Upper Yakima River Launch Sites

Rorem

New Member
Is anyone aware of any plans to create any new launch sites on the Upper Yakima? With the Bristol launch likely to be closed (see separate posts on the Bristol Subdivision) and the Bullfrog take-out also in jeopardy, boat access to the river will soon become a big problem in the Cle Elum area for those of us not building houses on the river. It seems WDFW hasn't had much interest in making improvements along the Yakima River, even though it is the only significant trout river in Washington suitable for floats. The usual question arises: what happens to all the money we pay for licenses and Discover passes? I suppose a club could buy some river access, but building a launch probably requires government approval, lots of money, and insurance. When you consider how many millions of dollars the state is willing to spend in attempts to prevent all Deaths By Covid, why can't it put something into river access and perhaps cut down on the number of people dying in logjams?
 

Jim Allen

"Fish-On" Custom Fly Rods
I am all for new launch sites for the upper sections of the Yakima river. However, your logic is flawed in that those who died in log jams got there because they had river access. I would support better signage at every access point. But one cannot fix stupid or control alcohol consumption on the river. Active involvement in local TU chapter, working with environmental groups who support your agenda and attending hearings.
 

Jim Allen

"Fish-On" Custom Fly Rods
Sorry got called to the ER. …...will all serve to ensure you have a voice. I do think the only way this will be changed is with $$$ and attorneys.
 

Rorem

New Member
I am all for new launch sites for the upper sections of the Yakima river. However, your logic is flawed in that those who died in log jams got there because they had river access. I would support better signage at every access point. But one cannot fix stupid or control alcohol consumption on the river. Active involvement in local TU chapter, working with environmental groups who support your agenda and attending hearings.
Thanks for your comments. I don't know if I was using anyone's idea of logic, but I would not favor reduced access as a means to prevent deaths. Safer access makes more sense to me. I was specifically thinking of the "State" launch east of Cle Elum that has a massive log jam just downstream and is sometimes completely blocked. I went back in there this fall after the water dropped. It's not a good place for anyone when the water is high. The channel has narrowed considerably over the years. There's a busted up drift boat on the bottom of the river and a wrecked pontoon tangled up in one of the log jams. For some reason the WDFW hasn't been willing to even put up warning signs. (It must be the Feds that put up the signs before the spillway down at Bristol.) Those of us who float it regularly know what to expect, but there are a lot of first-timers that don't know what they're getting into, and they might reasonably assume a WDFW launch provides some hint of safe passage.
When the launch at Bristol closes, we'll be looking at a very long float from State to Thorpe, and using the side channel below State adds a lot of time. There really needs to be a launch to replace Bristol, but there aren't many places where it could go due to steep slopes and the railroad tracks. It may require some creative thinking in addition to "lawyers, guns, and money."
 

Nelsonruss

New Member
Sorry to hear that the Bristol launch is going away. I have used all of these launches on the upper Yakima for my raft for years. None, except Bristol is in good shape but navigating the narrow channel between the State launch and Bristol is a pain and I don't do it often. Primarily use the S. Cle Elum, Hansen Ponds and State lauches now. Both the S. Cle Elum and State launches could use some real maintenance but it all costs money and the WDFW is really going to be short in the coming years. Maybe those of us who use them and fishing clubs and fly shops could help with this maintenance and upgrading them and finding a new access. It would benefit all.
 

Rorem

New Member
Thanks for posting the link to the Yakima River Access Plan study. I've gone to it a few times in the last couple years to see what might be possible. It doesn't really contain a plan per se, just conceptual ideas that require significant political action if any are to be implemented. There were fishing guides and other fishermen involved in the study, but I don't know of any who are championing any of the conceptual ideas presented in the study. Nor do I know of any guides other than Tamarack who have commented on the proposed development of the Bristol floodplain, either formally through the county or on social media.
 

suckegg

Active Member
To my knowledge nothing has changed as a result of the study. We can take solace in the fact that some firm(not local) got a few hundred thousand dollars of county tax payers money for the study. Meanwhile options become fewer and fewer as time passes. With at least a half-dozen fly shops and who knows how many guides one would think this industry would get more support.
 

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