While PG&E's Kern Canyon Project (KCP) was down for repairs between Summer 2014 and last month, Dennis Rushing, Kyle Rushing, Jeff Matheson, and other boaters popularized the 1.5 miles of bypassed reach into a run they named "The Mouth" for its proximity to the mouth of the canyon.
The put in is just below SCE's KR1 powerhouse (there's even a USFS manifest box there), and the takeout is at the KCP powerhouse at the mouth of the canyon on 178, just across from the "Kern drowning victims" sign.
Although this stretch had been boated infrequently before, it had always been boated at average summer release levels in the 1000+ cfs range. During the nine months KCP was down for repairs, the watermaster regularly released flows from the Isabella reservoir at levels between 150-300 cfs. Dennis and the rest of the Bakersfield gang probed the run repeatedly, dialed in the lines, and concluded it was "like a playpark for boofing" at flows above 200 cfs.
Come the first of this year, the Bakersfield gang finally convinced the rest of us to try out the run, and it was as good as advertised. Boaters from Kernville to Orange County were making the trek to run the Mouth weekly, and the Bakersfield gang was enjoying their playground several times a week on after-work runs.
But PG&E finally fixed their hydroproject, leaving six boaters on April 16 standing at the takeout staring at unrunnable fish flow. We were skunked.
The Mouth might open up again this summer for a couple weeks. As a condition of its license, PG&E is obligated to annually release "freshet" flows into the river to promote the river's health. At its annual meeting with the Forest Service this year, PG&E indicated they may be able to provide freshet flows this year "for 14 days during a short window in June/July." Given the lack of snowpack, the Watermaster will probably be releasing flows in the 200-300 cfs range then.
KRB is making inquiries of PG&E as to whether they could give us a heads up when they release these flows.
UPDATE 11MAY15: PG&E replied to KRB and pointed us to a realtime gauge for the Mouth. We'll keep our eye on it, and hopefully the Mouth will run for a couple weeks in June/July.