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Skinny Water Browns

Big Hole River 1240 cfs

If your looking for the brown trout you might start looking toward the skinny riffles rather than the deep runs. You might also start looking toward the middle river instead of the banks. It’s getting to that flow and this time of the season when the browns  change their habits big time.

Erik asked that I might relate some tales of accidents I may have had in the past.. There have been a few minor ones and one big one.

It was an extremely high water year and word was it was next to impossible to run this canyon on this certain river. My buddy Al King and I had  just recently come back from military duty overseas and fear was not in our vocabulary. First thing we did was go and purchase some quality equipment. The raft was a used yellow Tiawan special, I think we paid fifty bucks for  it. A little patch work and this baby was ready to go. There was no frame as we just used canoe paddles. We launched this trusty craft despite some very serious doubts from some of our friends. The first rapid the whole bottom ripped out so now we were straddling a donut, spinning quite a bit and going through some rapids sideways, backwards, whatever. The river split so we decided to take the smaller channel to avoid some of the big water—big mistake. We went around the corner and their was a log jam with the water ripping through it. The raft flipped instantly and I was hanging on a log with water running over my head. I knew if I let go I would be caught up in  the logs below. It wasn’t long and I was running out of air. The only thought I had  was “well you did it this time” and I let go. The river took me under the logs and shot me up the other side. I saw the raft  down stream and got to it. Just then my buddy sufaced with eyes like saucers. I grabbed for him and we both hung on to what was left of our craft. Our friends who were waiting down river by the bridge knew there was trouble when they saw broken pieces of the paddles float by. The current pushed us into the willows just above the bridge and we hung on  to those branches for dear life until our friends came and drug us out.

That night we were all going to have a huge party and celebrate running this canyon. Our friends were having a party, but for my buddy and I? We just sat there not saying a word, quiet as church mice as we knew we came very close to dying that day.

So when I warn people to stay away from side channels unless they know them, I am not being negative, nor condecending but maybe trying to save a life. At that I will drop it.


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