The river seems to have leveled off some what at about 3250 cfs. Now to some that level would mean it’s pretty much blown out—–not by a long shot. The visibility is about 2 feet and this afternoon the caddis were back and the fish were on them. There was a pretty heavy frost this morning and I was worried it would wipe out most of the caddis but they must have been hunkered down deep in the willows cuz they are back. There are not as many and are spotty but the fish are lookin for em.
With the river at this level the diversion dam at the pump station across from my house is a MANDATORY PORTAGE. Late this afternoon I watched a very near life threatening situation when a raft went on the right side thinking he could make it over. When he got close he stood up in the boat to look it over and decided he could not make it. It was almost too late as he was within 30 feet of going over and the current had him. He put his back into it and was rowing as hard as he could. For a few seconds he wasn’t gaining a bit until he finally started to slide the boat over to the right bank in a little slack water and grab some willows to stop the boat. Had he not been a strong rower it would have got him. He let his client out of the boat and with lots of effort dragged it up stream along that steep bank until he could row across to the left side. His buddy was coming down and I kept waving at him to pull over to the left side just like the signs say to do when approaching this dam.
We had done the shuttles for these guys and I knew they were coming through this stretch. Both of them are Madison River guides and expert on the oars but it doesn’t matter how good you are when you get caught in the hydraulics below this dam. It rolls you and the boat like a little toy and keeps you in there. What makes it even more dangerous is that a year ago they put huge rocks just below the dam to try to stabalize it as it was coming apart.
This dam is located between Silver Bridge and Divide access. There is a huge sign on the Silver Bridge warning of this dam.
Several people have lost their lives at this spot and most of them have been passengers in the boat when the idiot on the oars decided he was macho man and could make it. The last ones were two gals in the boat with super stud on the oars. He survived and they did not. One was found a couple miles down stream and the youngest, a 21 year old girl from Helena was not found until 2 months later and 25 miles down stream.