Emigrant Lake – Then and Now

Emigrant Lake – Then and Now

Above is how Emigrant Lake near Ashland, Oregon looks today. But Back in October 2015, I visited the drought-stricken lake after two years of minimal snowpack and hot, dry summers had left it at record low levels. It looked like this:

Emigrant Lake with cars parked on the lakebed

Emigrant Lake in October 2015, when cars from the Southern Oregon University rowing crew parked deep into the lake bed.

At the time, we were heading into a predicted strong El Nino winter, which should have meant even more bad news for local water supplies. But Mother Nature is most unpredictable. The winter of 2015-2016 brought normal or above-normal snow to the regional mountains. Even more snow fell the following winter. The result was that the lake filled, as did most other reservoirs in southern Oregon and northern California, confirming my belief in nature’s perpetual cycles. While I’m convinced man is making these cycles more pronounced, we’re not creating them.

By the spring of 2018, with plenty of mountain snow left to melt, Emigrant Lake was about 78% full and looking like this:

Emigrant Lake 2018

April 2018, with the lake now 78% full prior to completion of the spring snowmelt.


October 2015 at Emigrant Lake’s southwest arm.

Emigrant Lake Ashland Oregon

Emigrant Lake’s southwest arm in April 2018.

Another dramatic image from October 2015.

How it looks today.