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#132456 - 12/04/01 09:24 PM Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


What are some of the most skill challenging driftboating river sections that you guys run for winter steelhead? I am aware that you won't name some of the upper end zipperlip river sections, but the ones that are fairly well known about.

Don't include ones that are cataraft only type of water, such as the NF Nehalem on the N. Oregon coast (which you could run if you don't mind a bunch of scrapes and dents in your d-boat). One's that come to mind offhand are OR's '6th Bridge' down section of the Nestucca R. Of the bigger inland rivers the upper Clackamas R. has some class 4/5 stuff that's fun to run. The wild section of the lower Rogue River is a nice d-boat challenge to fish. As for WA, although I haven't rowed it yet, pics of some sections of the Oly Pen's Sol Duc R. look like a lot of fun.

What's some other good ones?

Edit: It would be cool to see some pics posted of d-boats running good rapids.

RT

[ 12-04-2001: Message edited by: RT ]

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#132457 - 12/04/01 09:48 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Little Fish Offline
Spawner

Registered: 09/28/01
Posts: 970
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Good topic RT....now I'll know what rivers & sections to avoid. Can we expand this thread to include good rivers for newbies to learn on?

JMS

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#132458 - 12/04/01 10:08 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ya LF,

A couple good examples of sections to learn to row a driftboat are the lower Skykomish R. and most sections on the lower Cowlitz R. for WA.

In Oregon, the lower Wilson R. from Mills to Sollie is a good coastal section to learn on. The Clackamas R. from Carver to Riverside Park takeout ramp is just a little step up from that, but still a reasonable place to learn - after basic lessons from someone.

RT

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#132459 - 12/04/01 11:09 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
kore Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 462
Loc: Carson, WA
I would say the calawah, is pretty technical in some places. Above 101 the south fork, I think it is called "hells half mile", is down right spooky looking.

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#132460 - 12/04/01 11:17 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
fishhead5 Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 09/06/00
Posts: 1096
Loc: Shelton
RT, any time your fat A@@ is in the boat it makes any river hard to row eek eek laugh laugh

Fishhead5
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Fishhead5

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They need to limit Democrats to two terms, one in office, and one in prison.

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#132461 - 12/04/01 11:28 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Bob D Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/24/99
Posts: 383
Loc: Port Orchard Wa Kitsap
The upper and lower Calawah. The Solduc at low water has a boat claimer in every drift! A couple of the runs are challenging anytime as you MUST know the slot and it isnt clear at all! And Bear Creek section is a danger boy trip anytime! Ive done the Calawah and Bear creek a couple times in my secreat weapon (not a cat) and it will be a few more till I introduce the Willie (not many though). Its not the lack of confidence or the in-ability to row the stuff. You just cant miss a stroke and you have to know which way to go or its all over on a few of these drifts!

Bob D

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#132462 - 12/04/01 11:35 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hahaha fishyheaddoug5. Hey, who was huffin and puffin and almost passed out when we pushed Fly's d-boat upriver thru the shallows - you or me?!? Let's see... uh, that would be YOU. laugh laugh btw, what would you know about my @$$? Is that where you've been lookin while I was fishing? :p

I've heard about the Calawah but heaven't seen it yet. How about the tougher Cascade rivers? I forgot to mention the Pack Saddle Park on down section of the N.F. Santiam R. That was a fun pull down that stretch. Lookout for Spencer's Hole rapids - a d-boat eater for rowing crackers.

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#132463 - 12/05/01 11:45 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
kalamabama Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/07/00
Posts: 329
Loc: LaCenter Wa USA
The upper Solduc in low water is some fun water when you run it for the first time. I would say that would rate high on my tough river list. I have never run the calawah but would sure like to give it a try ( after I talk to someone who has run it).
As to good rivers to learn on I would start with the NF Lewis and the Cowlitz. After that the Kalama is good. Just respect the force (of the water) and be carful. Any river can eat a boat.
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#132464 - 12/05/01 08:19 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
GBSkunk Offline
Fry

Registered: 03/12/01
Posts: 20
Loc: Oregon City
Anyone ever try drifting the Suiattle?
_________________________
The best head........is STEELHEAD!

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#132465 - 12/05/01 10:57 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
$$B-MONEY$$ Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 339
Loc: Eastside,Wa
The upper sky! Big rocks, big drops, and lots of flow. Boulder drop.......... eek eek eek .
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Vision Pro Staff
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#132466 - 12/06/01 12:10 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
$$B-MONEY$$ Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 339
Loc: Eastside,Wa
The upper sky! Big rocks, big drops, and lots of flow. Boulder drop.......... eek eek eek .
_________________________
BK

Vision Pro Staff
www.visionhooksandtackle.com

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#132467 - 12/06/01 01:02 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Skywalker Offline
Spawner

Registered: 03/10/01
Posts: 578
Loc: Snohomish, WA, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by BK:
The upper sky! Big rocks, big drops, and lots of flow. Boulder drop.......... eek eek eek .


Boulder Drop in a drift boat????? I wanna see films of that.....sounds like one of those "Tragedy in Snohomish County, film at 11:00" kinds of stories.

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#132468 - 12/06/01 05:52 AM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't have good pics of running whitewater in dritboats because in the really good stuff me and my passengers took the ride, without having anyone to take the pics. I only have some of the rafting and inflatable kyak photos (posted some before). Hope some of you guys have some good ones.

But I do have a recent pic of Team Vision running their toughest rapid ever for them. In fact, Parker got scared and asked to be let out so he could walk around it, leaving Fly and the Kid to run a BIG rapids that made them wet their pants! Here is that picture:

[img]http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1432992&a=10739464&p=57124067&Sequence=1[/img]

I did find this one of me rowing a pretty easy roller slot on the Spruce Park run on the mid big Nehalem R. It is almost as tough a run as the NF Nehalem, but not as small rocky for scratching driftboats:

[img]http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=1432992&a=10739464&p=57124069&Sequence=1[/img]

[ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: RT ]

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#132469 - 12/06/01 05:11 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
retriever Offline
Smolt

Registered: 09/11/00
Posts: 94
Loc: Renton, Wa
The double rapids below Whitcom Dimmel on the Sol Duc were a treat the first time. I still can't read it, but I know to stay left despite my instincts.

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#132470 - 12/06/01 05:23 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
GutZ Offline
The Original Boat Ho

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 2948
Loc: Bellevue
Come on, Dan! Lets do the Calawah. We made it down the Sol Duc without any one getting seriously injured. I'll admit the pucker factor was pretty high there a few times.

GutZ
_________________________
It's good to have friends
It's better to have friends with boats
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#132471 - 12/06/01 10:54 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
JohnnyCoho Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 01/22/00
Posts: 190
Loc: Rockport,WA,USA
Skywalker, If Ya can get a copy of it, the old Lavro video has footage of good friend and great oarsman Dan Neibauer rowing the Boulder Drop on the Sky "with life-jacket".
Upper Sky is a tough one though.
Sauk used to be one of the toughest in the State when the "Dragons-Tooth" was there. Made the Boulder Drop on the Sky look easier than it is. Still a few tricky spots up here, always somthing new after a good high water.
I've looked the Suiattle over up and down and can honestly say,"it aint floatable with a drift boat!"
Upper Skagit below Newhalem Dam is a fun one!!!
Ya should see the rafters faces when they see a drift boat comin' down it. (not for fishing, just for fun) hehehehe
As for "Hells Half Mile" on the Calawah,...."Just say HELL NO!!!!!!" guys that have rowed it need to find a good source of bottled adrenalin.
eek eek eek eek wink
_________________________
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John's Guide Service
"Wounded Warriors In Action" Associate & NW Field Coordinator

"Life is short. Never pass up a hug. Look children in the eye when you talk to them. Bend the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that made you smile."

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#132472 - 12/07/01 07:00 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
GutZ Offline
The Original Boat Ho

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 2948
Loc: Bellevue
Man, I was really hoping this thread was going to take off. There seems to be no reliable (?) source for information on drifts. At least none that I have been able to find.

There seem to be only two ways to get information about specific drifts. Cough up the dough and go with a guide or get over the fear, drop it in and go for it.

I am taking precations for the later such as painting CALL 911 on the bottom of the boat. I have also applied this side up stickers. Got my whistle, horn and radio. Also carrying some emergency gear for starting a fire, if (when) we get dumped. (Sounds like an idea for another thread - what emergency gear do you carry in a driftboat)

The most exciting (scariest!) piece of water I have ever drifted is the Sol Duc from the Hatchery to Whitcomb - Dimmel. 4 1/2 boards. Lots of rapids, which proved to be passible even in an 18' Eastside. We did get hung up but good in one spot. The river breaks into 3. We went left. Big VW Boulders in which we got hung up but good. It got late (dark) before we off the River. I can't wait to try that again!

Oxbow on the Hoh looks like fun. I have heard there is even more exciting stuff "up in the Canyon"

See you out there!

GutZ
_________________________
It's good to have friends
It's better to have friends with boats
***GutZ***

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#132473 - 12/08/01 02:49 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
Kid Sauk Offline
I'm a freak'n CAKE

Registered: 05/17/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Almost on the beach
John is right about the Suiattle. You'd better have genuine steel balls and a death wish if you plan on floating that sucker! eek

How about the upper Elwah?
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My name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddd.....
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#132474 - 12/08/01 11:02 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
stlhdr1 Offline
BUCK NASTY!!

Registered: 01/26/00
Posts: 5671
Loc: Vancouver, WA
The upper-upper EF of the Lewis (from below Lucia-Lewisville Park) is hell in any water condition, and the washougal has it's few tough spots. But I'll never do the upper Lewis again. Other than that I've never been on any real tough water.

How about it BK, you want to try the upper EF?? It is passable as long as you bring some extra sets of underware...
Keith laugh
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#132475 - 12/08/01 11:30 PM Re: Most challenging driftboat river sections
The Real Spoonman Offline
Parr

Registered: 12/09/00
Posts: 43
Loc: Tacoma, WA USA
Speaking of the Death Drop-

It's no longer open (and it really bums me out because it truly was the best wild steelhead fishing in the state- better than the OP), but the nastiest shiznit I've ever seen, Calawah, Sol Duc and way upper Skagit inclusive- is the Nisqually from McKenna down to the Tank Crossing. There is a stretch called Kahuna (upper and lower) that ate more drift boats during the late 70s and early 80s...man!! I've fished many a horrified angler out of the frigid March waters below the rapids. I don't know how the hell any of those guys made it through there. The giant rocks and mazes of the same make the Bear Creek float on the Duc look like a lake.

All I have to say is, if you think you are the man on the sticks, go try that float. But get some insurance for the family before hand!

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