Boat down on the Yak

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by patrick barta, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. The wife and I floated the farmlands yesterday. The wind was howling and the fishing was slow. There was not one other person on the river though, so it was a darn nice float.

    About a mile up from Ringer (right where the channel splits to the right before the S curve) there was a Hyde wrapped around a stump. It was mostly submerged and we didn't even notice it until we floated past. To bad to, since there was an oar sitting on top what little boat was above the water and we'd have snagged it had we'd known.

    I texted a few guides in Eburg and I guess it happened last week sometime.

    Anyone know anything about that?
  2. Yeah, unfortunately I know a bit about it. The good news is everyone is safe and some gear was recovered. It easily could have been much worse.

    Like most accidents it was, in hindsight, a poor decision with a few unforseen contributing factors, and a bit of bad luck thrown in.

    Be careful out there. Things can go from a good time fishing to a real struggle in an absolute heartbeat.

    On a lighter note... if anyone grabs a pic, I'd love to have a copy. We will try to recover the boat if there's much left when flows receed a bit.
  3. Juneriver, sorry for the boat loss. Glad all were okay. Mind sharing some details? Some may benefit from your life lessons. Lots of seasoned to rookie rowers row that stretch frequently. Thanks, and again, glad all are okay.
    constructeur likes this.
  4. Yeah...terribly tough loss...but glad everyone made it okay.
    "Be careful out there. Things can go from a good time fishing to a real struggle in an absolute heartbeat."
    I did not suffer the same fate that your party did, Juneriver, but I did have an incident that caused serious concern for my Assault XXX boat and our gear: I got overconfident or lazy...not sure which...and hung us up on a sharp rock in heavy, deep flows a couple weeks ago in the canyon. After a couple minutes, my partner finally freed us up by bouncing very aggressively in his seat up front. As we pulled off the rock, I saw heavy evidence that an aluminum boat or two had found the same rock. What I had done was to spot the hazzard, then make the mistake of positioning the boat to where my view of it was blocked by my partner as we got close. I won't be doing that again.
  5. Ed, I think at this point I’d rather leave the nitty-gritty of the situation to a campfire, barstool, or fly shop conversation rather an open internet dissection. Suffice to say that the boat ended up there because of a decision to change which channel to fish at last minute and obviously a misjudgment.

    Lessons learned are the basics – Don’t be cavalier. Just because you've done something in a similar circumstance a hundred times before and been fine, doesn't mean that it will be this time. Obstacles can be much different under the water than what you see on approach (duh), there’s no reason to cut it close. Things can change faster than you can imagine – complete confidence to swimming in what seemed like less than 2 seconds.

    Just be safe out there. Gear and boat be damned (although I’d like to get it back) – there is no worse feeling than knowing you are pinned in moving water and just saw two good friends pitched into a sweeper. We will fish another day.
  6. That is a bummer... although I did have my eye on that oar.

    I was concerned where you boys would have swam. Given where the boat is I'd hope that everyone went down the channel to the right but if you got pushed left (as you know) theirs that big log jamb / snag at the island point with deep swift water. Assuming you missed that snag theirs another big one (as I'm sure you know) down 50 yards and centered in the flow.

    I was doing an oar frame rafting guide school a few years back on the Sky. We went down bolder drop twice in the two days floating. On day one I went with one boat down the cheat route river right and watched the other boat flip violently going down the main chute. On day 2, I didn't want to be a pussy and go the easy way both days so I went with the other guide down the drop, hoping for the best. As we entered I asked what our chances were, he said 70 - 30.... 70 that we'd swim. Not being a swimmer I was scared to death. The guides also said if you find yourself swimming, swim to the left of the big rock in the center of the canal. Don't go right since theirs a big snag there and you might drown. Since I don't swim, again I was scared to death.

    We barely entered the rapids and I and another trainee were in the river swimming... in my case, bobbing. All I saw was bubbles and I was trying not to freak out, because if I did I'd drink half the river. Not knowing where I was going, the current took me to the right of the rock and somehow missed the snag. They pulled me to shore downriver with a load in my drysuit.

    I've always had great respect for the river and the power of moving water, but that experience took that respect to a new level.

    At least I can say I've swam boulder drop at 7000 cfs and I'm not a pussy!

    Glad to hear everyone is safe, although I'd be curious know where you ended up.
  7. In 7000cfs water you are not fishing you are about to take a swim or drown
  8. June,

    Sorry to hear of your loss.
    I've had an aluminum drift boat since the mid 90's and feel a chill every time I see or hear of someone loosing a boat.

    I've had a few close calls on that section. My first time doing the farmlands my anchor came loose just as I was entering the sweeper into a rock wall. I had 90 and 91 year old husband/wife in the front seat. I retrieved the anchor and got on the oars quickly. I was in extreme pucker up mode until we cleared the sweeper. We had two other boats - both guides and they saw the whole thing.

    Glad you and your crew are still going to fish again.
    Hope you get the boat repaired or get another boat soon.
    See you on the river.
  9. Juneriver, I respect that. Should there be an opportunity for that campfire or barstool I'm game. First day with my new cataraft I got pinned broadside on a sweeper with a very good friend up front. We remained calm, and another very good friend who was just ahead of us banked his boat and tossed us a line. Pucker factor was high for sure. We fared very well, no one wet and only one rod snapped due to my missing the slot line and an oar stroke. Ed
  10. There is not a single fish anywhere worth risking ones life over....period. I watched a large jet sled go into a dead fall on the Cowlitz many years ago and saw the boat literally formed around the log... a sobering reminder of just how powerful flowing water is. Fortunately all escaped that event and we picked up one of the passengers who was badly shaken and had a broken finger...another I heard was pinned until a limb broke loose letting him get free...scary damn stuff.

    Ever since that day I became a boating wuss. I do not fish from my pontoon on rivers (particularly those where that's illegal :D), only float sections of rivers that I've either been down with a guide or someone who knows the section well, and I'm constantly looking downstream for trouble quite often opting to portage around the challenges.

    Sorry to hear about your experience Juneriver but glad that all are OK.
  11. Thanks all for the good wishes.

    Patrick - the guys in front and rear of the boat were pitched directly into the log jam at the island point. Both were sent underwater and thankfully popped up just in time to get up on the log instead of under. Both were athletic enough and kept their heads together... otherwise would have been bad. I did not exit because the oar that you don't see on surface swung up and pinned my foot at the oarlock that is underwater. (Very) Fortunately, it came free and I was able to get up on top of the boat. After some time in a precarious position I decided to try for a "controlled" swim instead of being swept. I ended up right into the same log. We were all wearing waders w/ belts, which sucked.

    Ed - anytime your in the Seattle/Eastside area and want to swap stories... I'll buy the first round.

    There was quite a yard sale, which is just a consequence and that sorts itself out, but we have reason to believe that a Winston/Hardy Perfect reel might have been recovered from the logs afterwards. It wasn't mine, but I'd give a reward if anyone picked it up and returned it.
  12. Glad everyone was safe, and all that was lost can be replaced or recovered. There's tremendous value in knowing before you go, and a great trip can be quickly ruined by an event like this. With all of the fly shops and guides on the Yakima, which is a very dynamic system (especially in some sections!) it is worth making a call or sending an email to ask about conditions and known hazards - an ounce of prevention.

    While it's not possible to know of every hazard at all times, it's worth knowing what does exist before you go.
    Freestone likes this.
  13. My story pales compared to this one but it's a fact that the power of flowing water never fails to impress.
    Thankful it turned out OK for you guys.
  14. Juneriver, Glad you guys made it, I was on the RED's boat that picked you up off the island. The river was very high/fast that day. If you were on the oar's you were the guy on the RED's boat I was on. As long as you are all right, gear can all be replaced.
  15. I've had a few close calls myself, and am also a boating wuss now. Just bought a new fishing rig over the winter, and my (and my 2 partners') choice was a raft (StreamTech from Derek) primarily for the extra safety factor of not being as sinkable. Still only helps in certain scenarios, so still going to be a wuss on the water.
  16. My worst fear,
    Glad to here you made it out ok.

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