Sauk River Float Advice

ianpadron

Active Member
Looking for some intel from guys who have floated the Sauk this winter.

I have a new (to me) Clackacraft that I've been practicing on and think I'm ready to give 'er a whirl. Have done the float from Sultan to Monroe and kept things relatively uneventful, and pre-scouted a pretty good chunk of the Sauk on foot while fishing the past few weeks.

Past threads on here indicate that the main concerns are braided channels and sweepers.

I've got my eyes on the Mill to Govt. Bridge section for our maiden voyage.

Aside from the typical pay attention, scout if in doubt, etc. any well known obstacles, shoals, or areas I should be hyper aware of in that area? Especially with the low water we've had recently? What's a fella budget for time along this stretch if I also want to pull plugs in the deep holes between swing runs?

Thanks in advance!
 
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bhudda

heffe'
Where a life jacket and float the Skagit instead. The mill drift is not for newbies, it eats boats for lunch all the time. Most or all of the boats that went down had very experienced rowers that were comfortable rowing the mill run....and the lower drift is a gong show. Not trying to deter you, you just don’t sound like your ready for it...
My 2 cents

bhudda- the “your welcome!” kinda guy
 

ianpadron

Active Member
Where a life jacket and float the Skagit instead. The mill drift is not for newbies, it eats boats for lunch all the time. Most or all of the boats that went down had very experienced rowers that were comfortable rowing the mill run....and the lower drift is a gong show. Not trying to deter you, you just don’t sound like your ready for it...
My 2 cents

bhudda- the “your welcome!” kinda guy
I appreciate the honesty and am not hard headed enough to pretend I'm better on the sticks than I really am.

Any skills I should focus on honing before I'm "ready" for the Sauk? What kind of trouble are guys running into on that float?

The goal is to become a very good boatman, and I'm willing to put in the work, all guidance is welcome.
 

bhudda

heffe'
The problem with the upper float is it changes A LOT after high waters and if you don’t have up to date intel and know the drift you probably shouldn’t row it. The intel rarely hits the internet...say like when there’s a sweeper on the lower sol duc just at the take out hung up on the bridge... that will be posted all over! ... the Sauk, not so much :) Best advice is go with someone who knows the drift. Get yourself a good inflatable vest you can wear while you row.
I honestly can’t gauge what your skill level is but sultan to BH ain’t enough.
 

Dr. Magill

Active Member
Ah forgot, the "P word" is banned on this forum. Forgot that knuckledraggers like myself who like swinging flies AND fishing conventional gear are the devil and shall not be helped.

I'll see myself out lol.

Be sure to waive if you see a boat full of equal parts 13'6" 7 weights and 7'10" mag taper plug rods ;)
Sorry
I don’t know what the P word is
I shouldn’t have shot my mouth off. My bad.
I hope you get after em
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Supporter
I think you're going to find there are a few stretches of rivers around here where no matter how good you are on the sticks, people are going to suggest you go with someone first. This is out of abundance of caution and because these stretches throw more curveballs than Clayton Kershaw and chew up and spit out folks with experience on those stretches on the regular. You've asked about one of those stretches.
 

GOTY

8x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
On one hand it changes a lot and can be sketchy so it should be a hard no. Especially if you're trying to pull plugs and fishing into tailouts, having to get your gear in and hit your line adds to the complexity. On the other hand there will be 27 guide boats you can follow, so going blind isn't as much of an issue as it is elsewhere. Regardless it's always best to be overly cautious when it comes to this stuff. The advice to float the skagit instead is sound, it's similar to the sky float you've already done.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
When you say Mill to Gov't bridge, that could mean two different length floats. The usual Mill to "NEW" Gov't bridge is the Bennettville bridge, i.e., the Hwy 530 bridge. The second float is the reach from Bennettville bridge downstream to the Native Hole just upstream from the "OLD" Gov't. bridge. Mill to old gov't bridge would be a longish float for plugging or fly fishing, but doable for boon dogging or sidedrifting, whatever that is. Floating from Native Hole or Hippie Bar means going out the mouth of the Sauk and down to Faber's Ferry on the Skagit, which is a longish float. (I used to launch my canoe near Hippie Bar and float to Faber's, so it's very doable in a day.

Regarding difficulty of the reach from Mill to Bennettville, it's not difficult. The danger, as pointed out, is that it is a braided channel section that is always changing, and often log jams and sweepers form at the head of a braid. I haven't floated that reach in years, so have no recent intel.
 

ianpadron

Active Member
When you say Mill to Gov't bridge, that could mean two different length floats. The usual Mill to "NEW" Gov't bridge is the Bennettville bridge, i.e., the Hwy 530 bridge. The second float is the reach from Bennettville bridge downstream to the Native Hole just upstream from the "OLD" Gov't. bridge. Mill to old gov't bridge would be a longish float for plugging or fly fishing, but doable for boon dogging or sidedrifting, whatever that is. Floating from Native Hole or Hippie Bar means going out the mouth of the Sauk and down to Faber's Ferry on the Skagit, which is a longish float. (I used to launch my canoe near Hippie Bar and float to Faber's, so it's very doable in a day.

Regarding difficulty of the reach from Mill to Bennettville, it's not difficult. The danger, as pointed out, is that it is a braided channel section that is always changing, and often log jams and sweepers form at the head of a braid. I haven't floated that reach in years, so have no recent intel.
Appreciate the advice, good to know the nomenclature history too, especially from a fella who's fished up there longer than I've been alive.

I'll wait to float it with a buddy who's done it before and stick to the lazy river for now.
 

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