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Thread: Floating Upper Willow

  1. #1

    Default Floating Upper Willow

    Anyone putting in at Shirley Town needs to be aware of the sweepers, the worst is about a mile or so down from the bridge. Watched a few people flip and spoke to someone that lives right there. Apparently over a dozen different boats have gone in with thousands of dollars in gear lost. One of the rafts I saw flip lost a 460, two fly rods and various other gear. State tried to cut the tree out but could only get a small section. Another area a couple miles down we had to portage, no way through. Keep your eyes open and scout a little.

  2. #2
    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    I scout every blind corner on that stretch every trip as it changes frequently, potentially on the daily. There is mucho debris in the river from the 2012 flood to include boards with nails and sections of sharp metal roofing. If your an amateur boater, stay off this section of river.

    Fishkill: what department of the state tried to cut the out the tree. Just curious.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

  3. #3

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    No idea, homeowner right at the sweeper told us about it.

  4. #4

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    Funny how opinions are. I talked to someone taking out at the parks last week, they had just done shirley down, and I asked how it was. They said "great, real easy, couple sticks to avoid." I said, "cool, ok for beginner?" They said, "definitely." Glad I didn't go float it...

    So I got a fishcat 13 this year and have done lower willow 6 or 7 time already. There is a couple tricky little turns and sticks to avoid...pretty forgiving though...feeling very confident on this stretch of river with my abilities. My old man will be here july 2-9 and I wanted to float him down the upper part, since fishing should be best in the upper around then, But with posts like this I am timid since I am new. Could someone explain in detail the difficult spots and how to safely get through them? I have a light boat so portaging is not a major issue. Besides scouting every corner and being aware, how can I prepare? Or should I just stay off this stretch until someone with more knowledge can take me down?? Thanks!

  5. #5
    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    A fishcat 13 is a sweet boat. I've rowed one down the upper stretch numerous times.
    I'm a pretty cautious boater as I've seen things go bad many times during my experience on small creeks and big whitewater rivers throughout the state and beyond. If you too are cautious, you SHOULD be fine launching at shirleytown. Seriously though, scout every blind corner. Take no chances. Most of the time you'll see a clear path or the move you need to make. Don't get lazy and skip a scout. Try to get out there with another boat or two and preferably with someone who has done it before. You'll need more time for that stretch than from the highway to the mouth. Especially your first trip, with all the scouting you'll need to do. Several times you'll see other floatable channels breaking off the main stem. Stay left.
    I'd be happy to float/fish it with you near the end of the month sometime.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

  6. #6

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    I wish I could give you more difinitive direction. The sweeper that had been getting people you can avoid on the left. The portage was a quarter mile from it and obviously a bad section as the rive split into three channels and all were filled with wood. A guy that lives on the river tried to stay in and go right, didn't work real well and we helped him empty his raft of water. The lower the water levels, the tougher it gets, it was pretty low when I was there.

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