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Dried Up California Lake Shuts as Summer Kicks In

Four years of drought have reduced Lake San Antonio to only 5% of maximum capacity. The lake closed indefinitely on July 1.

. Keith Johnston, right, of Bradley, California, and Mike Davenport of Paso Robles, California, prepare to go fishing Lake San Antonio as the sun rises in California's Salinas Valley days before the lake is closed indefinitely.

Four years of drought have contributed to enough water loss in the lake to reduce the water level to only 5% of maximum capacity. "My family's sick about it," Johnston says, "It's in my back yard and for us it's a place we can get to in twenty minutes and have fun. It's a sad thing."

Jim Seida / NBC News

. A picture of Lake San Antonio at full capacity shows a stark contrast to what it looks like today. The last time it was full was in 2006. The lake closed on July 1.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. "When I first started here the lake was full and we'd have seven people working in here," said Linda Nursement, who works the entry gate to Harris Creek Campground at Lake San Antonio. Nursement and others are losing their jobs. "I'm in better shape than most people. This is just a part time job for me" she said.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. The swimming beach of Lake San Antonio is miles away from water.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. John Gajdos drops a line search of some striped bass on Lake San Antonio on June 26. "I'm a boat mechanic so all this drought's really hurting me."

Jim Seida / NBC News

. The Basham Point boat ramp no longer reaches the water of Lake San Antonio.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. The carcass of a striped bass lies near the shore of the Harris Creek boat launch on Lake San Antonio.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. Water flows from below the Lake San Antonio Dam at the rate of 5 cubic feet per second which is considered "minimum fish flow release." The lake is almost at the point of dead pool, where it is physically no longer possible to release any water at all. At that point, the San Antonio River will no longer flow below the dam.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. The "bath tub ring" of white shoreline shows what used to be the high water level of Lake San Antonio. The lake, which normally covers 18 square miles, has dropped to five.

Jim Seida / NBC News

. The lakebed of Lake San Antonio is dry as the California drought enters its fourth year.

Jim Seida / NBC News