SACRAMENTO -- Four fishermen were rescued from an island that was surrounded by fast-rising waters on Tuesday.
Six of the gates of Nimbus Dam were spilling water from Lake Natoma as a result of increased water releases from Folsom Reservoir upstream. Room needs to be left in the reservoir to protect against flooding in the Sacramento region.
A Sacramento County sheriff's deputy spotted the fishermen, one of whom tried to wade back to dry land.
“It was way too high, it was about chest high, current would have swept them downstream, so thankfully they did not do that, they were told to go back to the island," said Capt. Michelle Eidam from Sacramento Metro Fire.
A rescue boat eventually ferried them to safety. The fishermen didn't feel they were in danger but welcomed the help.
“(We were) fully equipped to swim back to safety, but somebody called, and they erred on the side of safety and came and rescued us," said fisherman Justin Lewis.
“They decided to err on the side of safety …we thank the fire department, the sheriff's and all the resources from Sacramento to come pick us up," said fisherman Anthony Langes while holding up a large salmon that he caught.
Fire crews took to their boats in the afternoon to warn homeless residents along the river to move to higher ground because flows are expected to double by the end of the week. The Sacramento sheriff's helicopter was up once again Tuesday using loudspeakers to advise people along the river to move to higher ground. Deputies and park rangers were doing the same.
Flows in the American River before the releases were at 1,200-cubic-feet-per-second. By Thursday, they are expected to go up to 15,000-cubic-feet-per-second.
“We don’t want anyone getting swept downstream right now because the flows are going to continue to be high," said Eidam.