Colorado Catboaters: How Low Will You Go? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-17-2016   #1
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Colorado Catboaters: How Low Will You Go?

I thought we would have a longer season, it is only mid July and I am boating runs much lower than ever. How low will the following runs go?

Clear Creek: Used to think 400 cfs was pretty much minimum top to bottom. Did Black Rock to Rigo at 380, think it could go to 320.
Looked at it today @ 240 and no way! Did Lower Clear Creek today at 240 and Elbow and Diversion Dam were both surprisingly good.
Screaming Quarter required some dancing, but no boat abuse and only had to Flintstone once. My backyard run so I need to extend the limits.

Eagle: Dowd to Edwards Mile lowest I've done is 500, it is already 360 in mid July. Worth the drive?

Poudre: Have done Stephens to BTO at 2.2', I'm sure it goes lower but a long drive. Middle/Lower Narrows have only done at 2.7', it looks like it could go lower but at some point those drops will become steeper and sharper.

Arkansas: Pine Creek/#s, never done below 500, its already down to 580.
I enjoy picking thru the boulders at low flow, but how low?
Have done the Royal Gorge down to 500 and remember boats getting stuck in Sunshine and a shallow row out.

Colorado: Gore have run between 800 and 1200. My guess is it gets harder as it drops? Anyone know how long Gore will last?
Barrel Springs, have never done this one. Planned to this year but it is already down to 510. I thought it would still be good in
Aug/Sept, still hoping to get over there. Any local beta? And to be clear I'm talking below Lower Death. Any scheduled downtime on the power plant?

Thanks for any info and if anyone else is it to low water catboating, send me a message.

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Old 07-17-2016   #2
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
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I've run the Royal Gorge down into the 200's with 13' rafts, and I'd be willing take my small cat down there that low( though at 500 or so the crux hole is particularly munchie for oar boats)
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Old 07-18-2016   #3
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Boulder, Colorado
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Gore shouldn't drop much lower, s it is a major delivery system for agriculture.

Poudre should also come back up, as I heard they shut off the tunnel to look for a missing body.

Bailey was at a nice padded out 500. I've not seen anyone row this yet, but with a few portages maybe you'd be good to go?

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 07-18-2016   #4
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Dave, I have always been curious about Bailey, just how bad are the portages and how many? My new cat is about as light as possible.
Talked to Ian about it one year for Bailey fest but could not find another cat.

I've wanted to ask you about Boulder Creek, 4 Mile to Town. I've only scouted Elephant Butte section at low water, I can envision a line at high water, but at high water would an oar rig fit under the highway bridge?
I did not get up to Boulder Creek this year, when it hit 550 (the peak) I thought I would wait a week and get it higher (a mistake).

I have not done Gore in three years, it always beat me up.
But it could be the only thing flowing come Aug, good to hear it will stay at this level for a while.
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Old 07-18-2016   #5
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Fort Collins, Colorado
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The Boulder Creek highway bridge does not go at high water with my frame, which is about as low as any frame on the river. I was out there once paddle rafting and we had to pull out because the bridge did not go that day, even without a frame.

A Gore run may be in order and sometimes they give the Moffatt Tunnel an August burst so Alto Alto may go at some point. Run the three miles above Rollinsville for a total of six.

Personally, I am inflating my inner tube to extend the season.
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Old 07-19-2016   #6
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Golden, Colorado
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I'm still looking forward to running some low flow runs together Rich. Been on permanent vacation this summer but heading back soon.

Just curious about how you run your Cat down the creeks because I noticed that my downstream method is different than most. I ran paddle rafts down the New and Gauley in WV a lot when I hailed from the Midwest. That usually meant hard forward and the guide steering the ass end around obstacles (or one side forward and the other back) but rarely back stroking to pull away from obstacles.

I continue to have the same "paddle" mindset even though I'm pushing an 18' gear boat with 11' oars on big canyon runs. I read the water and run the boat almost never pulling on the oars. Some would call this macho if it were intentional by design, I call it ignorance because I revert to the paddle boat mindset. The good news is I've never had issues running the gear pig nose downstream so far.

Back to my original question, do you run your Cat more like a traditionally backstroked raft or like a paddle raft? Surely a combination of both are employed but is your instinct to back away or skid past obstacles and ship oars as you slide on by?
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Old 07-19-2016   #7
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Fraser, Colorado
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Not sure if ya meant question for Rich or in general, but for me it depends a lot on the conditions. I learned to paddle boat on the Ark, so I tend to do a lot of bow down stream and push at least with with higher flows. Low water, I tend to run my small cat traditional oar boat style, with more pulling off of obstacles, it tends to be really easy, since you can let a lot of current just slip under your tubes.
In the end it is a blended strategy.
Who I boat with kinda changes things to I guess. If i'm running with rafts, I have to push down stream more, since they tend to move faster then me. If I'm with other cat boats, I can get away with more up stream ferry usage, and tend to work a little less that way.
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Old 07-19-2016   #8
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When I am in a rapid, I like to slow things down, so I backstroke maybe 80% and push forward 20%. I want to spend as much time in the rapid as possible and have the most time to move back and forth across the river.
An ultra light boat helps with this.

Lower Clear Creek is hang on at 220, might try one more run this afternoon. Are you in town?
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Old 07-19-2016   #9
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Golden, Colorado
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Suffering in VA Beach but will be ready next week.

The mini cats do allow the user to pull, pull, pull then go very easily.

Thanks for the input. Hopefully we can hook up next weej
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Old 07-19-2016   #10
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I'll be here next week but I'm not sure Clear Creek will still be running.
220 today and dropping.
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