. Park Rangers are available to answer questions about natural resources, recreational opportunities, wildlife and the area’s history. Brochures, maps, trail guides and other educational information are available free of charge. Contact the Park Rangers at 707-966-2111 ext. 113 for information about park events, hikes, kayak tours and educational programs.

Capell Cove Boat Launch Ramp
May close by July 17th. Open now every day, 4 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Other boat launch ramps are open at Markley Cove Marina, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area and Putah Canyon Recreation Area.

Oak Shores Day Use Area
April 1 - 30: Open 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
May 1 through Sept. 15: Open 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
During April, the Oak Shores Day Use Area will be available for public use 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closing time will move to 8 p.m. on May 1 to correspond to the longer daylight hours.

Smittle Creek Day Use Area
April 1 - 30: Open 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
May 1 through Sept. 15: Open 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
During April, the Smittle Creek Day Use Area will be available for public use from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closing time will move to 8 p.m. on May 1 to correspond to the longer daylight hours.
Eticuera Day Use Area and Olive Orchard Day Use Area
Open dawn to dusk.


The Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce has released its 2015 Directory

Click here for the online version...


Download a copy here or pick one up at a local Lake Berryessa business.

Click here to download a Directory (23 MB)

Click here to download a Chamber membership application.


Carol Fitzpatrick has developed a great new Facebook for the Berryessa Valley History Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center with some interesting photos and personal stories about the Berryessa Valley and Town of Monticello before the Monticello Dam was built in 1958.



The Lake Berryessa News Archives (2005 - 2012)


Peter Kilkus, Owner/Editor
1515 Headlands Drive
Napa, CA 94558, 415-307-6906

Last Update on July 30, 2015

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