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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any early reports on yellow jackets? Hopefully not a repeat of last year but holding off buying any YJ traps until it looks more like I might need them (mid July trip).

Thanks.

- Jon
 

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They were not awful last week, but the weather was cool and rainy. We had sunshine at T-bone and they were annoying at lunch.
 

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We launch on Saturday, 6/28. My group went about this time last year and had no issues at all with them. I've been doing the MS for over ten years, and never saw/heard of the YJ issues that were reported last summer. Fingers & toes crossed that it was a fluke? I will report back when I get home from the trip.
 

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I floated the Main from 6/15 until 6/22. As another poster said it was rainy and cool at the beginning of the week. Once it warmed up the bees and yellow jackets were out but not bad IMO. It will probably get worse as the summer heats up. Haney (at least I think that is what it was called) had mosquitos pretty bad.
 

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I got off the river on the 21st and saw not a one. Couple of skeeters every now and then but overall a bugfree trip.


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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Maybe last year wasn't so much a fluke as it had to do with no winter kill or something. I would say a high point in a cycle. I remember them being real bad in 97 as well. Not necessarily on the Salmon but all over, as was the case last year. I would be surprised to see a repeat of that. It was pretty brutal. On our Main trip last year we took a couple of those fake paper nests or hives. We put them in the kitchen and everyone was surprised how few if any were in there with us. Outside of the kitchen area it was bad and everyone got stung several times. Funny though as our trip progressed the hornets or whatever they were kind of tapered off and gave way to these biting flies. They would bite the hell out of my ankles and were relentless even mid river. I would rather deal with the wasps or whatever they were.


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cataraftgirl, are you back? Trip report on YJ's, rapids ,etc would be appreciated.

Any other updates?

Thx

- Jon
 

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Cataraftgirl, are you back? Trip report on YJ's, rapids ,etc would be appreciated.

Any other updates?

Thx

- Jon
I just got home today. We launched 6/28 and took out 7/5. The river was 3.5 ft. when we launched and about 2.2 ft. when we finished. 3.5 is the highest I've ever done. We moved fast for the first two days, and were able to do three layover days. I got bounced off my seat (but not off the boat) in Five Mile & Elkhorn (got up close & personal with the Elephant Rock). Other than than that I was good. Our trip leader almost got pitched out in Big Mallard. He led the way on the left/traditional line, but the hole was big & nasty. He managed to avoid a flip and waved us off. The rest of us hauled ass to the right and made a clean run past the monster hole. Chittam & Vinegar were fine at just over 2 feet on the last day. We started the trip in rain and ended in blazing sun & heat. No problems with yellow jackets at all. Some of us got a few mosquito bites, but that was it. The ranger at Corn Creek told us that Mackay Bar was open to boaters if the open sign was out. We stopped briefly to check it out. They were friendly enough and let us refill water, but that was it. No store, no ice, no bathroom for boaters. They made it clear in a nice way that they don't serve boaters any more. Get your water, ice, beer, soda pop, T-shirts, and ice cream at Buckskin Bills. The trip was great & we had a good time as always on the MS.
 

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Thanks for the info cataraftgirl. I have been telling my group that Mackay is off the tour this year after last year's incidents with rafters but didn't know they had completely shut the store. Figure Heinz & Barbara deserve all the floater business anyway.
Will be my first time on the little red cat down that stretch and have to say I'm going to be hard pressed not to get bumped off the seat in a few places :) So you couldn't run the left bank in Big Mallard at 3.5ft? Interesting, we have run that side at all flows that I remember, but maybe I just don't remember well!
 

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Thanks for the info cataraftgirl. I have been telling my group that Mackay is off the tour this year after last year's incidents with rafters but didn't know they had completely shut the store. Figure Heinz & Barbara deserve all the floater business anyway.
Will be my first time on the little red cat down that stretch and have to say I'm going to be hard pressed not to get bumped off the seat in a few places :) So you couldn't run the left bank in Big Mallard at 3.5ft? Interesting, we have run that side at all flows that I remember, but maybe I just don't remember well!
I don't think it was unrunnable, but a big & nasty hole along the left bank in addition to the monster hole. A lot to tangle with according to our boater who ran that line. Another boater I talked with at Corn Creek told me that his friend had run it left the week before at about the same water level and he got ejected. We have always run it left, up to 2.5 feet with no issues, but I was more than happy to get the "wave off" and skirt the hole to the right. It worked out well for all of us. This was my first whitewater in my new Sotar raft since switching from the cat. Now I row from a dry box instead of a seat. I gotta do some work on my foot bar to make a better "toe hold" so I'll stay locked in better. Have fun on the MS, and don't bother with Mackay Bar. I understand the change from a business perspective, but it was sad to say goodbye to one of our long standing ritual stops for cube ice & milkshakes :(
 

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So you are no longer cataraftgirl! Of course, for all we know out here in internetland you could have always been a 50 year old guy with a full beard who rows an 18 foot self bailer ..... :)
Just checked my notes on Big Mallard and I did forget: 6ft left, 1.9ft left BUT 4ft right tongue, so there you have it. I'm sure by the time we get on (2 weeks) it will be back to the left bank run.
 

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So you are no longer cataraftgirl! Of course, for all we know out here in internetland you could have always been a 50 year old guy with a full beard who rows an 18 foot self bailer ..... :)
Just checked my notes on Big Mallard and I did forget: 6ft left, 1.9ft left BUT 4ft right tongue, so there you have it. I'm sure by the time we get on (2 weeks) it will be back to the left bank run.
I still own a 10 foot fishing cat (the one that started it all), so I can legally keep my name. Who knows, I might get another cat someday???

We had discussed Mallard, and felt like left was always the preferred line at all water levels. The guide books seem to down play a right run, except for very high water when it's all pretty much washed out. So that was our plan, until the most experienced (20 years) person in the group waved us off. Man were we glad he did after seeing the hole and hearing he & his passenger tell of their harrowing near miss.

My out of seat experience at Five Mile was due to my own inattention. The Elkhorn out of seat fun was all about .......where the heck is that giant elephant rock that I'm supposed to pull around????? OH.....there it is. CRAP! Hi Mr. Elephant. Let me just slide right off your side for fun. I'll just blame it all on the learning curve of my cat to raft switch ;) Yeah.....that's it.
 

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Cataraft girl - out of seat experiences

There is something that lurks in Five Mile I have that on my radar from previous trips and at higher water a nasty lateral coming in from the left on the curve; I swear our cat stood on end in that one - as passenger it was all I could do to hang on. I will be watching out for 5 mile for sure. As for Elkhorn I am so terrified of that big hole having seen it at higher water we have never done anything other than a hard right bank. Chittam has always bothered me too.......
Guess I have a lot to worry about - need to get the big girl pants on and just do it!
 

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There is something that lurks in Five Mile I have that on my radar from previous trips and at higher water a nasty lateral coming in from the left on the curve; I swear our cat stood on end in that one - as passenger it was all I could do to hang on. I will be watching out for 5 mile for sure. As for Elkhorn I am so terrified of that big hole having seen it at higher water we have never done anything other than a hard right bank. Chittam has always bothered me too.......
Guess I have a lot to worry about - need to get the big girl pants on and just do it!
Chittam wasn't too bad by the end of our trip, as it was down to about 2.2-2.3 feet by then. We entered center and pulled hard right to avoid the wall crash. Vinegar has always been my nemesis in the past, and this time it was totally fun. We did 25 miles on day two of the trip, with all of the major rapids. Black Creek, Bailey, Five Mile, Split Rock, Big Mallard, and Elkhorn. That was a physically & emotionally tiring day.

This was the first trip I've done where I got mosquito bites. Just a few, but still annoying. Not enough for me to break out the bug spray, but then I really hate bug spray. It was quite damp at the start of our trip, so maybe that was it. There were the usual number of yellow jackets. No swarms, no bites, just a few soda pop can/coffee mug swimmers. No bears and no snake were seen during the trip. By the time we took out, the temps. were up to the upper 90s, maybe even triple digits? The beaches were starting to come out nicely by the end of the trip.

The rest of July should be just about perfect, water level wise. Bring shade, and float early to avoid the heat & wind. Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Took off today so I guess I'll answer my own question.

Yellow jackets were pretty bad at Corn Ck the night before the put-in (7/20) and were maybe worse at Carey Ck today. All told I got stung 6 times, mainly while cooking, or derigging today. They were moderate at California Ck yesterday, esp on the east end near the rocks. And were much less bothersome at Lantz, Haynie, and Rabbit.

Water level was great, as was our group. Lots of good runs and plenty of big hits on the meat lines. Perhaps the biggest one for us was surprisingly the wave at Lugwig, not a commonly mentioned rapid but big air for the bow and stern riders. No major issues except the downpour mid week which caught several of us sleeping outside w/o tents. And the windstorm the next night where a tree fell in our camp (Haynie).

On the way home and sad to be off the river.

PS. Nice shuttle service by Blackadar Boating.
 

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Cataraftgirl,

Thanks for the trip report. Now that the new Sotar raft is broken in, can you share your feelings about the change in boats? Many thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also, an evaluation of the effectiveness of traps on YJ's, who apparently have been reading Mtn Buzz. In a word, poor.

The rescue traps caught very few - using the "west" version on amazon which I think has a meat bait. The bucket of soapy water below suspended chicken legs contained only 8 after a full night/ morning.

They seemed to prefer sweet stuff, and, unfortunately, us, over the meat. I never got around to the best idea from our group - dipping the chicken in the cobbler.
 

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Cataraftgirl,

Thanks for the trip report. Now that the new Sotar raft is broken in, can you share your feelings about the change in boats? Many thanks.
Here's the scoop on the Sotar 14 SL & the change from the cat.

Practical differences - Way easier to rig. Way easier to load each morning in camp. I've cut my strap supply by about 60%. Perfect size raft for me. Way easier to get in & out of the boat with a bad leg, especially with the diminishing tubes. I carried my same gear load from the cat.....two dry boxes, 105 QT cooler, plus a moderate amount of group gear.

Performance differences - While not as fast & nimble as a cat, I was able to move it without much trouble. It's definitely not a tank. I do have to get used to setting up a little farther ahead than the cat, because last minute coarse changes are a bit harder. However, the last minute right hand maneuver at Big Mallard went well. It's a lot smoother through the big water & waves than the cat. No bouncing around like the cat. With the diminishing tubes, I still got wet from big waves, so that was nice. A front passenger would definitely get wet.

Next big trip is the Middle Fork in September. We shall see how it handles the low water. My rafting buddy claims that rafts get stuck a lot less than cats. Based on my experience with getting stuck in my cat, that seems true. But it could be "user error." The MF will be the true test of how this raft handles.
 

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Bees/Hornets/Yellowjackets

Took off 7/24. Compared to last year the population was much smaller and overall not difficult to deal with. We were a small group (1 boat/2 people), stayed at one reserable camp and avoided sweet things so that may have had some impact on the yellowjacket numbers. I don't have enough experience with the river to know if there were more or less than normal but they didn't detract from our enjoyment of the river or require extreme measures like tenting the kitchen. Also, I think they were less agressive compared to last year which made a difference.
 
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