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Discussion Starter #1
Question for those experienced at drifting Dodge Park down river....I hiked down to the "pipeline" (that being the second one downstream from the first, which as at the main road)to scout it for drifting this winter. Is the main obstacle the two larger rocks in the main stem, just before it goes into the quiet water? This does look a bit tricky but I think I could manuever it or even walk my 9' pontoon boat to the left bank. How far down is the Blue Hole from there and is that as tricky? Any help would be great...thanks much.
 

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Have a licensed guide take you from Dodge to Oxbow. It is well worth the money and an excellant way to learn where to fish. I don't care how well you read water, a guide will know more holding water. There is more than one place in this drift that require a decision as which way to go, left or right. If you haven't been through the drift it is difficult to judge several of these places, particularly one with a waterfall.
 

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Have a licensed guide take you from Dodge to Oxbow. It is well worth the money and an excellant way to learn where to fish. I don't care how well you read water, a guide will know more holding water. There is more than one place in this drift that require a decision as which way to go, left or right. If you haven't been through the drift it is difficult to judge several of these places, particularly one with a waterfall.
 

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I have done it in my brothers raft. We crossed the river at Dodge and then walked it down through the pipeline rapid. I never figured out which hole was the blue hole, none of the other rapids were too bad to notice in a 14' self bailing raft. However, we did take water over the bow numerous times :smile:

My brother has went several times with other friends and no longer goes around the pipeline, he just goes through the center line of the rapid.

I know of people who take pontoons from Dodge to Oxbow they tell me that they just skirt the bad stuff. I think that for a person to take a pontoon through this stretch they should be very good on the oars and have a higher end model made for Class III and above water. Also you should go with a partner of equal skill and an equal craft.
I would not attempt this section without having very good rowing skills!

I have also seen driftboats do this section of the river, after having went with a raft I would have to guess that the rowers were very good and that the boat has lots of dings. We dragged bottom in the raft a couple of times (the raft draws less water than my driftboat).

Good luck if you give it a try. That section of the Sandy is just beatiful!
 

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I would do as Nail Knot recommended...Jack Glass does trips down during the winter from Dodge Park, sadly I had to CXL one last year, but he knows that river and that section better than any other guide and besides, best guide I have ever fished with. Contact him at the tackkle shop 503-665-2257

But I would not recommend that on your own unless your an awesome guy on the sticks & can read water extremely well, or just a fool at heart..
 

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And how many times has Jack G dumped his clients in the Sandy between Dodge & Oxbow ?
The man who has run it more times than I and it ain't Jack G has sunk 3 times. I guess I am just lucky. Probably more than 1 out of 20 Drift Boats don't make it.Some even flip pontoon boats.Rogue river guides I have run through this section say they wouldn't even think about doing it twice.
But then there was this cat who followed Buzzz R up to Dodge and followed him down.It was his first time ever rowing a boat and he made it. SO.......STAND ON THE GAS-HELL AIN'T HALF FULL :smile:
 

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>>>enter mad mikey.....................<<<

Gee thanks... :wink:

Here's my dirt on it. Yes, I run that a lot in the Winter AND I do it in the pontoon boat.
I have NEVER taken the toon' through the Pipe, oh wait, yes I did, ONCE, without gear. I think I COULD on a regular basis without a mishap but I don't want to take the chance on a chilly swim, lose some gear and then drag all my stuff back up the trail to my truck. Good way to ruin a days' fishing, not worth it.
Launch at the park and you will be in for a fun boulder dodging experience right off the bat.
After we pass the tip of the island there is a nice spot to park on the left and jump out and carry the little boats down around the Pipe.
The handful of guys who do take driftboats through there only do it at certain levels. If I were to do it in a driftboat/ large raft or cat, I would want the water at least 2200 cfs, don't go by ft. levels USE the CFS chart!!! It's doable at lower flows but VERY bumpy. I prefer it to be around 3000 cfs myself for ease of running the boat and the fishing. Above 4000 cfs there is not a lot of good water to fish, just too darn fast but there are a few good HW spots, you'll have to figure them out. Those took me a few years to dial in.
The place where boats bite it is the reversal dead center at the bottom of the rapid, that is if they get the right line and don't get hung up above.
I don't see Jack up there too often but I know he and his kid run it sometimes. The person that is on that float almost every day during the regular and native runs bar none is Brian Silvey who works out of the Welches flyshop.
The guy is an absolute ace on the sticks, I've watched him go through the Pipe and he does a little move that is so quick and subtle yet it causes him to shoot the boat just left of the reversal on the Pipe into the quiet stuff.
That can be tricky water for any skill level. Many folk, including guides, who run it a lot have dumped a boat or raft at one time or another. One local fella' sunk his DB three times in the Pipe.
He still uses it too, doesn't even look like a DB anymore.
I prefer the pontoon boat myself because if I DO bite it I only have myself to worry about.
IMO the pontoon is tailor made for that float, keeping warm is the tougher part. There are many boulder gardens that can trick you into the wrong route too.
Oh, The "Blue Hole" will be about 2 miles down from the Pipe. You will have just gone down over 1/4 mile boulder garden with a considerable drop with good waves into a HUGE pool with a clay cliff on the left and a very wide tail out which leads into another good set of rollers.
I would hesitate to recommend running that in any craft if you are not pretty good on the sticks, there are many spots besides the obvious that could get you in trouble.
I would go with the aforementioned advice and do it with a licensed guide who does it ALOT.
 

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Fun at night time too.... :shocked: :rolleyes:


 

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The pipe is just the beginning of the adventure. But as mentioned before, water flow is the key to the first rapid. I float that reach once or twice a week during steelhead season. I do it in a 14 ft 24' tube pontoon that keeps me sitting high off the water. As mentioned before water level is the key. 1000 cfs is the minimum for me and even then I might skip it.

The main problem is the giant bolder that sits in the middle of the slot that is hidden when the water level is up. I have hit this stupid rock many times and spun myself around. The key is dont panic and keep rowing. The guys fishing at the pipe have seen me go backwards through there more than once. I think this is the one most responsible for the drift boats sinking. I usually try to miss this rock to the left which presents the the next problem, another large rock at the bottom that is fast approaching and straight ahead of you with waves trying to push you straight into it. The only cure for this is brute strength and you only have one or two pushes on the oars to bust through and drop into the calm water. In my opinion the puny little oars the come with those small pontoon boats are a kin to hunting bear with a .22 rifle. Sounds like fun huh?! Oh yea, this all happens in a matter of 3 to 5 seconds once the fun begins after picking your way through all the bolders up above.

Another thing to consider, a small pontoon boat on that reach will get you drenched so be prepared. The waves at the pipe and elevator shaft are going to go completely over you, something to consider with 45 degree water and 35-45 degree air temps. Should I say it, yes were a good life jacket. Ive seen some of the gene pool not wereing any on this float. They will soon be removed, me thinks.

I probably will not be on this float as much this year, simply because it has become very crowded. I have a new reach to explore with some new whitewater thrills and good numbers of fish.

-----------------
I fish with bannanas, because I can and I am.
 

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Yup,

You will get wet in a toon'. At high flows I've taken waves in the chest and sometimes in the head, spitting out water and lovin' it.
That float gets miserable when it's 20F, I bring along a portable heater to warm the hands.
As I approach middle age the cold drives me nuts.
I used to hike in to the Blue Hole and fish that and the stuff below with a backpack full of firewood.
Heck of a hike but you get warmed up on the way out as your fish turn to icy bricks......
 

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Did this float 2 times about 30 years ago once with an old 6 man yellow raft, and once with a 14 ft cheap gray raft, I almost fliped old gray in the bolder patch above the blue hole, that was the only problem I had, that is when I told my self it aint worth the risk. BUT I will tell you one thing the river has changed a lot since I ran it then. These other guys have given you good advice. I have been driveing and hikeing into the drift above the blue hole for about 40 years now. Yes there was a time that you could drive almost to the Blue Hole and to the Pipeline Hole.
Gee that must make me older than dirt. Go with a guide first then you will know if you are up to tackeling it yourself. Good luck and tight lines.
DAB

[ 11-08-2003, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: DAB ]
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks very much to all that replied. Just a quick follow-up question that I don't think was addressed...is it possible to simply walk my pontoon boat down through the bad stuff? I'm afraid, very afraid of the drift with the equipment that I have based on the discussion. Thanks again!
 
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