Are You Actually Lifting or Just Grunting?

June 14, 2016

Last Thursday James, Marty, and myself found ourselves itching for a fun adventure with opportunity for feisty cut throat trout on the Naches River. Since it was our first time out there since it opened earlier this month we decided to head up higher on the system than the guides at Red's normally go. 

It was a Huckleberry Finn style adventure and we honestly didn't know what to expect. James and Marty had floated this section before, but not since last year.   It didn't take long for the party to start.  We hit a significant log jam shortly after we got moving!

Tips for Floating a River with Potential Log Jams

  • Bring your biggest friends haha.
  • Pack light and keep it simple. 
  • If the river is narrower than the height of the surrounding trees you need to be very careful. One single tree can block the entire stream.
  • Always have an escape route when approaching any downed trees even if it looks open
  • Inside corners are the safest, stay to the inside.
  • Its easier to row a boat from the inside bend to the outside than vice versa, inside corners are typically shallow and safe.
  • No flip flops, wear boots or heavy duty sandals. The Simms Intruder Boot is the best option for wet wading and good support.  

After some assessment we disassembled the raft and emptied the gear followed by the longest boat portage I have experienced thus far. Lots of work but what an accomplishment and an exciting adventure!

Tips for Portaging Rafts

  • Take a minute to make a plan, rather than making a plan a minute.  
  • Disassemble the raft, more light trips is almost always faster.
  • Drain the water out of the cooler.
  • Pack light to begin with.  Less is more.
  • Take the anchor completely off the boat or frame
  • Carry the oars separately.
  • One, Two, Three.... may sound silly but communicating well and making a plan on when moving the boat over a log will save you time.  Get a bunch of dudes yanking on the boat with different plans and its a waste of energy. 

After cussing our way through the log jam, and laughing afterwards, we immediately we started bringing in a few fish. James brought in a few with streamers (a home tied sculpin pattern) and I decided to be stubborn and stick to my dry flies since I love to watch my fish feed. Plus the water is super fast right now down there and a dry fly is the most agile of all strategies. You can move it around the river much faster than nymphs or even a streamer.   

We saw evidence of Golden Stoneflies, a few Yellow Sallies in flight, and a small mix of mayflies. 

This is one of the Yellow Sally Dry Flies we sell at Red's 

After a mile or so of detailed casting, into very technical water, we pulled off in a great nymph spot and switched to nymph rigs.  All 3 of us got into fish while wading. Marty and I decided to stick to our nymph set up after seeing some great success on a Gold Lightning Bug and stone fly nymph patterns. 

We fished until dark and pulled the raft out in exhaustion after an amazing and fun day of adventure.  This was a day to remember for sure.  All in all we looked back and had a feeling of accomplishment. It feels good to be able to put a boat in the water on a river you have never floated, deal with hazard areas, and catch some fish to boot.  While the fishing wasn't red hot, we found a great amount of adventure.  

This river is so much fun to float and there are some GREAT fish. If you have never fished this river before I encourage you to book one of our guided trips down this river, we run about a guide per day.  We won't hit any log jams haha!  The guides know where to go.