Floating the Sol Duc

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Grey Wolf, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. I'm interested in floating the Sol Duc from HWY 101 to Leyendecker in my 8' pontoon boat. Is this section of the river suited to that boat?
  2. you might want to go with someone who's familiar, that river's got some nasties in it depending on the water level.
  3. It's not about the boat. I know people who could paddle it in a bathtub with a 2x4 and others who couldn't make it in a 12' Sotar cat.

    First time me and a friend floated it in our 10' Outcasts, he broadsided a rock at the top of double rapids and sat there for a few minutes. I made my way back upstream and was able to jump in, bob around a bit, and grab his pontoon spinning him off the rock. Not a good place to be in that position and not fun.

    First time me and a different friend floated the Calawah in our pontoons, I was fishing a run and noticed (upstream) my friend walking down the middle of the river with his pontoon upside down. He flipped and was very lucky to be able to reach up and grab his boat, pulling himself to the surface. Floated that way until the run shallowed up enough to stand. Not fun.

    Both people competent on the oars, one with soiled un's and the other lucky it wasn't 25 degrees that day.
  4. Good to know, thanks for the reply.
  5. It’s a legitimate question and one we get here at the shop all the time, but it’s always a tough one to answer. A very good response from PT, let me just add this. Your boat is capable of running that stretch of river without question (some boats would not be or would make it harder), but it’s a little like asking someone if the skis you just bought can handle a black diamond run.
    I used to think that if you have to ask, you shouldn’t be doing it. Now I almost believe the opposite is true. Guys who just show up and assume they can run everything, probably end up with search and rescue sweeping the river for them. It’s always a good idea to get a good idea about a new river or a river you haven’t ran since the last high water.
    In the end, only you can know whether this is a good idea. Your boat can do it, but as one of my shop guys is fond of saying:
    “Sometimes it’s the Indian, not the arrow.”
    Robert Engleheart likes this.
  6. If you are certain you want to float the Sol Duc, I'd suggest running the Maxfield to Whitcomb Dimmel stretch for your first float.
    That is considered the easiest float on the Sol Duc yet it still eats boats now and then.
    The only major rapid is Shuwah, which you can carry or portage around depending on the water height an 8' pontoon if you didn't feel like running it.
    The Sol Duc deserves a lot of respect.
    Good Luck,
    Jamie Wilson likes this.
  7. Also keep in mind that the river is quite low right now, making it especially important that you know/take the correct line: it's unlikely that there's enough water to correct mistakes or sneak through a less-than-perfect route.

    The float in question does have a few spots where you really need to know where to go--double rapids, Moriaty tailout, five fingers, etc--when the water is low to avoid getting hung up and stuck in a precarious place, or worse...

    In any case, I agree with all that's been said here: go with someone who truly knows that float before doing it yourself; and do it at a flow that's similar to the flow you wish to fish/float it on your own. (I prefer to see new water at very low water if possible.)


  8. Grey Wolf,

    I haven't floated from 101, but from the Rayonier bridge to Leyendecker in my Watermaster. The worst spot is right under the bridge at Leyendecker. If you're comfortable with that, the rest is a walk in the park. Pay attention to what the others said regarding the upper half, from 101 to Rayonier. And like PT and Anil suggest, it's not about the boat, it's about the man on the sticks.

    Alternatively, as Stonefish mentioned, the Maxfield to Whitcom-Dimmel float is a nice one, with a bouncy ride through Shuwah. However I've heard that many a driftboat has wrapped around that big Shuwah boulder.

    Bob Triggs and camroy34 like this.
  9. A big thank you to everyone who wrote in so far.
  10. Pretty sure water level is right up there - always.

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