If you follow the news, you know that Folsom Lake's water level fluctuates depending on the season and precipitation.
Because of California's recent drought, many Sacramento area recreational boaters were concerned about the lake's water level falling low enough (below 400 feet) at some point during the 2022 boating season to trigger a vessel speed limit reduction to 5 MPH. That happened on September 17, 2022.
But 2024 is off to a strong start, with February water levels higher than they've been in years.
Relative water levels for Folsom Lake
Folsom Lake's full pool level is 466 feet in elevation. The full pool level is represented by the bold blue line in the following chart. The 2024 line is bold red.
If the chart doesn't render in your browser, you can view it here.
The bold green line represents the technical cutoff point for boat speeds above 5 MPH.
A recap of 2022 & 2023
As you can see by the dashed yellow line in the above chart, the level jumped up during the final days of 2022 after an atmospheric river rain event. 2022 ended with Folsom Lake's water level at 423.68 feet.
In 2022, the water level rose through June 11. Since the high of 455.7 feet, the water level fell faster than it did in 2021 — water managers made additional releases to make up for shortages at other area reservoirs.
In 2023, the water stayed above the 5 MPH cutoff all year.
Here's a map we created with Google My Maps.
How deep is the lake?
The above numbers may make you wonder what Folsom Lake's depth is. A 2005 survey measured the minimum bottom of Folsom Lake to be about 190 feet of elevation.
This means that at full pool level, the deepest part of the reservoir is 466 - 190 = 276 feet.
When the Folsom Lake Water level is at the 5 MPH cutoff speed for vessels, the deepest part of the reservoir is 400 - 190 = 210 feet.
Additional facts about the lake
Folsom Lake is a reservoir located in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento, California. The lake is fed by the American River. It has a maximum pool capacity of 977,000 acre-feet.
Folsom is the largest reservoir in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and provides water for the city of Sacramento and surrounding areas.
The lake was created in 1955 with the construction of the Folsom Dam on the American River. The dam was built to provide flood control — and water for irrigation and municipal water supplies.
The City of Folsom was named in honor of Joseph Libby Folsom, its founder. Both the lake and the dam adopted the city's name.