Lower Blue/Jurassic - Max Limit for Floating? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 06-07-2017   #1
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
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Lower Blue/Jurassic - Max Limit for Floating?

Been searching for the answer in historical threads and there seems to always be a lot of confusion in responses referencing the Upper Blue (Below Dillon) or Lower Blue (Green Mtn to Gore).

Lower Blue (Green Mountain Discharge) will maintain 1400cfs until Monday (6/12/17) per their facebook page.

With respect to bridge clearances, I've seen "everything is bad after 1800cfs" "fishing frames and high-rise DRE frames are bad at 1300 and 1500", and then I've also seen fishing frames are good at 1300, 1400 and maybe 1500... and then spiraling confusion as to if this was in reference to upper or lower blue and finally the definition of each section.

So, curious to hear thoughts and opinions based on your experiences... Can you safely run the lower blue (aka - Jurassic section, below GMR) to Gore put-in without dismantling your casting braces and pulling seats off? or would you likely hook up on bridges where bad things may happen?

Secondary question - are the dams any greater concern at higher flows? we've done it at 550-600 without issue, and I expect the dams to be less of an issue at high flow, but wanted to hear from others.

thanks,
-scott

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Old 06-07-2017   #2
 
dafewillis's Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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A buddy and I did it at 1500 in his rig a couple summers back and we were fine. But he had a low oarsman seat, and did not have a very tall casting brace in the front, with no casting brace in the back. I remember looking at the two lowest bridges and thinking that my DRE rig with the San Juan frame probably wouldn't fit at 1500.

I think from probably 1300 to 1500 it just comes down to the height of your rig. I can't imagine how anyone could do it at 1800.
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Old 06-07-2017   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
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How many miles is the Lower Blue from Green Mountain to Trough Road / Gore put-in? Any thoughts on best fishing flows? And are there flows that would allow a raft with fishing frame / thigh bars / rear swivel seat to comfortably pass under the bridges? Or is that a non-starter?
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Old 06-07-2017   #4
 
Blue River, Colorado
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When in doubt, eddy out.
My roommate pinned his 14' Otter (NRS fishing frame) on the last bridge before the takeout. This was 5 years or so ago. Flow was somewhere over 2000 cfs. Of course, no one else was there that day. I told him to eddy out. He didn't.
It was clear we wouldn't make it so I tightened my PFD and bailed. The boat pinned on the the vertical post - the oar rights. After a minute or so, the oar rights tore from the frame at the 90* joint. The raft came out the downstream side and we got it to shore with all humans intact and most of the gear.
There was quite a de-brief after that one. Needless to say, there is definitely an upper limit to when it's a good idea. Sorry I can't remember the exact flow.
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Old 06-07-2017   #5
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosecannon View Post
When in doubt, eddy out.
My roommate pinned his 14' Otter (NRS fishing frame) on the last bridge before the takeout. This was 5 years or so ago. Flow was somewhere over 2000 cfs. Of course, no one else was there that day. I told him to eddy out. He didn't.
It was clear we wouldn't make it so I tightened my PFD and bailed. The boat pinned on the the vertical post - the oar rights. After a minute or so, the oar rights tore from the frame at the 90* joint. The raft came out the downstream side and we got it to shore with all humans intact and most of the gear.
There was quite a de-brief after that one. Needless to say, there is definitely an upper limit to when it's a good idea. Sorry I can't remember the exact flow.
Ballsy move.

I'm also curious to know what the dams look like at high flows. I've only done it around 500cfs and they were fine. If folks are doing it, it doesn't seem to risky.
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Old 06-07-2017   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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IMHO- I wouldn't do it with lean bars at these flows. Secondly, I think the fishing drops off anything over 1,200; little chance landing the big boys and most of them will be holding up in the brush.
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Old 06-07-2017   #7
 
Denver, Colorado
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^ This^

If you can do the dams you can do the dams. The flow has never mattered much in my opinion in regards to the difficulty of the weirs. I've floated it from about 400-1800 over the years and usually don't waste my time past 1200 for fishing.
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Old 06-07-2017   #8
 
Boulder, Colorado
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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thank you.

You all bring up great points, perhaps we'll wait it out a little longer. Wanted to try and catch Salmon Flies moving up the canyon from Gore, but... it's better to live another day.

I'm slightly surprised the fishing would shutdown once over 1200cfs. In my experience, yes...most/some will push down behind structure and chill out - we all know these piggies have the fat to do this for awhile, but a well placed nymph will definitely get them to move - so you just need to huck more weight and use longer leaders. however, I figured there might be a good opportunity to throw meathooks into the brush and see what you can produce and then I was really hoping to use the big bugs on the surface. The one opportunity in the year where I can pretend we're in Montana without driving to Montana. Big dries on heavy tippets is exactly what I was hoping for, especially in the middle of runoff season on most other rivers...

thanks again to all for the input; I appreciate the help.

as a note for future reference, the cutthroat anglers website had this to say: "The current 1400 CFS in the Blue below Green Mountain is too high for high profile rafts with fishing frames. Please be careful if you decide to float this section. Rafts with leg braces and high rowing seats will not be able to pass under some of the footbridges that exist on this stretch. It isn't much fun fishing the canyon on foot right now either."

-scott
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