This is the first post I have  done in awhile but I feel it is very important.

Yesterday again I heard screams from the river across from the house just below the diversion. Four rafts (14ft Maravia rafts were going over the diversion and out of the four, three capsized. These are high quality white water rafts. I again went into my rescue mode. Two rafts were swept into the willows. One upright and the other capsized. I raced to the other side of the river and determined all had made it out of the water. One boat  was floating down the river upside down.  Of the one in the willows, all was lost. Oars, rods, dry bags etc. After talking  to the survivors it was evident none was experienced at rowing. I ran home and got my oars and floated the boat to the landing. The  other two went past the landing. A friend of mine was just behind in his boat and I told him to look for those two on his way to Maidenrock.

When the river was very high that wave below the diversion was just a big wave. Now at 5000cfs that second wave has a curl like a rooster tail. When I talked to the floaters, they said that wave stood the boat up and then it sled back and flipped.

For the experienced oarsman this diversion  is no problem. For the inexperienced I hthat ave one thing to say. Stay out  of that stretch of river—Silver Bridge to Divide.

This makes six boats that have capsized there this year. All due to novice people on the  oars.

For the latest  conditions and techniques to float that stretch, stop at the fly shop and talk to Craig, Lia or myself.


  1. I am one of the ones who was involved in the rafting incident. First of all I would like to offer a very special thanks to Al Lafore and some others that helped our parties out of the River. Secondly, I also, strongly advise other boaters to avoid floating over the Big Hole Diversion Dam at the present time, as it is very dangerous right now. The backroller (curler) wave below the dam is not visible, and has a very strong under tow that is impossible to navigate, even with good 14′ self bailers. Contrary to the report, the operators of the boats did have experience. A sign upstream of the dam directs boaters to the middle of the dam where this downstream wave is located.

    • Al and I have rowed the wave many times at this level. Many of the guides go over the dam daily. It is dangerous for those who don’t know how to handle it. You must take the wave left to right and you will miss the hole completely. I will make a video of it today so everyone can see how its done. I hope you find some of your stuff Jim, I will be looking for it while guiding today. I am glad that you are all ok and home safe. -Craig Jones OL#17520

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