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Old 01-14-2016   #11
fat guy in a little boat
bigben's Avatar
FtC / Rancho del Rio, Colorado
Paddling Since: 8AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 378
you'll be fine in a 16footer...
last fall going down from sand island at 600-700cfs, we had 2 16ers and 1 12er, all super loaded down.
both 16ers had no issues. but somehow i got wicked stuck in the 12er!
just be careful picking channels, and hug the banks if you need to. someone above already mentioned that sandbars like to form in the middle of the river down there.
that dirty ass water sure can be deceiving...
when's your trip, by the way??


All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine.
- Spicoli
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Old 01-15-2016   #12
bgarnick's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 21
Government at 325 cfs

We ran it last year and launched on April 21st with the river running about 600 cfs and dropping. Spring runoff hadn't started and by the time we got to Government it was running 325 cfs according to the guage (the dam is supposed to keep the flow at 500 cfs as a minimum). All four of our 14' rafts got stuck as well as the three rafts from two other parties. A little rope work got everyone off and through. The river then came up to above 500 cfs and we had no problems following the channels. Hopefully we'll have higher levels for Government this year.. launch is on April 13th.

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Old 04-08-2016   #13
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 86
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Just finished a low water trip with 4 boats - a 16' raft, two 14' rafts, and my 16' cat. The 16' raft was by FAR the best boat for the conditions, which sort of defied conventional logic and forever altered my thinking.

Because of the heavy sedimentation (everywhere - not just at the bottom stretch), there are many rocks and sandbars that sit just a tiny bit below the surface of the water. Assuming you're carrying a load (which you of course will be), the bigger boat just rides higher and sits more on top of the water instead of scraping. Other than in Government Rapid, my cat, which can usually get into places where rafts can't, was clearly the worst. Loaded, I had 9" - 11" of the 24" tubes submerged, and I had to pull and push more than anybody.

BTW, is bgarnick Brady, by any chance?
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Old 04-08-2016   #14
Tyrrache's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by Hanspeter View Post
No problem with 16' at 900 cfs. Having two people minimum per raft is a good idea to more easily push off of the occasional sand bar. I took an old Avon Pro BB last May. Have fun! Hanspeter
We ran a couple weeks ago around the same CFS. If you can make the move in Government in a 16' then you should be fine. The Ripple* before John's camp gave us the most issue. I agree with the concept that a bigger boat will float higher through the silt flats. Have fun!

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