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Tailwater River Safety

Started by Leedawg, January 26, 2011, 17:54:08 pm

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Leedawg

January 26, 2011, 17:54:08 pm Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 20:51:22 pm by Woolly Bugger

Marc's post about a brush with death brought this topic up so here we go. I am an old wore out whitewater rafting guide, fishin guide, and a whitewater kayaker. I hope this is worthwhile and not too boring.

The tailwaiters we fish are dangerous for many reasons. As Kyle said, "Even when they are off". First off, if and when you float, be aware of the current speed and temp. It does not take much speed to flip a boat of any kind. Especially drifters and small pontoons. NEVER float down the river sideways. Forward or backwards and you are fine. I used to toss people out of the whitewater boat in super slow water for fun and to prove a point.  Also know that when your body hits water that cold your muscles lock up and don't want to work. Even strong swimmers are in serious trouble when you hit water that cold.  Be aware of where you anchor. If the current is heavy, you can swamp very easily.

I was in a boat with 3 "guides" on the lower SoHo many years ago in a brand new Clack. Anchored in ripping water on the lower. NICE fish ON. Boat swings upstream and at the same time the guy on the oars and the guy in front go to the upstream side to net the fish. At that second the gunnel dipped low enough to take on water. I countered weight downstream and got ready to cut the anchor rope. NEVER let all the weight shift to the upstream side. We got damn LUCKY that day and it was a minor mishap. BUT we almost got it. Always carry your life jackets and carry a throw rope. Stay center in your boat.

For waders, be aware of what is called "Foot Entrapment" in moving water. Here's how it goes. Your foot slips between two rocks that don't move. Your toes are caught. If you fall at that time you are face down in the water and you are in trouble. The current is trying to take your body downstream, but your foot wont let it. You can't get your weight back upstream to free your foot. Pray you got a friend real close. You can fight it for about a minute before your face goes down in the water. Not good. I saw a lady on the Nolichucky drown in 2 feet of water. Lucky for her, her shoe came off and she floated downstream where we pulled her from the water. When we got her out, no pulse and no breathing. Getting ready to do CPR, BOOM, she comes back. Wasn't her day to stay dead. But she was for about 90 seconds.

Also wear a wading belt and cinch it up. If you do happen to swim, your waders won't fill up near as fast. There are those who have swam and those who will. Never try to cross a tailwater when they are generating. If you get stuck on the wrong side because it came up, stay there.

The TVA will change schedules on you. Be aware of the water and it's changes. It happens FAST! I remember this past summer the seasoned guide that died in Idaho. It can happen to you or I.

Please feel free to add to this and I hope it saves somebody from a mishap. Be safe out there.

Leedawg


flatlander


Rod Champion

And please don't drop anchor in running water from a kayak during generation on the South Holston.  When the anchor catches, down she goes. We got first hand vision of that one this year.

Rod + Matt Champion
Fly Shop/ Guide Service
Located ON the S. Holston River
423-878-2822

browntrouter

great advice, its not called a swim in 40 deg water its called its surviving!!


Woolly Bugger

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here's a trip that didn't go so well

FORKS -- Three fishermen were rescued Saturday from the Sol Duc River after their drift boat snagged on rocks and took on water.

The men walked through the swift-moving river while holding a rope to reach the boat of hunting and fishing guide Ryan Thomas, a Forks resident who rigged the safe passage after anchoring nearby.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20110130/news/301309991/three-rescued-from-raging-sol-duc-river-drift-boat-snagged-on-rocks

ex - "I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!"

me - "There's a season?"

glassfisher

I would recommend staying of the tailwaters alltogether.  The DH streams are much safer.   ;)

Beer, the cause of and solution to all life's problems.

diaz dassie

Quote from: glassfisher on February 03, 2011, 11:42:55 am

The DH streams are much safer.   ;)

:laugh:
The same can be said for blue lines, STAY AWAY FROM THEM :o


nerveracker

Dave "The Nerveracker" 

Work if you must, sleep when you can, ALWAYS FISH!

RIVERHORSE

 Really good advise on this,but I am confused(not a shock) what is meant by a DH stream and the Blue lines  :D


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: RIVERHORSE on September 03, 2011, 22:17:38 pm

Really good advise on this,but I am confused(not a shock) what is meant by a DH stream and the Blue lines  :D

DH = Delayed Harvest

Blue line = refers to the blue lines on a map which are usually unnamed headwater cricks

ex - "I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!"

me - "There's a season?"

wind_knot

May I be permitted to add a little tidbit here?

A wadding staff.

For those of us that are not in the same shape as the days of our </sarcasm> college football careers <sarcasm> it is a truly beneficial tool that can save you from smashing some useful part of your body onto the rocks. I know it's not the easiest thing to haul around sometimes but there are several collapsible models that make this task a bit easier.

A wadding staff can make it to where you do not have to worry about falling over as much and can also make it a lot easier to reposition yourself so you are no longer completely under water. Providing yourself with a way to push your body back right is extremely useful.


Jeffrey7302

Would you not wade the Toccoa near Horseshoe Bend Park?


walt

Blue line = refers to the blue lines on a map which are usually unnamed headwater cricks
[/quote] addendum: usually banjo pickin' going on nearby --- be careful --- and copperheads and rattlesnakes unreal --- bears - big hungry ones


walt

Good post Lee --- years ago Lee taught me to row -- the maiden voyage was on the Catawba and wouldn't you know it less than a 1/4 mile downstrean there was a fallen tree, a sweeper,  across the whole river. If Lee hadn't been in the boat I would have most likely tried something stupid like shooting through an "opening," --- a cooler experienced mind prevailed and we hoisted the boat up a steep riverbank --- went and got the trailer --- re-launched downstream. I think I out drank him that day --- it was close. -- Cheers


Beetle

I remember that tree Walt.    It was a doozy!


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