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Video: Kayak angler goes 1-on-1 with 29-pound king salmon

FISHING — Hooking a chinook salmon from a kayak is one thing; landing it is another.

Here's a video from Spilt Milt Productions from a day of fishing on the lower Columbia River that gives a little flavor to the task. 

But any kayaker know that this angler is making it look easy as he maneuvers his kayak while being pulled backward by the salmon.  It would be easy to turn the rudder the wrong way and broach the boat (sideway), which could be a recipe for capsize.

Nicely done, and big rewards, as the end of the video illustrates.

Here's the post Uplandsandpiper made on iFish:

Bar none this has been one of my best kayak King Salmon years on the Columbia. Rather than spending a lot of time driving down to B10 this year I opted to save some time to target these fish closer to home where the limits are more generous and I am really glad I did. I've always wanted to catch a 30 lb King from my kayak and although I've failed to do that so far I came really close with this 29 lb King caught a few weeks ago. Its not uncommon for a big sturgeon to pull you around the kayak but in general even a 15 lb King won't do much more than turn your kayak a few times. Shortly after hooking this fish I knew I was in to a larger fish as the fish ran behind me pull me backwards then forwards dragging me into a neighboring boats gear (no reverse on a Hobie is a bummer!). That fish really handed it to me but in the end I still won.

ROW Adventures kayak trip ranked among best in world

PADDLING — If you're considering a great exotic guided sea-kayaking and hiking adventure, take a tip from National Geographic Traveler, which gave high ratings to an Inland Northwest company that thinks globally.

Compelling Corsica, a unique sea kayaking and mountain hiking adventure vacation from ROW Sea Kayak Adventures based in Coeur d'Alene, was named one of National Geographic Traveler magazine's 2015 Tours of the Lifetime.

The distinction is impressive. In it's 10th year, the 2015 list features 50 of the world's best-guided trips chosen by the editors. The magazine says "the 50 best guided tours selected this year offer authentic travel experiences that are sure to leave participants engaged and ensconced in culture."

See the list and details about the all 50 trips in National Geographic Traveler magazine's May 2015 online issue.

Compelling Corsica combines sea kayaking in the blue waters of the island, exploring coves and sea caves in the Gulf of Porto, and trekking a segment of the Grande Randonnée 20 (GR20), a long-distance trail that runs north-south along Corsica's granite spine. The activity is fueled by local charcuterie, sheep-milk cheeses and wine. ROW Adventures co-owner Peter Grubb will lead this year's trip, scheduled for September.

"We are eager to share the wild island of Corsica, a relatively unknown destination in France that I personally scouted, and to do it in a way that blends meaningful and authentic cultural interchange with active adventure," Grubb said.

Try out watersports at NIC Summer Splash

WATERSPORTS — North Idaho College is offering a free opportunity to try out paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and catamarans.

  • What: North Idaho College Cecil’s Summer Splash
  • When: 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, July 16
  • Where:  NIC campus beach on Lake  Coeur d'Alene

The event is open to the public, but especially attractive to current or prospective NIC students, since there will be drawings for $5,000 in scholarships at 6:30 p.m.

Games with prizes are planned throughout the event. The first 300 guests will be treated to a free barbecue.

Info: (208) 769-5958.

Sailfest to roll out boats, SUP at CdA beach

WATERSPORTS — Looking at the weather forecast, Saturday might be a good day to try out sailing or paddling at Lake Coeur d'Alene. Check out this event.

The 11th Annual Sailfest is a celebration of sailing and paddling and and opportunity to try out variety of sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards or learn how to get your kids involved in sailing .

Attendees can take free sailboat rides on Hobie Catamarans, Hobie Sailing Kayaks, Super Snark dinghies and keelboats. Rides are given by volunteers from the local Sea Scouts troup, the Sea Cats.

Expert paddlers or those looking to try kayaking or stand-up paddling for the first time can get information from experts on the latest gear and demo a variety of boards and kayaks. All activities are free.

When:        Saturday June 6, 2015, 9am – 3pm

Where:      City Park Beach: next to the Coeur d'Alene Resort, 105 NW Boulevard, Coeur d'Alene

About         The Sea Cats is a local, Inland NW, small sailboat-focused ship (troop) based in the Hayden-Coeur d’Alene-Spokane area. It is a co-ed youth group, ages 14-20, with focus on sailing and maritime skills and leadership development.

Little Spokane River shuttle service starts July 5

WATERSPORTS — The Little Spokane River shuttle service for paddlers will resume this summer with an expanded season starting on July 4 and running Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., through Sept. 5. The shuttle is operated by Spokane Parks and Recreation Department.

The van will run between the Nine Mile take-out and the St. George’s put-in. Cost: $8 per person. Vehicles parked at either of the access points must have a Discover Pass.

Register for shuttles at spokaneparks.org.

Info: 363-5418.

Diablo Lake access restricted during maintenance drawdown

WATERSPORTS —  Diablo Lake, the boater access to Ross Lake in North Cascades National Park, will be off limits to normal public access until early June and again in late summer and fall for dam maintenance.

Diablo will be drawn down as low as 1192 feet above sea level or 10 feet below normal operating conditions to accommodate  maintenance by Seattle City Light of the Ross Dam barge landing and ferry facilities. 

Low lake levels will occur Tuesday, May 12, through June 15, and again Sept 15-Oct. 31.

During these times, Diablo Lake and the Colonial Creek Campground boat ramp will be inaccessible to motorboats and it will be difficult for paddlecraft to launch.

Lake levels will fluctuate during the draw down, but boaters should be aware that Seattle City Light may rapidly vary the lake level without notice.  It is therefore recommended that boaters refrain from using their vessels on Diablo Lake from May 12-June 15 and again from September 15 through October 31 so as not to be stranded. While lake levels are low, National Park Service staff will clean sediment off the public boat ramp at Colonial Creek Campground. Normal lake levels will resume June 16 through September 14, and again on approximately November 1, 2015.

Seattle City Light will also complete work on the docks located on the east side of Diablo Lake near the Ross Haul Road. These facilities will be open to visitors on June 12, 2015. 

The Ross Haul Road between Ross Powerhouse and the tunnel, as well as the Diablo Lake Trail Bridge, will be closed through June 20 and again Sept. 7-Nov. 4, 2015. 

Ross Lake can be accessed via a gravel road from Hope, British Columbia on the north. Two graded-cement boat ramps at Hozomeen are normally usable from mid-June through September. There is no direct road access from the south, but canoes, kayaks and other portable craft can be launched on Diablo Lake at Colonial Creek Campground and boated five miles to the end of Diablo Lake. Boats and gear must be portaged around Ross Dam over a mile long gravel road with switchbacks (520 foot gain/120 foot loss).

Ross Lake Resort, which is open June-September,  also provides portage service for portable boats, rents out small power boats, canoes, and kayaks, and provides water taxi service on the lake.

See a map of Ross Lakejpeg (393K), pdf (11MB) — showing the many boat access campgrounds and other recreational opportunities that are available.

Ross Lake is a reservoir with changing water levels. The lake is generally at full pool from July - September. Docks are not usable at low water levels. For an elevational chart that shows when docks and ramps are usable, check out the Ross Lake Elevations for Dock Use handout (pdf 112K).

Video: Kayaker gets full view of Moyie River rapid

WATERSPORTS — With many paddlers heading to North Idaho to immerse themselves in the wild spring flows of the Moyie River, here's a reality check from the helmet cam of Celene Olgeirsson, a member of the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club.

The message: Follow Olgeirsson's example: Dress properly; go with a group; get your roll down pat; match your skills to the water, and have a good time looking forward to the next rapid.

CdA sea kayakers rally for dying whale

WATERSPORTS — This story about a group of Coeur d'Alene-based sea kayakers and their poignant encounter with a dying gray whale calf is generating some endearing emotions among readers.  It's a story about hope.

Here's a video of the experience produced by sea kayaker Sam Morrison:

Baby Gray Whale Rescue from Sam Morrison on Vimeo.


Kayakers make splash in flood-stage rivers

WATERSPORTS — Whitewater paddlers have been enjoying an early season throughout much of the Northwest, knowing that it might be a short one with the dearth of snow in the mountains.

But the kayakers in this just-posted video are taking on huge water in the Skykomish  River and in the roadside run through the Wenatchee River's Tumwater Canyon.

How's your roll?

Idaho whitewater river trip applications due Saturday

WATERSPORTS — River permits or the region’s world-class rafting streams are among the most coveted recreation reservations in the West — and Saturday, Jan. 31, is the deadline to apply.

River runners sometimes can obtain no-show permits for the Selway, Salmon, Middle Fork Salmon and Hells Canyon Snake rivers. Also, a portion of available permits may be held back and issued daily at ranger stations.

But locking in a reservation for a major river trip is key to planning.

Savvy trippers get a group of people to apply for dates to boost their chances in lottery drawings. Maximum group size on the rivers generally is around 30. Midweek launch dates tend to be easier to get than Friday-Sunday dates.

The toughest permit to bag is for the Selway, with odds of 1 in 52 last year. The easiest permit is the Snake River in Hells Canyon, with odds of 1 in 7.

Following are some of the most sought-after permits in the region.

• Idaho’s Selway, Salmon, Middle Fork Salmon and the Snake River in Hells Canyon.

Deadline for online applications (no paper applications allowed): Jan. 31. Details: http://1.usa.gov/15VvY8k.

• Montana’s Smith River, a classic 59-mile multiday floating and fishing experience in Central Montana.

Deadline for applications: Feb. 19. Details: fwp.mt.gov.

Pend Oreille River Water Trail detailed in program

PADDLING — The Ins and Outs of the Pend Oreille River Water Trail will be detailed in a program for the Spokane Canoe  & Kayak Club, 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 24, at the Mountain Gear Corporate Office, 6021 E. Mansfield in Spokane.

Pend Oreille County Community Development Director Mike Lithgow will team with Ray Entz, the Wildlife and Terrestrial Resources director for the Kalispel Tribe, to present a travelogue on the newly established water trail.

The 70-mile route includes historical, cultural and geological features in addition to access points and recreational opportunities between Newport and Boundary Dam.

Don’t forget sea-kayaking basics

WATERSPORTS — Fall is a fine time for sea kayaking around the region's waters, from Fishtrap Lake to the San Juan Islands.

Even if you're an experience paddler, it's always wise to review the the basics of paddling safety  Here are seven reminders from Boat US.

Know how to re-board: All paddlecraft are different, so before you hit a lonely, remote stretch of river or bay, learn (in a safe place) how to get back in the boat quickly and efficiently as hyperthermia is a threat that increases by the minute. Some paddlers add extra floatation inside the boat as it can help reboarding. (Tip: this can be accomplished simply by inflating a beach ball or purchasing aftermarket float bags). If you do ever fall out and can’t get back in, stay with the kayak or canoe – it’s a bigger target for rescuers to see.

Don’t keep it a secret: Tell people where you’re going by filing a float plan. It could be as simple as telling your spouse, in writing, where you are going and what time you plan to return. Writing it down makes it become habit. Be as specific as you can – this isn’t the time to forget to mention you’re heading to your hidden fishing hole two miles off the beaten channel.

Understand the basic rules of navigation: You may not be out there with icebreakers just yet, but there may still be some recreational boating traffic and potential ship traffic. The simple challenge is the smallest boats are hardest to see. One simple tip to help visibility is to spray the tips of your paddles a bright color. Paddlers also can help themselves by understanding some basic rules of navigation.

Don’t leave without a bailer: With low freeboard — or the distance from the water to the gunwale — paddlecraft are prone to getting water aboard. Once it starts, it’s only a matter of time before your canoe or kayak becomes ever lower to oncoming waves. Keep water out and buoyancy up by having a bailer ready (Tip: tie one to each seat).

Thermal up or down: Neoprene gloves, a drysuit or wetsuit tops and hats are the ultimate protection in retaining body heat this time of year. However, have outdoor gear that offers versatility by being able to cool down or warm up when appropriate. Even if it may feel like summer, never leave shore in just a t-shirt and shorts. It only takes just a short change of weather or a dunking to drench you and the hypothermia clock starts ticking. A bright colored rain parka can also be seen at great distances.

Going remote? Go Personal Locator Beacon (PLB): Advances in GPS technology have brought down the cost of personal locator beacons, but if your budget is tight you can still rent a PLB from the BoatUS Foundation for $45 weekly, plus shipping. There are no additional subscriber fees and paddlers going to remote locations can order online at BoatUS.org/epirb or call 888-663-7472 (Tip: mention code “DISC10” for a 10% discount on the weekly PLB rental rate through December 1, 2014).

Keep it secure up top: If you need to get your favorite kayak or stand-up paddleboard to the lake on your car or truck’s roof this fall, check out  the three basic types of roof rack systems and ways to safely tie down the load. Your kayak has no desire to meet the road or become a hazard for oncoming vehicles.

Roskelley talk to detail Columbia River paddling

WATERSPORTS — John Roskelley, best know for his mountaineering achievements, is giving a free program on his new guidebook to Paddling the Columbia River at 7 p.m. on Sept.30 at the Spokane REI store.

Here's more info:

The Columbia River is a water trail to adventure. Thousands of miles of rugged shoreline, countless sandy bays, and long stretches of remote wilderness make this great river an explorer's dream, whether just for an afternoon on a reservoir behind one of its 13 main stem dams or being swept along by over 100,000 cfs of swift current on one of the Columbia's free-flowing sections. Paddling the Columbia from source to mouth is the extreme edge, a challenge not unlike climbing Everest or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Fortunately, the river is a resource that can be enjoyed in short sections on a weekend or holiday for a few hours to a long day throughout its 1200 mile length. The new "Paddling the Columbia: A Guide to all 1200 Miles of our Scenic & Historical River" by Spokane's John Roskelley provides the paddler with knowledge - the fundamental element needed to take action and enjoy an adventure.

Dogs aren’t fussy about how they get exercise

PADDLING — Walking the dog, Priest Lake style.

Thanks to Pecky Cox and her "As the Lake Churns" posts.

Whitewater boaters flock to Tieton River flip-flop

WATERSPORTS — Whitewater enthusiasts are expecting a warm welcome from Washington's Tieton River along US 12 west of Yakima this weekend.

A large gathering of rafters and kayakers — private and commercial — is gearing up from across the region to take advantage of the annual "flip-flop." 

The annual September release of water that's been warming all summer in Rimrock Lake has begun in order to feed water to downstream crop irrigation needs as well as to boost salmon spawning.

The "flip-flop" term comes from the fact that the increased water down the Tieton helps make up for the reduction of flows in the Yakima River.

The result is an opportunity for great whitewater boating in the month of September.  

  • By the way, if you're an angler, the flip-flop spells the beginning of good fall trout fishing in the Yakima.

Boaters will come in droves to go with the flow from launch sites below Tieton Dam. The river runs down the generally sunny east slope of the Cascades.

Flows of 1,000 cfs to 3,000 cfs are considered ideal in the Tieton, which hit the 1,000 cfs mark on Aug. 28 and exceeded 2,000 cfs today.

Runs of 11 to 15 miles that have been too rocky and bumpy to boat all summer will fill with rushing water, ushering rafts and kayaks through almost continuous Class II to III rapids before the Tieton flows into the Naches River.

Since summer heat has dried up most of the region's whitewater for the season, many river runners consider theTieton River the last summer run.

The river has a steep gradient, dropping 58 feet per mile. The Tieton is not considered to be great for novice boaters because of its steady rush of whitewater.

Campers note: Fire restrictions could be in effect.

This sort of paddling is appropriate for kids

WATERSPORTS — The older Bauer boys know how to make a canoe go fast, and the younger nephews are clearly into the game even at the end of the Spokane River Classic endurance event on Saturday.

Sponsored by the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club, the event was for all abilities of paddlers with canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

But this boat stood out in the crowd, as you can see by their faces.

Have you ever paddled a canoe this hard — for the fun of it?

Spokane River Classic attracts colorful flotilla

PADDLING — Some very fast paddlers streaked across the Spokane River today in the debut of the Spokane River Classic, and they were followed by some not-so fast canoeists, kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders and one rowboat.

But it appeared as though everyone had a blast, as  you can see in my photo gallery from today's event.

YogaSlackers win 500-mile Expedition Idaho adventure race

ADVENTURE RACING — A team of three men and a woman covered 500-miles of rugged Panhandle mountain terrain on their feet, bikes and rafts, spiced with rock climbing and other challenges, to win the 2014 Expedition Idaho adventure race last week.

Five teams started the event from the Silver Springs Resort on Aug. 10 and finished Saturday before the cheering Brewsfest crowd on Silver Mountain.

Bruises, stitches, a broken nose, heat exhaustion, navigation errors and sleep deprivation were suffered during the event and water rescues were required to keep all the teams going during the race, officials said.

Winning the event were the YogaSlackers team of yoga instructors Jason Magness and Chelsey Gribbon-Magness, along with software engineer Dan Staudigel – all from Bend, Oregon – plus sea kayaking guide Paul Cassedy from San Diego.

While all five teams finished the event, only the top two teams completed the full course. YogaSlackers qualified for a similar event next year in Alaska.

Expedition Idaho was organized by Perpetual Motion Events from Coeur d’Alene, headed by David Adlard of Athol.

”We have had more rain this one week in August than in any month of August since I have lived in Idaho,” said Adlard. ”And of course, there is no rain scheduled for the rest of the month. We brought it along just to give that little extra test to the racers, it seems.”

The second half of the course included a 100-mile mountain bike leg that had racers pedaling through Thursday night. Severe thunderstorms during the week washed out some routes and forced the teams onto alternate routes through the Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area. The route went over Lookout Mountain and Breezy Point, down Gold Creek Canyon.

 On Friday they launched for 38 miles of whitewater rafting on the St. Joe River through sections including Tumble Down Falls.

Several of the ultralight one-person rafts punctured in the rapids, where occupants were beat up in the rocks before they could get out.

The racers had to rope up and ascend 300 feet on a rock climbing route carrying their rafts before rappelling back to the river to finish the float.

This final bike leg was a challenging 27 miles that took eight hours even for the winning team as they ascended Prospect Peak, Mastadon toward to the Elsie Lake area.

The last leg was a trek to Silver Mountain, where they were rewarded with cheers from a Brewsfest crowd of 1,500, high fives and much free beer.

Expedition racing was born in the early 1970’s when a group of friends in Alaska challenged each other to race to a point over 600 miles distant without using any mechanized transport or roadways.

The World Championships of expedition racing are held in a different country every year, including Costa Rica this year.

Spokane River Classic attracts variety of paddlers

WATERSPORTS — More than 100 canoeists, kayakers and stand up paddleboarders of all skill levels are registered so far for the Spokane River Classic set for Saturday, Aug. 23.

The event will start at McKinstry near Gonzaga University with participants heading out on a 1.3-mile citizens course or a 5.4-mile endurance course.

The Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club revived the classic this  year to emphasize boating participation on the river and the need for public access to the river for boaters.

In addition to paddling, the lawn area around McKinstry is being transformed into a Spokane River party. Fueling the festivities for adults will be a beer garden courtesy of River City Brewery, barbeque from Big Daddy’s, Camargo’s taco truck, and prizes for participants.

Kids will be fueled with a root beer stand, popcorn and an interactive play area that includes making authentic fish prints.

Video: Whitewater kayaking carnage compiled

WATERSPORTS — For every awesome video we've seen of kayakers skillfully negotiating whitewater rapids and waterfalls there are countless calamities, injuries and near-death experiences.

Here's  a sampling.

P.S. Think twice about trying to replicate this stuff.

Spokane River access open at stateline site

WATERSPORTS — A launch site for drift boats, paddling craft and rafts has been remodeled and reopened at the stateline just downstream from the I-90 Bridge.

The Stateline access site includes parking and native landscaping planted by the Spokane Conservation District and volunteer groups on 800 feet of shoreline, said Andy Dunau of Spokane River Forum.

The forum has  details about this access site and others on the Spokane River Water Trail website.

Air Force helicopter rescues Marble Creek rafter

WATERSPORTS — The benefits of living near an Air Force Base with skilled rescue helicopter pilots have paid off for recreationists, most recently in a one-weekend blitz to help a Pacific Crest Trail hiker as well as a Spokane Valley rafter on a tributary to the St. Joe River.

Airmen from the 36th Rescue Flight answered the call to save not only one, but two lives in one weekend. We're just getting the details.

On June 13 at 5:30 p.m., the crew received a call that a kayaker was stranded 70 miles southeast of Fairchild Air Force Base, according to a report by Airman 1st Class Janelle Patiño of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs.

Within a few hours, the crew launched the UH-1N Huey and was enroute to the man's location.

Bart Rayniak, a retired Spokesman-Review photograher, had been kayaking near where Marble Creek flows into the St. Joe's River when his cataraft flipped, ejecting him into the cold water.

"There were some challenges that occurred during the rescue due to the weather, but the crew of Rescue 48 never gave up," said Maj. Jennings Marshall, the 36th RQF commander. "At 8:30 p.m., Capt. Nate Jolls, a 36th RQF pilot, with the survivor on board, began an approach back toward the ambulance where Maj. Montsho Corppetts, a 336th Training Support Squadron medic, was waiting."

"I was never able to truly thank my rescuers," Rayniak told the base reporter. "They were so wonderful! They put their lives on the line to save mine. They were amazing flyers and crew. They were professional and caring. Damn good at what they do. I will always be grateful."

A logging operation this year apparently has caused logs to slide into the river and increase the hazard for floaters during high water, the only time Marble Creek is navigable for rafts and kayaks.

  • Rayniak has not been available for further comment to the S-R.

Friends recovered his cataraft the next day. The video in the post below indicates the velocity of the water and the hazards in the Marble Creek posed by a logging operation. A look at this brief video explains why Rayniak couldn't just swim to safety even though he was fully decked out with dry suit and life vest.

Two days later, on June 15, the crew received a call at approximately 11:30 a.m. that there was an injured hiker along the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern Washington needing quick extraction.

"He had been walking along a steep and snowy section of the trail when he slipped and tumbled down the mountainside, hitting a tree and breaking several ribs," Marshall said. "Fortunately, his hiking buddy was able to call for help."

Capt. Erik Greendyke, the 36th RQF operations supervisor, worked with Marshall to assemble a crew. The crew then launched at 1 p.m. and followed the Methow River past Mazama, Wash., to the hiker's location.

"Other hikers prepared a bright orange tent along the ridgeline that helped us immediately identify the area with minimal searching," Marshall said. "As soon as we rescued the injured hiker and his hiker buddy, the survivor was then loaded onto an ambulance with the help of Capt. Josiah Hart, the 36th RQF standardization and evaluation liaison officer, and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, a 36th RQF special missions aviator, and departed for the hospital."

Helicopter rescue operations can be dangerous, but the 36th RQF crews constantly train to maintain proficiency in rescue operations as part of the mission to support the Air Force's only Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school.

"We take great effort to ensure rescues are executed safely and with as little risk as possible," Marshall said. "Our normal training missions take place at Fairchild and in the Colville National Forest and we have been tasked to perform civilian rescues throughout the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana."

Little Spokane River shuttle starts July 5

WATERSPORTS — No more worrying about getting a lift back to your car at the put-in on Saturdays in July and August.

Racers hit Blackfoot in open canoes

WATERSPORTS —The 2014 Open Canoe Slalom National Championship starts today and runs through Sunday (June 29) near Missoula on the Blackfoot River upstream of the Roundup Fishing Access Site off Montana Highway 200.

Spectators can view the American Canoe Association event for free in the designated area upstream of the Roundup Bridge.

 For information about open canoe whitewater racing in general, see aca.whitewater-slalom.us.

Saturday features four "Citizen-class" races in which noncompetitive or inexperienced paddlers can run the course in a tandem canoe with an experienced racer.

Post Falls Dam gates close; Spokane River flows drop

WATERSPORTS — The Spokane River's flows have subsided enough for the spill gates at Post Falls Dam to be closed, Avista Utilities reports. That has allowed river recreation to open for the season starting today in the area between the Spokane Street Bridge and the boater safety cables that are just upstream of the Post Falls Dam. 

The City of Post Falls boat launch at Q’emiln Park is opening to the public today. The swim beach will open later this week after the parks department removes fencing, installs swim safety bouys and lifeguards are scheduled. Typically this occurs sometime between Memorial Day and the July 4 holiday, and on average about June 22.

 Upgrades underway this summer at the South Channel Dam adjacent to Q’emiln Park will require visitors to stay out of some areas near the construction.

Logs pose hazard to whitewater rafters in Marble Creek

WATERSPORTS — Whitewater rafters and kayakers were greeted by hazards in Marble Creek last weekend.

Logs from a logging operation apparently slid down a steep slope and into the tributary of the St. Joe River.

This is prime time for river runners before flows become too low in Marble Creek, but the stream flows fast with tight turns and hazards that make it for experts only.

Video: Rafter catches Moyie River whitewater

RIVERS — Whitewater river rafter Tanner Grant floated the Moyie River in North Idaho over the weekend and made this video documentary of the run from Meadow Creek to Moyie Dam at 2,300 cfs — that's 4 feet at the dam.

The 8-minute video is instructional for rafters who want to follow in his wake.  

But don't procrastinate.   Here's Grant's field report:

I wanted to share my run down the Moyie River in North Idaho from this last weekend.  The river is on the drop and time is running out, there was no wood in Eileen Dam or Hole in the Wall rapids, feel free to share on your blog if you want to, what an awesome run!

See Grant's descriptive videos of other rivers:

Outdoor recreational outings offered to disabled

OUTDOOR RECREATION — The St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute's recreational therapy team is gearing up for a busy summer season of outdoor recreation fun for physically challenged adventurers of all ages.

Outdoor Recreation Experience,  June 21, features adaptive and regular fishing, handcycling, archery, kayaking and canoeing, plus a barbecue for participants and family members.  

SkiFest, July 19-20,  features adaptive water skiing, boating and swimming at Clear Lake. 

Payette River train serves whitewater rafters, paddlers

RIVER RUNNING — Rafters and paddlers soon will be riding the rails to a popular floating and whitewater  stretch of Idaho's North Fork Payette River.

On Saturday, May 31, the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad, also known as the Thunder Mountain Line, will debut the Payette River Flyer with runs between Smiths Ferry and Cascade on Saturdays and Sundays this summer.

Riders are able to bring their own rafts and kayaks onboard or opt for a guided raft trip provided by Bear Valley Rafting Company.

The train ride is not only convenient, it's also scenic. Park in one spot and let the railroad do the 17-mile shuttle to the top of the seven-mile river run.

The train travels along the North Fork of the Payette River, also known as the North Fork Carbarton, and features Class II-III rapids. The following rapids are part of the float:

  • Trestle Rapids-Class III
  • Smoothie Rapids-Class II-III
  • Wet Spot Rapids-Class III
  • Francois Rapids-Class III
  • Howard's Plunge Rapids-Class III

The Smiths Ferry loading location is across the river from the Cougar Mountain Lodge on Highway 55, with free parking available on-site. The Smiths Ferry site will be the only location where rafts and kayaks can be loaded.

The Cascade loading site is behind the Ashley Inn, 500 N. Main St. Parking is free.

Rail enthusiasts can stay off the water and enjoy a scenic roundtrip train ride from either loading sites.

The Payette River Flyer will run May 31 - Aug. 31, with Smiths Ferry departures at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, and Cascade departures at 12:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.payetteriverflyer.com or by calling the ticket office at (208) 331-1184. One-way tickets for river drop-off are $20 for all age groups, while round-trip train rides start at $25/person. All guided raft trips will be provided by Bear Valley Rafting Company and start at $60/person. One-way trips are approximately 45 minutes to one hour in length, with the round trip train ride taking three hours. Food will be available for purchase on the train.

Spokane paddlers offer canoe, kayak classes

PADDLING – The Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club is launching its annual series of paddling classes for canoeists as well as whitewater and sea kayakers starting next weekend.

The classes are taught by qualified instructors as follows:

May  18 ­– Flatwater solo and tandem canoeing.

June 21-22Beginning whitewater kayaking.

June 28-29Moving water canoeing.

July 16, 19, 20Sea kayaking.

Cost for each class is $55 per paddler and participants must become club members.

Sign up: 448-9214, or email dianecadams@asisna.com.