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Thread: Using leaves to pick braided channels?

  1. #1
    Member BrowningLeverAction's Avatar
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    Default Using leaves to pick braided channels?

    I heard a rumor that was attributed to an old river guide on the best way to pick a channel in shallow braids, such as the ones on the Chulitna River. He says that if you drop a leaf in the water upstream of the braid, it will naturally choose the best route for your boat to take. I'm wondering if any of you have tried this, and if it works?

  2. #2

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    I have used sticks and logs before, which gave me a good idea on the current, worked well to check the flow. Seems to me a would be too affected by wind??
    Goo

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    I have also thrown sticks and stuff to float and find the braid with the most water. I've picked the deepest looking channel only to find out it gets really wide and shallow. I've taken skinny braids in my kayak and found them to slightly narrow up and run deep. In the end it usually comes down to......Eeny meeny miney mo

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I don't think this practice will result in anything workable over the long haul. the leaf or stick is gonna float wherever the current takes it, regardless of which braid has the most water. You're much better off doing the hard work of downstream scouting on foot.

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    Mike in retrospect- I was mainly looking at holes and lines using this practice in white water--
    Goo

  6. #6

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    I've noticed that ducks seem to always take the floatable channels, especially true with braids that are hard to pin down in the bright evening or early morning light. when in doubt, follow them out...

  7. #7

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    From my experience on the Chulitna a couple of years ago, following the most flow was not always the best choice. Several times in the braided section, the bulk of the flow was leading into a new channel full of recently flooded trees. For me the tough choice was to find which of the treeless braids held enough water to float the raft.

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    I find myself just trying to pick the braid with the most water and choosing that. More often than not it's the right choice. Occasionaly it's not and I'll be stuck dragging for a short stretch. Usually by then I'm ready to get out of the boat and stretch my legs anyways. Although I've been lucky and have only had to drag 200 yds at the most. With all 4 of us out of the boat it's usually pretty easy. Also, sometimes being 1-2 feet too far left or right can make the difference between floating and dragging. Keep the heaviest part of your boat in the deepest water.

    Last year I made sure that everything with any weight to it was off the floor of my round raft and suspended from the frame in a drop bag, box, cargo platform, etc. That made a big difference over the year before on the same very braided Arctic river.

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    Member BrowningLeverAction's Avatar
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    I have definitely gotten better at picking the right braid. Usually the riffles are a good indicator, although not always. I thought this tip seemed a little too good to be true and seems to fly in the face of common sense. I may try it anyway just as an experiment, while also using my normal route-picking techniques.

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