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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

New guy here. Been lingering around for a bit searching reviews and past discussions. Helped me decide on my "new" setup (Otter 130 w/ NRS Frame).

I was thinking about taking it up to Gray's Reef from Denver for a weekend of fishing. Most pics I see from Gray's are from drift boats, and not many rafts. I suppose it is because of the wind factor up there. Just wondering if you guys think it will be worth it to make that trip. I really just want to get the boat wet, adjust the frame, get used to being at the oars, etc. I'm a rookie at this. I've float fished before, but never manned the oars. Been paddling in the Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon and Upper CO a couple of times in duckies.

Also, as a side. I was wondering if any experienced oarsman would be interested in showing me tips and tricks, reading water as a guide one day on the Upper C or Arkansas. I'd do most of the paddling, and you could just fish and show me the way of the river. (Or should I just go for it?) Thanks in advance!
 

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Plenty of rafts run the Reef. You are right that most people use drift boats but that is becuase most are guides and they are on the water every day. If you are a private boater and want more options the only rivers suited to hard boats a raft is a good option.

Nothing stopping you on that river when it comes to a raft. Yes wind is a MAJOR issue for both rafts and hard boats. A low riding hard boat will do much better in the wind then a raft but does not mean a raft is a no go.

If the wind is blowing in a NE direction so coming from the SW it will be pushing you along and won't be much trouble for the rowing, probably a bitch for fishing if it is too much but with wind in that direction you won't get into any issues with your raft. If the wind is blowing upstream you will get into trouble if it gets strong. I have only floated it a couple times with my raft and had no probelms but we floated when wind was in the single digits. I could imagine wind up over 20mph in the wrong direction would be a bitch. Even with no wind you will need to row down river often to get through some very slow spots. Well that is if water is on the low side, not sure how high the water is now with the flush.

Talk to the shop in Alcova and ask them what they think of the report. They can do a shuttle for you too. If the wind is blowing in the right direction and on the light side you are good to go. And it is a perfect place to get comfortable with the oars.
 

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I've been down different sections near Alcova about 20 times. Some are shorter than others and might be best for a short trip to check out your raft. We've had tailwinds the entire day, and we've had headwinds so strong we had to get out and try to tow the drift boat from the bank, just to give the two rowers a break and not lose ground. There are sections with a good current but nearly every stretch has at least 1 mile or so (combined) of pretty slack water.

Gray Reef to Lusby is the uppermost stretch, and by far the most crowded. It's about 8 miles long.
Lusby to Gov't Bridge is next, and the shortest at 5 miles, but has several slow water stretches.
Gov't Bridge to Sechrist is much longer at 12 or so miles and has multiple sections, esp near the end, of slow water and is very exposed to wind. Would not do this stretch if you're only looking to just get your oars wet.

The are several other options, some with good ramps and some pretty stetchy, and some of the roads esp on the north side of the river can turn into gumbo mud with any rain.

Shuttles are available at several spots, we've had the best luck with the folks at the Reef Fly Shop. Last year another outfit (not saying who) forgot to shuttle our truck and trailer, so we had to partially hoof it back from Lusby, in fishing waders, until we found some nice folks to give us a ride back up.

I've rowed it in a low profile drift boat and in an inflatable raft. The raft was much harder in the sections (fortunately short) where we had good headwinds that day.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I think the flush is over, and it is holding at 500 cfs. Good fishing reports coming in. I think I'll give it a whirl on Saturday/Sunday. Weather report says Sunny. High near 70F. Winds WSW at 15 to 25 mph. Damn I hate wind. I will probably do the Gray Reef to Lusby section.
 

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The flush is still going till the 25th I think, but the fishing is great. I'm trying to get up there this week end. I'll let you know if I'm heading up and if you want you can follow me down, just PM me if your interested. Great river to float fish raft or dory. Do not forget to stop at the state line for boat inspection. The ranger at put in will be unhappy if you show up with out your inspection papers.
 

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Will they make you un-roll the raft for a complete inspection? Can you get the invasive species tax sticker at the border?
 

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Will they make you un-roll the raft for a complete inspection? Can you get the invasive species tax sticker at the border?
No to the unroll if you have not had it in the water this year and tell them you power washed it after your last trip. Alcova gas station has stickers but I would buy on line if possible to save standing in line.
 

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I'll take a raft in the wind to a dory any day of the week.
 

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The reef is just plain old perfect for getting your feet wet, and the fishing is outta sight. It's pretty featureless water compared to what you may be used to, so reading it for fishy spots can be tough. Be prepared to fiddle with your depths quite a bit, throughout the whole float.

Oh, and learn to tie red rock worms. Lots of them. Super easy tie and you'll save yourself some cash.

Sent from my Z970 using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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I vote for purple worms, tan squirrel leach and a gray foam wing RS2.
 
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