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Old 02-03-2014   #1
Pasco, Washington
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
May/June John Day trip

New to the overnight rafting game and am looking to develop a John Day River trip in the spring. Own my own raft (13.5 with sticks), have passanger, and think I have all the equipment I need. Is anyone interested in early spring/summer trip?

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Old 02-04-2014   #2
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
I'm a couple days away from finding out if we got a MF permit. If not, an Eastern Oregon river will probably be in my group's future for May. The John Day is on our radar, maybe the Grand Ronde. There wasn't much of a season last year, we'll see how this progresses. I really don't have much of a clue how low it can be run, but I don't think it would be fun below 2000. Desert rivers like that get a hell of an upstream draft, and if you don't have a 5000+ CFS pushing you down, the wind will push you up. The last time my group ran Clarno to Cottonwood it was 10,000. I missed the trip, but I heard the rapids were easy and miles passed easy.
If it's your first overnighter, that would probably be a good start in Oregon. I haven't gotten a chance at the Grande Ronde. I think it's a bit more challenging, but I think I'd like the camping there better. I don't think there is anything on either trip to really catch a reasonably capable boater off guard. Our group has been shrinking, and I'd like to add some peeps. I'll probably post my river plans on here soon...

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Old 02-04-2014   #3
Custom Whitewater Equipme
Central Point, Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 88
It is a great scenic float trip with good camping. We ran it at 1000 in 5 days and was pleasantly surprised how the mileage went by. Our trip was in March or April and we had the river to our self. Once the water temp comes up the bass fishing gets going and brings a lot of fishing trips out. There was a permit system put in place a couple of years ago but it was back to free for all last year so you may want the call the BLM and get the latest. They also have good maps and river info. The other hazard to be aware of are the rattle snakes. I heard stories of people seeing them in every camp. Be careful is your taking a dog. The vets now have a vaccine that helps protect dogs from the rattle snake venom.
May the water be under your boat and the wind at your back.
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Old 02-04-2014   #4
flite's Avatar
steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 42
Hey there I'll be in the columbia river valley for the month of april. I'm taking a guide course and doing some swiftwater rescue training with wet planet. its weekend classes so I'll have free time during the week and I'll be checking out rivers in the area. I have an Astro van and a 9'5" saturn with frame and what not. If your going in april some time hit me up-CHRiS
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Old 02-04-2014   #5
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,659
We are planning a trip in mid June (after our schools get out). I've done Clarno to Cottonwood at about 2K and it was fine, no problem making miles. Bass fishing is a major part of our trip and we'll have at least 4 kids (4 to 7 yrs) and three adults. I have a few other folks thinking about it but history tells me they'll not make it...

It's a dandy trip. The last trip was Memorial weekend 2006, fishing was awesome and no snakes. Ticks were horrible though. Another buddy went in early July the same year, ended up with choclolate milk for water for some reason and ran into alot of snakes.

Check in when things get closer!

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Old 02-04-2014   #6
codycleve's Avatar
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
Looks like you are in Pasco... a great early season float is the north fork of the john day.. from dale to monument... I think its 44 miles and can be done in a weekend easily in the spring. Great views and camping.. April may are great... there is a road the whole way but not well traveled... and after mid way I think its gated and you won't see anyone..
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Old 02-04-2014   #7
B'ingham, Washington
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 54
Hey another fellow from tri cities! We always wanted to hit the north fork john day but never made it happen. The grand ronde has amazing camping and a bit of fun water though
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Old 02-04-2014   #8
Pasco, Washington
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 19
Lots of cool replies. I have fished the Grande Ronde a couple of times and it was also on my list to do this year. After investing in all the equipment, to broke to take all-inclusive vacations!!

Was looking more towards May but might run it earlier. I would love to have fishing be part of the trip. It appears that an online permit is required. Got to fine tune a few things with the raft but will be watching to see who I might be able to "team" with for shuttles and such.
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Old 02-04-2014   #9
TV, Idaho
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 166
Originally Posted by Learch View Post
maybe the Grand Ronde. There wasn't much of a season last year, we'll see how this progresses. I really don't have much of a clue how low it can be run, but I don't think it would be fun below 2000.
I've run the Ronde at around 1400. That was fine. Granted that we took 5 days to fish our way down. You could float it even lower, I think our estimated minimum would be more like 1000.
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Old 02-06-2014   #10
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Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 247
I ran the Grand Ronde at nearly 20K in April, so I have no idea what the river is normally like, but the camping on that river is really some of the best I've ever seen. Huge flat sites with endless side hike potential. Wildlife, fishing, it all. I bet there are a lot of snakes during warmer weather though.

**EDIT** to include that the Grande Ronde appears to get a fair amount of melt during May as its overall trend is close to 6K cfs in May. As mentioned above, I don't know the river that well, but I would bet that much of the whitewater is washed out at these flows since folks often run it as a class III in july at 1200 cfs.

but can you see its opposition | comes a-rising up sometimes | that it's dreadful and position | comes blacking in my mind | ....and then I see a darkness
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