Floating the Naches in a pontoon boat?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by cabezon, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,938
    Likes Received:
    535
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Hi folks,
    I'll be spending several days next week in the Bumping / Naches area. I'll have my pontoon along to fish Bumping Lake. While I have have bank-fished the Naches, I've never floated the Naches (have pontooned many other rivers). Is it reasonably safe to float the Naches in a 9' Bucs Bronco?

    Steve
     
  2. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,226
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    Home Page:
    I'm really interested in hearing the responses to this. I've fished the Naches a fair bit wading, and have seen spots that looked they'd be fairly wild ride in my 8' Bucks South Fork, but have not given it a go yet...
     
  3. BDD

    BDD Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2005
    Messages:
    2,488
    Likes Received:
    453
    Location:
    Ellensburg, WA
    Home Page:
    Traditional access points for launching boats are pretty limited and the guides who fish that river often have private locations. With that, a 9 foot pontoon is a lot more versatile in where you can launch than a drift boat or raft. It can be pretty tricky in sections though. Not much help but its something I guess.
     
  4. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,835
    Likes Received:
    1,844
    Location:
    m-ville
    Nik Walenda walked across the grand canyon on a 2 inch cable,I'd be nervous walking across the same spot on a 4 foot wide bridge.That said , like many adventures its outcome depends on your experience level
     
    Rob Hardman and wanative like this.
  5. cmann886

    cmann886 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    Richland Wa
    Use good judgement and you will be fine. Talk with the folks at Reds (Craig)---some of their crew floated in pontoons and water masters a few weeks ago. They can sale you the "hot" flies for this week as well.
     
  6. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    3,359
    Likes Received:
    2,806
    Location:
    Grand Coulee, WA
    Do your research. I float alot of rivers in my toon, but would be pretty leary of that one. Tons of boulders, sweepers and plunge pools from what I remember wading it.
     
    Jim Speaker likes this.
  7. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,226
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    Home Page:
    In the many sections I waded some years ago I don't recall sweepers but certainly snags and root wads. Yes, plunges, depending on flows, standing waves, and some pretty tricky looking high gradient rapid drops that you'd need to thread pretty damn surgically to avoid get spun by a rock (which ofc would likely mean broadsiding the next and flipping).

    Right right memory is coming back of what I've seen there.

    But I'd love to hear beta re stretches that aren't as gnarly as I just described!
     
  8. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    729
    Location:
    Somewhere Near Selah, WA
    dude, all i got to say is be very, very, VERY careful. ive spent my life on/around that river and i wouldn't ever get in a toon on that unless i was very damn good behind the sticks. that being said, the floating season is about over i do believe based on the flows.
     
    Jim Speaker likes this.
  9. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,226
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    Home Page:
    That actually brings up a good point re floating season. In spring flows no way would I take a toon on that river. But, in July or August wouldn't it be pretty sweet to be able to cover all that water and fish all those bars that are inaccessible on the "other side?" When I think pontoon and Naches it's July forward I'm thinking of.

    ** I have not floated the Naches. If you go tangle yourself in a root was it was NOT because I said it was a good idea to float it**
     
  10. troutdopemagic

    troutdopemagic Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    162
    Location:
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    The Naches is sketchy, especially above the confluence. There's a couple places that are extremely technical so I hope your good on the oars. If not, do not attempt it at high flows. Be sure to ask in Reds or any other competent fly shop about blockages or updates on the stream.
     
    dbfly likes this.
  11. Luke77

    Luke77 I hope she likes whitefish

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    443
    Location:
    Yakima, WA
    Craig and I floated a section on Sunday and he did a different section on Saturday...took the watermasters. If you're not confident on the oars and don't know the river, I would just stick with wading. Like McNasty said, be very careful...I've been on and around that river my whole life and I still pucker up on it.
     
  12. Porter

    Porter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    6,963
    Likes Received:
    835
    Location:
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    I have only waded it, and have seen very few on the river and most if not all were kayakers.
     
  13. PT

    PT Physhicist

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Messages:
    3,874
    Likes Received:
    1,040
    Location:
    Edmonds, WA
    Person on the oars is what makes a river "floatable" not the boat. I watched my cousin get into my pontoon on the Sky and row straight across the river and pin himself sideways on the only thing available within a mile. Buddy flipped his 'cat on the Calawah similarly after negotiating miles of technical stuff.....

    Tough to recommend a float to someone even if they say they have a 14' Sotar Cat.
     
    triploidjunkie and JS like this.
  14. JS

    JS Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    921
    Likes Received:
    96
    So true. If you're not sure, you probably need more time behind the oars.
     
  15. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2004
    Messages:
    1,938
    Likes Received:
    535
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I'm comfortable behind the oars, cautious but confident. But as I haven't seen folks in one-person pontoons on the Naches, I have asked to receive input from others that may have pontooned it (or who decided not to pontoon the Naches). I'm a flyfisher, not a white-water rafter. I get no great thrill from experiencing impressive hydraulics and putting my expensive fly rods (let alone my life) at risk. But, like others, there is that attraction of being able to fish areas that can't be reached from shore alone. I'm sure many of you have shared that attraction. Risk, reward. I'm looking for informed input.

    Steve