Float Tubing a River?

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
Just for the sake of comparison:

I was tubing a pond &, hooked a Smallmouth. Said Smallmouth made a couple wraps of 6# mono around my legs, spit the hook, but by then had effectively "lassoed" my lower legs. At the time, I was 250#, lifting heavy weights including lots of squats & leg work, was strong as an ox, but try as I might I could not break or reach the tangled line to free myself.
World record human caught by smallie. :D
 

Brandon

Floatin'
Has anyone ever put their fins on and fished a river from their tube? This time of year, the river I'm thinking of is low and real slow. No rapids at all. I waded it today and it was too deep in some spots, which was unfortunate as some of the big smallies like those deep holes and I couldn't get to em. There's a park that covers several miles of river and I was thinking I'd float through the park and just walk a trail back to the car.

Is this a stupid idea that's gunna get me on 1000 ways to die? The rivers got a good amount of downed timber but it's super slow; it meanders.

Thanks,

Nick
I float the Wenatchee river every summer in my super fat cat. No issues whatsoever.
 

MGTom

Living at the place of many waters
WFF Premium
Just use your head. Stuff happens quickly, be prepared. Really scout the area first.
Like at sun lakes or the arboretum, before you jump or dive, you personally need make sure your not going to hit a rock or a shopping cart. I personally don't trust "well other folks do it". Each circumstance is unique.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
Since you can't fish out of a boat on the Deschutes people use float tubes to help them stand in the river.
One of my family members uses a belly boat to access certain parts of the D and then hikes the boat back upstream after they’ve crossed and fished. She’s also extremely selective about where on the river she pulls this stunt.
 

Buzzy

Active Member
I float the Wenatchee river every summer in my super fat cat. No issues whatsoever.
The Wenatchee River has a lot of variety in her flows. I'm guessing you are not using your Super Fat Cat and floating Tumwater Canyon. I forget how many drownings I've read about in that river so be careful and let's hope you aren't an accident waiting to happen. Sincerely.
 

Brandon

Floatin'
The Wenatchee River has a lot of variety in her flows. I'm guessing you are not using your Super Fat Cat and floating Tumwater Canyon. I forget how many drownings I've read about in that river so be careful and let's hope you aren't an accident waiting to happen. Sincerely.
Certainly not floating that section, from the lake down. Even in the low summer flows I exercise caution, although I have plenty of river experience.

The tube is easy to control with fins, but I bring a kayak paddle along with me for emergency use.
 
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Lue Taylor

Lue Taylor/dbfly
Anyone that put a float tube on a moving river no matter how fast it may not look is just rolling the dice on their life to crap out. I've been on the Skagit wading an got caught in a undertow that kept pushing me into deeper water had to swim back to shore. Also have a friend who was fishing for Pinks at Lincoln park in a float tube not far from shore current nearly took him to Des moines. Moving water is nothing to play with especially in a small craft.
 

Cliff

Active Member
I floated a section of the MacKenzie River in Oregon in my Caddis u-boat in the late 90's. It was a little scary and I got out after a fairly short distance. Never again.
 

Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
Anyone that put a float tube on a moving river no matter how fast it may not look is just rolling the dice on their life to crap out. I've been on the Skagit wading an got caught in a undertow that kept pushing me into deeper water had to swim back to shore. Also have a friend who was fishing for Pinks at Lincoln park in a float tube not far from shore current nearly took him to Des moines. Moving water is nothing to play with especially in a small craft.
i almost got sucked out across lake pendorelle from the lake currents. i was about 400 feet from shore and it took about 3 hours to finally make it back at full leg gas.
 

MT_Flyfisher

Active Member
I‘ve owned small-to-medium sized motorboats, float tubes, pontoon boats, and drift boats. In specific instances, I’ve used each of them in both streams and rivers, and in lakes and reservoirs. And the more I‘ve used them, the more I’ve become aware of the awesome power or water, wherever it is encountered, and how quickly it can turn what might have started out as a safe experience into a near disaster.

With that being said, with what you’ve described, I probably wouldn’t hesitate (much!) to use a good float tube with good fins in the river as you’ve described it, with a couple provisions.

First, you should understand how hard it is to maneuver a float tube with your fins, and second, you should feel comfortable that both your legs and your fins are strong enough to get you where you intend to go.

One time I intended to use my float tube on the Missouri above Wolf Creek to get across the river, fish the opposite shore, and then return to the side I started on. I began by carrying my float tube 1/2 mile or so up the river to where I started out. The water was pretty flat there, but it was moving faster than what I thought. By the time I finally got to the other side, I was nearly exhausted and had floated down the river almost to where I had started out, and I still had to get back across the river. Needless to say, I only tried that once!

One the other hand, at low water levels I’ve carried my float tube up the Missouri below Houser Dam, and floated back to where I started by staying pretty much on the same side of the river, and never had a problem. The water there is pretty slow moving, there are few obstacles, and using a float tube was both enjoyable, and got me into some good fish that I might not have been able to get without having a motor boat of some kind.

I‘ve also used float tubes on smaller, faster moving streams that I knew beforehand, and never had any problems. However, I think you should be aware, as others have said, that problems can arise - that’s true no matter what water your on, or what type of water craft your in - so be sure you’ve taken every practical precaution. For example: wear a life vest, don’t get near downed timber, be familiar with your float tube and fins beforehand, etc., and I think you’d do fine.
 

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