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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2016, 13:24 
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009, 08:37
Posts: 1554
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Being from MN, the Land O' Lakes, almost all of my water time is on lakes. As a kid my parents owned a resort for a while and my brothers and I were practically amphibious we spent so much time on and in the water. Now I live within a mile of the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers but never spend any time on either. I realize that I've never learned to navigate a river. The fact that the water in a river is moving makes it different that being on a lake. Plus changing water levels and speeds, snags and bars all seem like they would make river boating different than lake boating. I know there are many here that spend their time on rivers and would appreciate any insight or advice on how to learn to read and navigate a river.

I should point out that drowning is hands-down my bottom of the barrel way to go and my inexperience makes me a little unsure of myself.


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2016, 17:51 
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Joined: 27 Nov 2010, 09:36
Posts: 4451
Location: Houston, TX & Crossville, TN
I, also, have limited experience fishing rivers. However, just today, I came across this article on Yakfish about fishing rivers for bass. Seems like it would apply to any one interested in "reading a river". richg99

http://www.scout.com/outdoors/kayak-fis ... ent-breaks



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2016, 21:25 
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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
thx


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2016, 22:02 
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Joined: 21 Apr 2012, 17:11
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Location: rural SW Wisconsin
BobberB...

just a thought--might be worth your while to actually hire a guide on the big river, and maybe even on some of the more active smaller ones.

Self-taught river running could be perilous.

Be vewy vewy caweful.



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2016, 08:05 

Joined: 21 Jul 2011, 10:31
Posts: 1076
Location: palmerton pa.
I fish the Delaware River between PA and NJ.
All I can suggest is to go slowly at first to learn where you need to be, even then you will probably bang up a prop or two. I've seen areas where you think you need to avoid and you need to head at them, and areas you think you should head into that aren't the best choice. Then there's some areas you just aren't going to be able to get through with a prop, and that becomes the limit of how far you can navigate/fish that particular area.
Sometimes when we're going up through riffles, we are barely moving and one of us is on the bow trying to watch for rocks.
I just picked up a jet so I can access much more of the river that I have never been able to, they are almost a must if you want to run shallow rivers.
Hope someone who fishes the Susquehanna River here in PA will chime in, that river is way worse than the Delaware and a lot of their hulls look like someone beat on the bottom of them with a ball peen sledge hammer! Like they say, it's not if you hit, it's when you hit!
Even with the jet, I will still go slow until I learn the unfamiliar parts of the river, lots of shallow areas rocks and ledges to try to avoid, and sure don't want to hit them at full throttle. Maybe with a high end inboard jet with a reinforced hull you wouldn't need to be quite as cautious, but normal aluminum hull fishing boats won't take the hits like they will.
Yup, be careful, very very careful, until you learn to navigate the areas you want to fish, easy to bust up a prop or lower unit, put a gash/hole in the boat, or bust up a foot on an outboard jet. Once you learn where you need to be you can probably run full throttle through those areas after that without worry.


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2016, 08:34 
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Joined: 27 Nov 2010, 09:36
Posts: 4451
Location: Houston, TX & Crossville, TN
The TVA rivers around here can vary in depth by 5 or more feet, all in an hour or two. It all depends on when the dam generators are running, and how many are running.

If your two rivers are dammed for electrical power upstream, and if you can get a dam generator schedule (TVA has a web site), then driving alongside the river at low water may produce some valuable knowledge. If they are not dammed, then viewing as much of the river as you can at low water times would still be fruitful. A kayak might be a useful tool, too.

I know that I read about trees and other junk floating down Texas rivers, after a big rain, as being even more problematic than any fixed obstacles.

The backwater areas of the Mississippi are some good fishing sites.

richg99

p.s. any bass/walleye/fishing clubs around that you can join, as a non-boater, to help learn the rivers?



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2016, 09:18 

Joined: 19 Jan 2012, 07:44
Posts: 2926
Location: Northeast Arkansas
OK, I'm no expert, so take everything here with a grain of salt as this is based on my experiences with rivers. Most of the rivers around here are small and shallow for the most part, but they fluctuate a good bit with heavy rains. If you are going to be running in shallow rivers, you need to be able to identify where the channel is, and that is not so easy at times. In curves of the river, the channel will always be toward the outside of the curve. Sandbars will develop in areas where the channel is over to one side, like the inside of a curve. Current is faster to the outside but slower to the inside, so a sandbar will develop a lot of the time. If the water is smooth, look for disturbances on the surface. If you see even a slight hint of swirl/disturbance in the water, it's a good indication there might be an obstruction (log/rock) hidden just below. If you see a small twig sticking up out of the water, keep in mind that those twigs grow on trees and if that one is sticking out of the water, it may still be attached to a good size chunk of that tree it grew from and has now fallen into the river. Watch the bank of the river as you travel. If the bank is steep on one side and shallow sloping on the other, the deeper water (channel) is generally going to be closer to the steep bank side than the middle or the other side. Try to make a few trips at slower speeds until you get familiar with the river before you start running it at full speed. And remember that rivers unlike lakes, are constantly changing. What was yesterday, may not be today. If there has been any heavy rains since the last time you were down it, there's a better than average chance that there are some new obstructions out there waiting. That's been my experience with rivers, your mileage may vary. BTW, my experiences have been limited to mud/sand bottom rivers where the channel can and does move, not the rock bottom rivers that some have.



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 11 Jul 2016, 00:42 

Joined: 23 Oct 2015, 16:29
Posts: 32
Location: Twin cities, Minnesota
The area there is the first place I had my boat in a river. Always around water having grown up with a cabin on a lake but never been on a river til about 10 years ago.
There's no channel markers in that area so you pretty much stay near the center and avoid eddies and floating garbage. They maintain a navigable channel jjst past valleyfair, there is a sign there that warns boaters that beyond that sign the river is "not maintained" or something.
Good luck out there, I wish I could offer some in person assistance, but with 2 kids in diapers right now, free time is in short supply


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 11 Jul 2016, 08:28 
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Joined: 02 Jul 2009, 07:39
Posts: 1170
Location: Twin Cities, MN.
bobberboy,
I thought about the big river, but I wouldn't do it alone.
I have experience on the TN river with my Dad. Having a knowledgeable fishing buddy goes a long way.

Just a few weeks ago I fished the canon river (near Canon Falls) from the bank.
I noticed water was fast moving and I didn't see any boats.
Anyway, I caught a few Walleyes. I would definitely give it another try from the shore.
Good luck.

jasper



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 11 Jul 2016, 08:44 
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Joined: 20 Jun 2012, 11:40
Posts: 1933
Location: Falling Waters, WV
All good thoughts and advice so far. Something I did when I started running the Upper Potomac here in Maryland with my jet was to create a spreadsheet on Google Drive. I use it to log waterfowl hunting days so we can sort of predict where the ducks/geese might be given time of year, temperature, weather, etc. I also created a river level section. Each time I'd take my boat out I would note the river level in the area I was running along with detailed notes about where I can and can't go, where the shoots are through the nasties, etc. Makes it really nice to reference when I'm deciding where to go. And once I get there I know if I have to take it easy, need to watch out for a certain area, etc. Takes the guess work out of it.

I've also learned the hard way a few times. Have put 2 holes in the hull and destroyed a jet foot in the last 4 years.

Image

Image



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 11 Jul 2016, 10:08 
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009, 08:37
Posts: 1554
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies.

It's interesting to read between the lines in the above the amount of healthy respect people have for the possible danger of being on the water. There's no doubt people love to be on/in the water. There's also no doubt that being there can get you in trouble. For me there are just situations I can't see myself being on water - in a kayak BTB, on rapids beyond class III in any kind of boat, lots of situations I'd never put myself in. Call me chicken but I'm very conservative when on the water. As I said above, drowning is the bottom of the list of possibles for me. When I was a kid on my family's resort we didn't even have life jackets in the boat. At that time it I knew I'd live forever. I'm not so sure anymore. :mrgreen: To me it's one thing to bottom out on a gravel bar in a few inches of water but quite another to be on a large river with an uncertain bottom and current. I'm about 10 blocks upstream from Lock and Dam #1 on the Mississippi and no more than a mile from a public access. Seems a shame not to take advantage but obviously I need to come to grips with my attitude. Anyway, thanks again to all.


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 11 Jul 2016, 10:44 

Joined: 21 Jul 2011, 10:31
Posts: 1076
Location: palmerton pa.
Last thing I think about is drowning, if that is of concern just wear a life vest at all times, the inflatable ones are pretty comfy.
Having said that, I have a pretty darn stable boat with the 1654 FB GRIZZLY. I wouldn't want to be on the river in anything less than a 1448, bigger is better IMO!
Just like you, there is a section of the river named foul rift that is a long section of nasty rapids, some guys run through it with jets, NO ME! I will either launch below it and fish up to it, or launch above it and fish down to it.
Only problem with going downriver is if a problem occurs with the motor, then how the heck do you get back upriver #-o ! I prefer to go upriver from a launch just for that reason, at least I should be able to float back down to the launch and maneuver the boat somewhat using the oar/oars.
I have had my 17' StarCraft on the river, but only at 2 spots that I know very well, and the area I fish is very limited and learned while fishing in smaller prop boats.
Don't be scared, just be careful! :)


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 13 Jul 2016, 11:10 
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Location: Henniker, NH
I think a lot of it has been said so I'll keep my input simple... a good rule of thumb for shallow, swift moving rivers is the outside corners are generally deeper than the inside corners. Notice I said generally, not always the case, but sand, silt and debris tends to build up more on inside corners than the swifter current found on outside corners. There is often a much deeper channel on outside corners. Also there is a much greater risk of encountering debris on a river like logs so proceed with caution.



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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 13 Jul 2016, 11:48 

Joined: 23 Oct 2015, 16:29
Posts: 32
Location: Twin cities, Minnesota
All great advice. Just keep in mind that the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers up here by us are tame by river standards


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 Post subject: Reading a river
PostPosted: 15 Jul 2016, 09:33 

Joined: 19 Jan 2012, 07:44
Posts: 2926
Location: Northeast Arkansas
dootech wrote:
All great advice. Just keep in mind that the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers up here by us are tame by river standards

Yea, the Mississippi river below the bridge at Memphis is anything but tame. The barges put out what appears to be a 2-3 ft swell if they're loaded heavy and plowing up stream, and if the winds blowing right, those become breaking waves. And I've seen whirlpools that look like they could suck my boat under in a few seconds. It's some rough water for a small boat for sure. I've crossed it a few times in small boats but was worried every second of every crossing.



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