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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't think I've ever ran Deso low water, so wondering what Deso is like at 4-5k or lower. We have a trip July 18th, which by the looks of it is going to be pretty darn low.

We have big boats (16-18') and we do have a motor. Any feedback from low water Deso river rats?

Thanks!
 

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We ran two years ago when it was under 2k all summer, I think it was 1500-1800 range. No issues with floating boats or hanging up, only issue we had was the wind sucked that year! It was literally the worst trip ever wind wise and not much current to help. One night we got stopped out and couldn’t move and stayed the night right there. I swore I would never do a low water Deso trip without a motor after that so you should be good. It was still fun, just a lot of hard rowing.

On the flip side that was the only time I’d shown up to Sand Wash with zero bugs, which was really nice. Had to back the trailer a long way out over a lot of rocks to the upstream side to launch though.
 

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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks man, that was my other questions, can we still drop our trailers in to unload the boats? Sounds like I am still able to over the rocks right?

I've done July trip in the past on Deso, but it wasn't low water and I remember there were no bugs too. So that's a plus.
 

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We were at about 5000cfs last May. Some folks were able to get their boats out to the water, but we could only go so far over the rocks before we had to stop & carry. That sucked. It all depends on what part of the launch area you have available as to whether you can get close to the water. Not optimal, that's for sure. No problems with rafts. We had 12 foot-18 foot rafts. No hang-ups at all. Pretty much no flow at the top, and minimal between rapids, so it was a lot of rowing. We had planned layovers, but opted for shorter days instead. One person in our group summed it up perfectly....."like rowing on a lake for 7 days." More work, but still a fun trip. We all had easy & clean runs through all the rapids. Joe Hutch/Cow Swim is pretty straight forward at that level.
Have a great trip! I'm headed for the Main Salmon on Friday. First real whitewater in the new raft. It's about 3.5 feet right now......Fun City!
 

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Yeah, that was true about what’s available at the ramp. Some of it was way too muddy to attempt. I think we had much more area exposed than at 5k. It was probably a good 100’ radius out from the bottom of what would normally be the ramp. It took a good truck and careful negotiation, most people were carrying and only going out part way, definitely rough.

Kind of like Lodore last year, but all rocks instead of sand. It was way out to the water.
 

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Thanks man, that was my other questions, can we still drop our trailers in to unload the boats? Sounds like I am still able to over the rocks right?

I've done July trip in the past on Deso, but it wasn't low water and I remember there were no bugs too. So that's a plus.
I have heard of people managing to get a trailer in there at low water but never seen it. Low water launches at Sand Wash can be brutal to find a deep enough place to even float the boat with gear. Its really the only time 7 launches a day in Deso becomes a problem. It shallow muddy shoals for quite a while. The alternate narrow launch is mostly unusable, after the 2011 (??) floods turned into a steep bench.

With your experience I wouldn't worry too much about low water. Joe Hutch is only an issue at low water in my book and really just a quick ferry move around the picket fence mid-run. We don't even scout until then unless we have absolute newbies on the paddles or oars.

Seen plenty of people hung up on Rattlesnake and Coal Creek at low water but never for more than half an hour. Lots of rock dodging. Most of the wave trains are gone and its really a Class II run. Good camps come out while some are lost (if I remember right Trail can be hard to access as the bench gets steep). Epically slow water at the beginning and around what we call the Doldrums, from below # Fords to Range. Jack Creek becomes a brutal rock landing but hard to pass up with all of that dappled shade.

We have run it down to 1500 without many problems. I don't even consider Deso low water until drops below 3k but that is because we run in mostly late season anymore. River is dropping fast right now. Was hoping to have 10k+ for our Sunday launch but its already 9-ish.

Have a great trip Alex.

Phillip
 

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We did it last August, and I believe the level was around 900. We got the trailer tires into the water, but had to push it off. We took 3 adults and 2 children down in just my 18' cat, and we didn't skimp too much weight wise. We had no bugs, and the winds were only slightly bad for a couple afternoons. We did the trip in 5 days, putting on around noon the first day and taking off around noon the 5th day. A whole lot of rowing, as we had no motor, but I'm from the old school I guess, and liked it. We got hung up 8-10 times, but when me and my buddy got off, it was usually pretty easy pushing the cat over the disturbance.

We enjoyed it so much, we're looking at doing it again this year. But this time add a day or two to the trip.
 

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The Russian
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the responses. I was mainly worried about not having enough water to push large rigs through the rocks and dropping the boats in the water at put in. As some of you know, I trailer my boat fully loaded, so it's always a concern to me.
 

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Thanks for the responses. I was mainly worried about not having enough water to push large rigs through the rocks and dropping the boats in the water at put in. As some of you know, I trailer my boat fully loaded, so it's always a concern to me.
Commercials run Deso in 18 footers way low so I wouldn't be worried. A couple shallow spots but if anything larger boats = more buoyancy. Nothing narrow or technical to worry about like up north.

You'll love it. I almost prefer Deso at lower water.

Have a great trip.
 

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If it makes you feel any better, I ran it in 2002 with my first wife at 675cfs. Now...THAT was some rock dodging. Log Cabin was an issue, Rock Creek was an issue, Swasey was an issue. Dripping Spring was an issue, Coal Creek was an issue. No flow was an issue all the way thru.

I've mostly run it 1500-2500, as we typically preferred Sept launches (no bugs, less crowds). I like it around 2200 - enough bone to keep your eyes open, a little push thru the flats, enough waves to keep the tops of the boat wet in the rapids. Be sure you leave yourself a wind-day or two, it's slow going. I haven't been out there since the flash though, so no idea what the new Jack Creek is like at these flows.

We have a permit for 8/29, hoping we can count on 2K or better. Have a good trip !
 

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Just got off Deso on Sunday. First trip there. What an amazing river. The scenery is as good as it gets (dare i say second only to the Grand?).
I was blown away at this "relatively" under the radar river.
I am glad i listened to the warnings about not driving Wrinkle Road...As even Sand Wash left a toll on our vehicles and trailers.
 

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Old Guy in a PFD
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I've both rowed and motored 28' pigs on Deso in low water. The only issue was at Joe Hutch where I camped for an hour once, cussing the crew that blissfully paddled on, leaving me to slowly grind and push over every rock in the damn rapid.

Be sure you have an extra blade for the motor and pay close attention; it sucks major bilge water to trash it with no spare.
 
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