What rivers are good for beginning driftboaters?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by poloboycb, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. poloboycb Member

    Posts: 39
    Everett, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Just got an old driftboat that I am really excited about. I will have sooo much more access to water than just fishing from the bank. Since I have never rowed a driftboat before, what rivers would you suggest I start out on. I was thinking the Yakima is pretty low this time of year. Any other rivers or advice?


  2. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,555
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,511 / 9
    Curt, how about the many nearby S rivers with a pal. I bet on your side of the water there are folks that would be up for a float.
  3. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,584
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,709 / 0
    The Sky, Snoqualmie, Skagit, Cowlitz, Yakima are all good rivers to begin on.

  4. isaacfab Member

    Posts: 182
    West Point, NY
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Skagit (lower) or Cowlitz are great options for beginners but the yak canyon is good too.
  5. Jeff Sawyer Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Tacoma WA
    Ratings: +249 / 0
    I bought a raft, put in on the Yak at ringer, within the first 5 minutes, I hit a sweeper, fliped the raft and lost about $2500 worth of stuff (see my post on lost and found).

    I took a "How to Row a Drift Boat" class at Red's this weekend (better late than never). The class was awesome, and I would definately recommend anyone who is new to rowing, to take one. Or take someone out that knows how to row. As a new rower you can get into trouble on moving water before you know it.
  6. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,584
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,709 / 0

    Sorry about your loss, but maybe as a learning experience for other new rowers, describe why you hit that sweeper, what you think you did wrong, etc.

  7. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    I would take your boat to the Yakima and go from Big Horn camp ground ($5) launch and drift to Red's. Call Red's and have them shuttle your boat down to their take out. You can leave your key to your car and trailer with the people you give the 5 bucks to and they'll give it to the people at Red's and then your call will be at the take out when you get there. There is nothing that you could do short of running into the bank on the Yak in this stretch. One thing though, don't drag your anchor, and don't fish and row. I'm just saying. having a boat is awesome, but know that people die all over the country every year from DB accidents. Of course newbies are more susceptible. Oh, one more thing, if you want to avoid something, point the bow (the front) of the boat at it and row.
    Good luck and make sure you guy a good life jacket.
  8. Jeff Sawyer Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Tacoma WA
    Ratings: +249 / 0
    I made several rookie mistakes, most of them before I ever got there.

    Get educated: I should have taken a class or had someone that knew what they were doing take me out. I was scheduled to take it, hurt my back and couldn’t, then I got impatient; I had a new toy and wanted to play. I don’t think rowing is hard to do and now that I’ve taken the class I’m pretty confident I could handle the situation much better. But if I had been a little more patient and got the class first, I think things would have turned out differently.

    Research: I should have been more thorough on my research. The Yakima Cannon is probably a great place to learn, but the Ringer launch isn’t exactly the place for a rookie to launch from, especially if the water is a little high as it was when I flipped it. I came back and goggled Ringer boat launch, and within the first few articles, was one talking about it being and I quote “a death trap”.

    Control: This ties into the other two, what specifically happened is I was still trying get a feel for it, to figure out what happens when you pull which oar, how to get the boat pointed and which way it should be pointed. All those things take a little time, and you don’t have that much time from Ringer Launch to Death trap sweeper. I saw we were headed towards the sweeper, and by the time I said oh shit we’re going hit it, we had.

    Under Estimated How Bad a Sweeper Is: If you think you’re going to hit a sweeper and just get stuck there for a second and adjust or work your way around; you might want to re-think that. The instant we hit, the raft flipped. Raft, passenger, me and the gear went under the sweeper and lucky passenger raft and me all pop back out the other side and my friend (he was wearing waders) and I were able to grab onto the raft (that was still upside down) and swim it to shore. The time to avoid a sweeper (especially for us rookies) is way before you get to it.

    Personal Flotation Devices (PDF): Wear them, mine were in the raft, but neither of us had them on. Shit can go south fast, you won’t have time to put it on or even grab it if it does.

    I chalk this up as a lesson learned. I hope other rookies reading this can learn from my mistakes. Stuff can be replaced, I just feel very fortunate that no-one was seriously injured. I, for one, have a whole new respect for moving water.
  9. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,593
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +751 / 2
    I always thought that if you hit something sideways you'd have time to get to the high side of the boat and wiggle your way off around the obstruction. Nope! Hit it and flip within a milisecond. Now, I've never done the above (true) but watched a friend and couldn't believe how fast the water would push your lowside under causing the flip. Again, fraction of a second.

    To me it's second nature and I didn't need anyone to teach me. But, I've had my friends row enough to know that it isn't something everyone gets. I own a boat with 2 of my best friends and I'm on the oars 90% of the time. I also enjoy watching them fish more than having a line in the water myself so there are no complaints from me.
  10. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,593
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +751 / 2
    Mile Post 20 to Reds on the Yakima. Sultan to Ben Howard on the Sky.
  11. constructeur Active Member

    Posts: 1,520
    Seattle, Wa
    Ratings: +412 / 0
  12. Tyler Sadowski Member

    Posts: 476
    Kirkland, wa
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    The upper river from high bridge to sultan is gonna be boney right now, but sultan to monroe will be good.
  13. ten80 Active Member

    Posts: 516
    Anchorage, AK
    Ratings: +84 / 0
    I won't do the High bridge to Sultan in my 14ft cataraft at less than 1850cfs, just gets too shallow and boney right below high bridge. I suspect a 16-18ft drift boat might be ok down to 1600cfs for a scrape-free float. Sultan to Monroe should be fine at the current flow.
  14. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,801
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +695 / 5
    I've pulled people out of that sweeper at Red's. Even retrieved important gear to get them downriver. That spot really isn't bad. But like anything, easy can go to bad in no time. Like I've said, always experiment on a lake first. Find out how the boat reacts. And ALWAYS do your first river trips with an experience rower. That way they can guide you through things, even if you're on the sticks and he/she is sitting in front. You may have lost all your gear, but at least it was a learning experience where everyone came out alive.
  15. Craig Schulz Midwest transplant, but taking root nicely....

    Posts: 73
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I took a 16 footer down it back two weeks ago and got a couple beauty scuff, sultan to Monroe was fine last Tuesday. One thin spot below Ben Howard and a lot of rowing to get through the ponds, not much moving. Cowlitz would be a better feeling with flows, but the sky might be a perfect starting point now.