Floating the Yakima: three questions

1) What is (are) the best section(s) of the Yakima to float in a personal pontoon raft?

2) What kind of an anchor should I use, or should you anchor a pontoon raft at all in full flows on the Yakima?

3) What is the best way to fish and float without four arms?



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I'm going to try to answer all three questions, but I'm sure others reading this will disagree (everyone is entitled to an opinion). I feel the easiest section to float is the lower section - i.e. the canyon. All sections are floatable depending on water level and the abilitites of the boater. I have a 8' outcast and use a lead 7 pound pyramid (sp?) type anchor. it works well and I have never had a problem. When floating slow moving water, fins can help keep control while casting. however, they are a pain in big water. You need to have some sort of way to strap down the rod safely and securely while rowing though the big stuff (the yak doesn't really have any big stuff). A PVC tube strapped to the side works well. I hope this helps you. Good luck. I'm thinking about the yak myself for a little trip this weekend. :THUMBSUP YT


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Use a large dose of common sense when trying to anchor any pontoon boat in the Yakima. If your anchor hangs up in fast, or even moderately fast, water you can find yourself in a world of hurt in a big hurry. Pontoon boats have a nasty tendency to broach in such a situation and have been know to turn right over. You're probably best off to use your pontoon boat primarily for transportation.
While I agree that the easiest water to float is the canyon, it is moving pretty good right now (~4200 cfs). Two weeks ago, I covered the 15.5 mile stretch from Big Horn to Roza easily in less than 8 hours. There were very few places to anchor and/or pull over (and I was in a drift boat) so we pounded the banks a lot. Fish were TIGHT against the banks...6 inches was sometimes not close enough. It really just depends on your ablility to fish and float simultaneously. There is a bit of productive nymphing water where you can anchor between Big Horn and Umtanum Good luck.

I would not even think of taking an anchor with me on the Yak. Right now the river is really humming and requires a focused cast to get the desired closeness to the bank. However, there are a few spots just above the dam where it would be nice to try to pull out on some mid-river high points.

A lot of water and pack some droppers.
All of the Yak is fishing well right now. A pontoon boat is a great way to fish all of the river but the techniques used depend on what stretches you are floating. Right now most of the water coming into the Yak is from the Cle Elum so above that confluence the Yak is quite small, ideal for wading or floating. Below that confluence,from there to Cle Elum itself, the river is big and treacherous with lots of logs-If you float there now be careful.

As far as anchors go I would say don't use one in fast water ever, its way too dangerous. I use a 10 to 15 lb weight on my pontoon but only use is as a "parking break". That is only in slow water to stop the boat and keep it from floating away while I get out and fish on foot.

This brings us back to the confluence of the Cle Elum, with the flows so high right now it is very difficult to fish on foot below there. All of the normal riffles and runs and pools are just one big run. Without four arms, the best way to fish from a pontoon boat is to wear flippers to control yourself. This can be done anywhere the water is not to shallow or too big. I would recommend using this technique in the canyon where the water is relatively uniform. It is only difficult when you get a fish on, then the problem becomes how to stop but that is half the fun. I hope this helps. See you on the river.

Fish on!
Thanks for the input. Flipers seem like they could be a problem in fast water. Have you found that to be true, and do they give you enough thrust to move you in the heavy flows?
Yeah, flippers can be difficult to use in fast water but until you grow those other two arms they are your only choice. In big, fast water you will still need you oars. In a river, like the Yak in the canyon, flippers will allow you to keep your position relative to the bank where you are casting but that is about all they are good for. You can't fight the water very well, they won't move you very far or very fast.

Fish on!

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