'Goin In'

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by shadowcast, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Mom and I were out swinging bugs for winter steel on the Queets a couple years back. It was Janurary about 4pm, cold. We were slowly working down a run, my mom 50 yards downstream. Cast, two steps down, cast, two steps down.... She was about thigh deep at the time and felt a drop off in front of her. She took one last cast and decided to start wading back to the bank. She turned around to find a drop off behind her, too. I heard her gasp and saw the look on her face. That one day, was the one day she accidentally left her wading belt in the car. I pushed downriver as quickly as I could. As I reached her, I too stepped and could no longer feel the bottom. I threw her the end of my spey rod, at this point she had her chin up with water almost pouring into her mouth. Slowly I was able to ease her back to shore. It took 25 minutes to make it back to the rig, she was showing all the signs of hypothermia. She stopped shaking as we pulled into Amanda park to re-collect our thoughts.

    While methodically and slowly working down a run, if you can't see bottom, you may be walking down the plank.
  2. I'm what is called (or was) an aggressive wader. Many, many times I've gone swimming. It was so common, I'd look downstream from where I planned to cross to find a suitable landing spot in the event I ended up swimming.

    I was a fairly good swimmer and back in the day, neoprene was the wader of choice and actually worked to help keep you buoyant. Swimming was easy in neoprene waders.

    The only time I thought I was going to die was when the river washed the gravel out from under my boots and I suddenly was swimming in The Metolius. The water was so cold it was like someone hit me in the chest with a baseball bat. The Metolius is one of the coldest rivers in Oregon and not considered a good place to go swimming is you are a human.

    All in all, the only damage done during my swimming trips was done to my compact field cameras. Water and cameras don't mix and in the old film days, they didn't offer any that were waterproof.

    Of course now I have a waterproof digital field camera but no longer fish rivers for anything but steelhead. I'm not sure of the logic in that one.

    I've suffered more damage attempting to get to the river than swimming in the river. Over time, I've broken two rods when I've slipped on the bank and a rock and fallen on the rods. That SNAP! sound really sucks.
  3. I was fishing the Sauk where the Suiattle runs in. There is a nice long bar there. I was doing the step cast thing. I was just sliding my feet along and I happen to slide my foot under a sunken branch. The next step I went down. It was winter time also. I was wearing waist high waders(Hodgmans). I was belted up snug at my waist. All that got wet was my upper body. But being that it was a Washington winter, it was foggy and raining, so I didn't freeze my balls off. But it was cold enough.
  4. If you don't fall in the river every now and then while flyfishing, you're doing something wrong :)

    John and I were once fishing The Siletz during Fall salmon season and John fell down while crossing the river and was kind'a floundering around... I was afraid a coho would attempt to spawn with him.

  5. Yep, I keep a collapsible staff on my wading belt for when I need it. And, the wading belt is an SOSpenders CO2 charged system that will pop out a life jacket if ya pull the rip cord. Keep a 6" buck knife on that sucker too in case I get tangled in something and need to cut shit loose. Haven't had to pull that yellow rip cord yet, but I've been in a couple situations where my left hand reached down to make sure I knew exactly where the oh-shit-handle was hangin'... adrenaline jacked and gravel coming out from under feet while doing the road-runner towards calmer water...
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  6. I do recall that evening. The fishing was great, but light was fading, I had fallen while wet-wading a couple times earlier that day (but had waders on for the evening hours), and it was the last day of our trip. I not only marched back to the truck, I think I said something to the effect that the river was trying to tell me something.

    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  7. "Gone in" a number of times over the years. Usually it is embarrassing more than anything else. Strange as it sounds, I've had sketchier situations in wet deep soft mud than in water. A few years ago I was fishing in N ID at a spring creek and hooked a really nice brown. I always bank fished the spot because the bottom was so muddy/silty and because there are all these weird little "spring holes" in the creek, but when that fish wrapped around something on the far bank I decided to go in and get it without remembering where i was. It was the weirdest sensation, because the creek "bottom" was only about 2 ft below the surface, but when I stepped on the bottom it wasn't firm at all - I immediately sunk in all the way up over my head and kinda stuck there. i managed to flail around and extricate myself but it was definitely an eye opener and it also covered every inch of my body and my waders (inside/out) in muck. While stumbling out, I almost hit a cattle fence too.... Lost fish, but didn't lose my rod. I wade around in plenty of "mucky" water but never in a spot where the "muck layer" has been that deep.
  8. I had a similiar exp as brian white. I was on a river many years ago fishing the shoreline, i wasn't more than 2 feet from dry land and stepped forward one more time.....and down i went. I had the other leg still behind me and that saved me from burying myself in mud and only 6 inches of water. It was frightening to be that close to shore and in that deep of mud. It took very slow weight shifting moves to pull myself out of the mud.... alot of slow moves, or i would lose my balance and slip back down in the holes i was creating.
    I fall down more while wet wading on slippery rocks in small streams. I haven't had the luck to go under while wearing chest high waders.
  9. ok, yep I went in last week on the little green that runs into the touttle up at the hatch. I asked my buddy if I needed my staff, I know better to not take it, been in the rouge river a few times too. well he said no the river is ok. so we started across to get to the other side so we could walk down to where he liked to fish. he led, now he is 242lbs, I was watching, he had a little trouble to get to the other side. the first part was ok but there was drop on the other side and white water, I know better not to cross white water but I went, got into the white and it was too fast for me, I am at 165lbs., I looked at him and said no way, I started to turn, my right foot slipped twisted my ankle and I was down. H e started in and said get up. ha, no way I am getting up so with rod and net in my left hand I crawed back. I did have a wading belt on so know water got in. he came back acrossed and we went up river alittle bit and fished for awhile but no fish. I think I scared em all off.
    My ankle is still alittle sore but am ok. in the rouge river out of Medford it was worst but I am still around. ya can't beat a wading stick and mine is made out of conduit, I have broken a few wood ones but not this one. tight lines
  10. I went in a year ago February, usual story got a little aggressive and stepped on some loose gravel (I was even wearing cleats) and went in up to my neck and hate to think what would of happened if I hadnt had a wading belt on. I was by myself, it was a couple miles from the truck, the snow was about knee deep, and the air temp was just above freezing so not a good situation at all. I stripped off most of what I had on and ran back to keep my body temp up. Since then I keep my winter fishing to saltwater beaches and freezing my ass of on stillwater pretending I am having fun.
  11. Real memorable dunking for me was a few years back steelhead fishing near Sultan. Early January I think, cold rainy you know the weather. Fishing with a buddy, he's upstream of me so no help for what was about to happen.

    I am working in water below my waist but barely. Doing the cast, step, cast thing. I see a seam in the middle of the river and need to get closer to the middle of the river. Take a couple of steps and then realize I am in current that is really rocking. Next thing I know I am fully immersed in the cold water.

    The words don't panic kept entering my mind. Once those words settled in, I calmed down ... I then "sat" in the current with my feet first. I rode along for awhile and waited for my feet to touch bottom, which they eventually did. Then I just stood up and made a couple of steps closer to shore.

    I turned around and my friend was hauling down to me. He thought I was a goner. We headed to his truck. My waders were not that full since I had a wading belt. Had a coffee to warm up and laugh a bit. Then drove down near Reider ponds (I think he did this to ensure I got nice and warm) and went back down to the river.


  12. Damn...

    Great stuff. Thanks everyone.
  13. yeah, great stories, glad no one got lost. always wear a wading belt and take your stick. I know it's a hassal but it could help.
    it's true, if ya haven't been in the water somethings wrong. most people I know who fish rivers have gone in and yes some lose their life. be carefull as you can. tight lines and safe wading and if ya think ya can't make it stay out, the fish are always there but you may not be.
  14. I try to follow the same advice I received re free solo rock climbing. If you're not certain you can down-climb it (always harder than up) then don't free solo it. Same seems to go for wading: backing out is always harder and sketchier. So, if I'm not certain I can back out, I (begrudgingly) don't go forward.
  15. Jim, that is soo true. I too use to climb. gave it up in 86, bad fall like 350ft. don't like to be up high any more.

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