Bad Strainer on the Roaring Fork - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-22-2011   #1
glenwood springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5
Bad Strainer on the Roaring Fork

Floated down from Willits put-in today and about 1.5 mile or so up from Carbondale on river left there is a cottonwood tree down across the river. It is on a left fork with water crashing under it. It could be a very bad strainer. Take river right side to be safe.

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Old 07-28-2011   #2
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 68
Can you see it early enough from the river to take the right channel, or do you have to know the spot in advance? Any landmarks to help avoid it?

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Old 07-28-2011   #3
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Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 22
I noticed this too when I floated it last week. After this years sustained high flows the main channel has shifted to the left under that downed cottonwood. It used to go right, but now goes mostly left... I'm thinking about floating this section tomorrow with a chainsaw to clear up that strainer as it is quite dangerous, and as the water drops more and more the old right channel may become too narrow to pass. It was already pretty narrow last week when it was still running 1900cfs. I barely got by in my 14ft raft.

It is fairly obvious as you are floating down, you should be able to see that the main channel goes left and that cottonwood strainer makes it impassible. You will see that there is a small channel to the right but like I said it is narrow and there are some pointy looking stumps on the left bank that could pop your boat if you were forced to run into them. My suggestion is that as soon as you see the downed cottonwood river-left, pull over river-right and walk your boat along the bank passed this tricky section, just to be safe.

I am planning to float this tomorrow with my gf from Willits around 8am with a chainsaw to clean this up... I do believe it will become impassible once the water drops below 1000. If anyone wants to join, I'm sure I can use an extra hand... Let me know... or if anyone wants to go on a mission this afternoon I'm down... of coarse I will be bringing my fishing pole too
All you got to do is do it.
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Old 07-28-2011   #4
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 330
Jero - I'm in for heading down with you this afternoon to clear this out. I'm in carbondale - Robert 719-293-0019. Off around 3:30 but can make it earlier. We can swap out rowing and drift some flies in between. My raft or yours.
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Old 07-29-2011   #5
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 330
Update on Roaring Fork Strainer - main channel change

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Jeroland and I took a good look a this last night. Read his post above for details about navigating this stretch - we ran it at about 1500 cfs last night and still walked the raft down what used to be the main channel.

This strainer is big, but avoidable, and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. If it gets removed, it will require heavy equipment. It is completly blocking the main flow. With the change to the river bed and channel from high flows, and now that 75% of the roaring fork is now going down what used to be a side channel, the main channel is going to get really bony, really soon. This requires getting out of your boat on private land to make it through. If the private land owner is who i think it is, this is definitely not a good place to have a confrontation about private property and floating issues. I highly recommend having your act together and moving through this section as rapidly and as low profile as possible. I would not attempt to portage the strainer with kayak and run the side channel - unknown obstacles are below and it would not be helpful to the boating community if this issue escalates.

If you're a guide and running clients down in a drift boat, I would consider not doing this stretch when the flows drop much more than this.
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Old 07-31-2011   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 68
I'll second Watermonkey's report. We walked our 16' cat around the right channel just fine, but when it drops it will be major pain.
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