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family float 4-1/2


ColdWaterFshr

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Had a nice family float on the Jacks Fork this past weekend. Lot of work,

but the kids had a GREAT time. Camped on the river near Jam-up cave.

Kids threw rocks till their arms were sore, and my 5 yr old son became a casting pro with his Zebco 202. I took about 15 minutes with the flyrod and

pulled in 2 small bluegill. Meanwhile, just a few feet away, my

brothers little girl, age 6, is reeling in smallmouth after

smallmouth.

Weather was perfect, until about 2 in the morning saturday night when

it stormed. I was VERY concerned about being on the gravel bar, so I

didn't sleep much. We packed up early and paddled on down to Rhymers.

The Jacks Fork is an amazing river if you've never floated it. Maybe

the most scenic in the state. Huge bluffs around every bend, and the

water is beautiful clear green with big chunk rock bottom. The

hardwoods were all still bare, but that made for a nice view of the

hillsides which were dotted with white dogwoods and redbud.

I took some pictures with my new toy, an Optio WPi-10 waterproof

camera. Didn't take any underwater, but I did jump out of the canoe

with it in my pocket. Nice not to have to worry about it. I will

post those up when I get the chance.

Hindsight: probably very foolish to take 3 small kids and the wife in

a loaded canoe, and camp on a river famous for flash-flooding when the

forecast is calling for isolated severe weather. We may have dodged a

bullet.

There were quite a few people out. Counted at least 20 canoes on our short 5 mile float.

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I heard the upper section (Prongs to Alley) doesn't get heavy use in the summer, generally due to inconsistent flows and lack of outfitters on the upper river.

If water is favorable in May and we put in at Prongs, you're saying we'll be in an armada?

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My experience with the upper river in May is you will see some locals on the weekend and very few people during the week. I typically go the weekend before Memorial Day (Thur-Sun), and will usually see other campers, but not many. Last year saw like 2 other canoes Thur, and literally no one on Fri, with people beginning about where the car camping access begins above Bay.

But even that wasn't much.

The oddest people seen (heard) was after I had hit the tent someone went paddling by in the dark! They obviously had more confidence than I do, although it was a full moon.

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Steve who is available to shuttle on the upper end? Do you know the charge?

Your story of the night paddlers reminded me of a time on the Eleven Point, over 20 years ago. A good friend, his brother, my son, and myself took a 3 day float in which we put in at Greer and camped about a mile down river. The next day we ran into a couple, friends of opposite gender, who had dumped. They ask to borrow a cigarette, exchanged some information, and went on ahead of us. That night we camped on a gravel bar and just as it was getting dark, here came the pair paddling full steam past our camp. They had a good 5 miles to go in the dark including at the time a tricky maneuver right above Riverton. I'll never forget that and don't plan on ever making the same mistake of getting caught unprepared on a river after dark.

Today's release is tomorrows gift to another fisherman.

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On the river in the dark. Just can't see it. I guess if I knew the river really well, but the 'ole risk/reward profile would seem to tilt to far to the risk side.

I use Harvey's Alley Spring Canoe Rental. I'm sure the other liveries do just fine - Harvey's is convenient being there at Alley, and I have never had any problems with them.

Last year it was $100 for Thur-Sun, included the shuttle.

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