There's nothing I enjoy much more than being on a trout stream in the fall. So last weekend when I had the chance to float the Yakima River in my Outcast personal pontoon boat with a friend, I jumped on the opportunity. It was a beautiful day - clear, crisp, and sunny. Although the fishing was slow, we had a great time just being on the river surrounded by the golden cottonwoods.
Until we got to the takeout. That's when disaster struck. The take-out at the Washington Fish & Wildlife access point just east of Cle Elum has suffered from erosion over the years and a large portion of the river piles up against the boat ramp. To make matters worse, there are a bunch of low-hanging bushes and tree branches immediately down-stream of the ramp.
To make a short but painful story even shorter, I slipped when trying to get out at the ramp and went floating down the fast powerful current into the woody crud. In the process I lost all but the butt section of my favorite Scott G-series rod, one of the oars from the pontoon boat, the boat's anchor and my favorite Sage fishing hat. With gear floating down the river all around me, I tried to avoid getting impaled or overturned by the branches, then using my single paddle awkwardly tried to get to shore. I made it out safely, but with a bruised ego and the loss of some of my favorite gear.
Take-aways: Don't try to take-out where the river's creating a dangerous situation. Get oarlocks that hold the oars in. And use very strong rope with an anchor.Posted by Bruce on November 2, 2003 8:50 PM