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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I want to tell you a true story that happened in the canyon about 15 years ago. This isn't a fishing topic but sort of is because I was fishing the day this happened. I thought about posting it in the "Off Topic" section but I think it will get more attention here. This is a lesson we anglers can use.

My favorite starting point is just above the rough and tumble section in the upper section a short distance downstream from the second bridge below the dam. It's where the sign on the other side of the river warns not to float the next section.

I was fishing across from the sign when a family of four consisting of mother, father, son in his early teens and a daughter came down the river in inner tubes. They went down that terrible section below the sign, which I call the Fairchild section. A while later, I worked my way below the Fairchild section and was fishing in the river in the steep canyon below when I heard a siren coming up the canyon. I later learned the son wanted to do the Fairchild section again so he walked up to my starting point and launched his tube. He didn't make it. He hit his head on a boulder, which knocked him unconscious, which caused him to drown. They couldn't find the body and didn't for several years.

The year they found it, I was in the area below the Fairchild section and again, I heard a siren coming up the canyon. What I learned later that day is I fished just a few yards from the skeleton of this young boy but didn't see it because it was jammed under a large boulder. Apparently, another angler found it.

Authorities weren't sure where they would find the boy so to possibly catch the body, they stretched a net across the dam at the mouth of the canyon in that section just above the deep plunge pool near the pay booth.

It was that incident that prompted the Forest Service or perhaps the Water Board to place the sign across from my starting point.

I think about that boy every time I fish the canyon. I can only wonder how much grief the family must have suffered all these years.

For your information, I call it the Fairchild section because a very good friend of mine, whose surname is Fairchild, fishes that section diligently and catches a lot of fish. I used to fish that section too, many years ago, but that was when I was older. I'm younger than that now.
 

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Somewhat of a similar story only about 1000 miles northwest. One of my first fishing trips on the Deschutes River in Oregon the other two I was with wanted to have breakfast at the Oasis Cafe. While there we heard from a ranger that a rafter had been lost up river but wasn't able to be recovered. He asked those in the cafe if they would keep an eye out if we were going down river. Around noon, while fishing we thought we saw a log floating down the river but quickly realized it was the body....had traveled somewhere around 10 miles from where the individual had been lost. We wrapped up our fishing and drove back to the the Deschutes Fly Shop and had them call the rangers. We gave them the area where we spotted the floating body and related that by then the body was probably another 1/2 mile or so down the river.

Just from our observation it seemed the body had no life vest on so either it went into the river without or it was lost while the body floated down river. Needless to say that made quite an impression on us.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pilotfly,

That is really creepy. I've often thought of how I would have felt had my fly been snagged on something and I reached in the water to release it only to find human bones.

I've thought how strange it was I was there the day he died and the day they found him.

On another occasion, I was in the canyon and saw a fly fisher working a run. His son was trying to walk a steep wall. I knew he would wind up in the river an that's exactly what happened. The father was able to grab his son by the collar and rescue him. I'm sure the shock of the cold water sent sharp pains through the boy's body and I'm sure it taught him a lesson.
 

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I've felt the power of the river firsthand.

I went on a 5 day, 50 mile whitewater sit on top kayak trip on the border of California and Oregon when I was in Boy Scouts. We came to a point where the river split. The right side were decent rapids but it was wide open. The left side were some rapids that did a little zig zag through some rock walls.

Being an older scout I was tasked with making sure everyone made it through the rapids and then being the caboose and the last through.

I chose the zig zag to the left. I went through and at the end didn't realize it was a 3-4 foot drop. Would've been fine but another scout was stuck in the pool spinning circles in his yak. When I made the dropped my kayak hit his and dislodged him from being stuck in the pool but it threw me out. The force of the waterfall pushed me down and down.

I had a lifevest and tried to swim to the surface but couldn't. I finally quit struggling and thought for sure I was going to drown. As it got darker and darker my back hit the bottom and like a rocket I shot to the surface!

It was a very scary 45 seconds or so. I really thought I was going to drown!

Makes for a great story though :)
 

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Pilotfly,

That is really creepy. I've often thought of how I would have felt had my fly been snagged on something and I reached in the water to release it only to find human bones.

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Kinda like the Longmire episode where a fisherman finds a dead body in the river and a comment was made that he caught him on a Parachute Adams. lol
 

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I've felt the power of the river firsthand.

I went on a 5 day, 50 mile whitewater sit on top kayak trip on the border of California and Oregon when I was in Boy Scouts. We came to a point where the river split. The right side were decent rapids but it was wide open. The left side were some rapids that did a little zig zag through some rock walls.

Being an older scout I was tasked with making sure everyone made it through the rapids and then being the caboose and the last through.

I chose the zig zag to the left. I went through and at the end didn't realize it was a 3-4 foot drop. Would've been fine but another scout was stuck in the pool spinning circles in his yak. When I made the dropped my kayak hit his and dislodged him from being stuck in the pool but it threw me out. The force of the waterfall pushed me down and down.

I had a lifevest and tried to swim to the surface but couldn't. I finally quit struggling and thought for sure I was going to drown. As it got darker and darker my back hit the bottom and like a rocket I shot to the surface!

It was a very scary 45 seconds or so. I really thought I was going to drown!

Makes for a great story though :)

For sure a scary moment. While never involved myself but with my whitewater experience if you get a caught in a pour over and/or hole like you were the best thing to do, while it wouldn't seem like it at the time, is to push yourself down to the bottom of the hole and out of the 'washing machine' water that is in the top few feet of water and get to calmer water at the bottom. Swim downstream and you'll pop right up down river - kinda like what you experienced. Staying calm is key, easier said then done though...
 

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ssoren1,

Once I quit fighting I was pushed to the bottom and literally shot up like a rocket after that!

It was an amazing display of power.
 

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Good info on this thread. As much time as I spend around running water.....good to know that key to a hole like that....a life saver, literally.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Regarding wading in moving water, my rule has always been to never be in water above my knees. If I can't get to one of my favorite spots because the water is too high, the little fishies will just have to wait till I'm there when water is suitable.
 

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many years ago when fishing the canyon, I had no rubber boots or waders and was standing on the rocks in my hunting boots that were waterproof, so I didn't mind a little water running over the rocks I was standing on. t was able to work most of the hole but as I moved a foot closer to the edge, my feet hid some slick moss and down I went into the hole I hit the back of my head on the rock and got knocked out for a moment, as luck would have it I landed on a rock about 3 feet under and that cold water shock brought me back, I was able to climb out. I had to sit for a few minutes to get my wits about me then another few minutes to climb up to the road. my father in law was about 200 yards above me and didn't know anything was wrong till he saw me stripping out of my wet clothes and the blood running down my back. the goose egg on my head took a week to go down
 

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So the last few years a handful of us float the Green River below Flaming Gorge in November. Actually just got back last weekend. Anyways two years ago three guys went back I think the weekend after Thanksgiving. They high centered on a rock below Mother-in-Law rapid and stern filled with water. They had to jump ship. The boat owner stuck with the boat in the water and somehow was able to guide it to shallower water where it finally sunk and got hung up on a rock. All three were able to swim out and hike to Little Hole. Luckily keys to the vehicle were in his waders and not the boat. Next day fly shop let them borrow some ropes, pulleys, etc. Boat owner jumped back into the water to hook up the drifter and they pulled it out. Boat was fine and only thing I think lost a rod and a few misc items. Floated on out. For sure lucky and lucky the weather that year was mild. A year previous temps were in teens and windy. Many lessons learned but probably the one I get out of it is never get too comfortable with any type of water. **** happens fast!
 

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I've pulled two people from river water. One kid at the tunnel at Horsetooth slid down the dirt bank into the inlet. This was during the walleye spawn and the water was cold and ripping. Buddy and I ran almost to the walk bridge to get out in front. One step and I was thigh deep holding onto my buddies arm. Grabbed the kids shirt and swung him to shore. Guess he lived up around there because he just ran away crying; couldn't have been but 9 or 10 and I should have followed him...oh well. Second was five years or so ago at the East Portal on the Gunnison. Father and son, despite me warning them not to try, attempted to cross. Twenty minutes later down stream I go to re-cast up and here's this kid(15-16ish). Again, one step and right into the waist deep run. Grab him but could only swing him close to the bank before I had to let him go. He managed to get out at an eddy few yards down. Not so much as a thank you from these two as they rushed up the hill. Probably scared to death.
The only water death I've seen were two kayakers; years apart in the 90's on the Poudre River. One folded around a bridge pylon, the other wrapped on a rock. Both sky blue when the S&R winch pulled their boats free. Blue is not a good color on a human. Guy on the pylon had both femurs snapped.
Be careful, be respectful, and plan your escape route for the worst case scenario; even then accidents happen. I know I've taken my share of adrenaline tours.
 
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