Posted 07 September 2015 - 08:23 PM
Posted 07 September 2015 - 10:57 PM
After taking my daughter tubing several years ago, I then understood why. I had a very bad experience when I tried tubing. I'll save you the details but it was truly frightening. People will either tell you they love it or tell you that it is very dangerous.
I was reading some comments on a site that rented tubes out, and what you stated there is exactly the general consensus. People either are scared to death of it, or they cant wait to do it again.
Having been to the Esopus enough times when the portal is open I can vouch that if wading is difficult, I would never jump on a thin rubber thing and ride it downstream. The combo of no steering and debris jambed up in places makes it downright crazy.
Its a terrible thing what happened, I cant imagine what that father is feeling right now. CJ
Posted 08 September 2015 - 01:49 PM
When I was a kid in the 1970s it was standard procedure to go to the gas station in Phoenicia ("The Alamo"), get truck tubes from a pile, have them patched and filled, and go tubing. Parents provided drop off and pick up. Later on, as teenagers, we handled that ourselves. We'd go in at the "red bridge" (the downstream bridge) in Phoenicia and get out at Mt. Tremper at the now-closed bridge and swimming hole. I don't remember any accidents in those days, though there must have been some, and certainly don't remember any fatalities.
But it's a business now and a lot of people go tubing, so I suppose it's inevitable.
In the Freeman piece a tube shop owner mentions the "strainer" at the cemetery access. I know exactly what he's talking about, and at 800 cfs for a recreational release, I can see how someone could get stuck. If you were fishing and crazy enough to try and wade into that spot, and lost your footing, you'd be in big trouble. Those releases are meant for the kayakers, who know a lot more about white water than somebody just out for a day in an inner tube. Tubing in that kind of flow is foolish; the tube shops should shut it down above 300 cfs or something like that.
Posted 08 September 2015 - 02:44 PM
About 7 years ago I took a personal day(weekday) and was fishing well downstream of the cemetery pool (where I had parked). As I was making my way back upstream I first saw a few empty tubes...then some flip flops floating downstream ??? Long story short I came around the bend and I see a bunch of teenage girls on the bank crying......2 more (that didn't speak English well apparently) in mid stream, with no tube...holding onto a fallen tree branch also crying and screaming. Soooo.....I dropped my gear and waded out taking them each separately to the river bank.....then I walked the whole group (including 2 female counselors that seemed to be about 18 yrs old) upstream close to the bank.......and then assisted them in crossing cemetery pool back to the rt.32 side....the only way I could convince some to even get in the water was I put a tube between myself and them and kept them on the upstream side assuring them they won't drift past me downstream. The 2 girls that lost their tubing actually seemed to be deathly afraid of water and could not swim which made me question why the hell they were taken there in the first place. They had a school or camp bus they drove there themselves (not a part of Tinker Tube at all). Two of the girls kissed me on the cheek and thanked me for "saving their lives" which I kind of internally laughed at inside at the time - because there was no recreational release and the water was not that high. Nevertheless I continued fishing that day happy that my 1 1/2 hour "interruption" was finally over.
Posted 12 September 2015 - 02:05 PM
I'll have a more detailed report later, with photos, but the gist is that with rain Wednesday night and a nice steady rain Thursday afternoon and evening, coupled with evening temps dipping below 60, the fishing on the Esopus was pretty good Thursday and Friday. Until late last night, when I coaxed a brown out of the depths, I caught nothing but silver bullet rainbows, mostly on wet flies. Yellow soft hackle was a particular favorite. At one point I said the hell with it and swung three of them at a time, hoping for a rainbow triple. This highly unlikely scenario did not come to pass.
I have some info on the drowning accident too. Stay tuned.
OK, sad stuff first. The accident occurred here, just downstream of the Shandaken cemetery access. This pile of stuff, limbs and logs and root systems, really became nasty after the 2011 flooding, not that it wasn't bad before.
Bear in mind that this photo was taken Thursday with the Esopus at just under 200 cfs. The drowning happened during the first day of the Labor Day recreational release at 800 cfs. So imagine this tangled mess with four times as much water.
Here is a very complete article about it:
Just awful — but you're out of your mind if you get in an inner tube and go down the river at 800 cfs.
Meanwhile, I played around with my new Cortland 10.5 foot 3 weight and nymphs in the newly popular manner. But most of the crazy little bows took regular wet flies. In two days I probably caught 40 of them, ranging from six to 12 inches.
It was hard to come back to Conn. this morning, it's cool with some good cloud cover and I can't believe the fishing would be anything other than good. But I have to work. Dammit.
Posted 14 September 2015 - 02:33 PM
I have tubed down the esopus many times, most recently a few weeks ago. When I went (out of town tinker) they dropped you off well below the cemetary. I didn't know why until I went up there to fish the next day and saw that exact spot and said "Oh well I guess that is why they aren't starting trips here anymore". There is no way you could have gotten through.
Personally, I think it is safer at higher flows than low. At low flows you hit way more rocks and are more likely to flip over and hit your head. I have never gone at 800 cfs, but at 500 you are less likely to fall off than you are at 175cfs in my experience.
I can't believe that FS was starting trips above the cemetary at all.
Posted 16 September 2015 - 02:44 AM
I wish I did not read it. I feel terrible for that girl's father.
Same here...I just cant imagine that scene.
One thing to take away from tragedy's like this, be careful out there. Water is a bitch sometimes, and those rocks are hard as hell. I for one purposely only buy and wear waist high waders to keep me from doing stupid wading antics, which in the past almost drowned me more than once. Nothing wakes you up like a good near death experience. CJ
Posted 18 September 2015 - 11:48 PM
I agree , especially after seeing that timber jam in that fall where they had the drowning accident,, I too did tubing in my early days a few times and knew to stay far away from such log debri.. I was crazy enough to slip below in deep pools by the campsite and swim low looking to see what fish I could see.. After, thought to myself how dangerous it was if I GOT STUCK in a log in the flow.. anyway, sad to read such a report,,my condolences to the family
Posted 26 September 2015 - 02:00 PM
I was over Wednesday through Friday of this week. Portal opened up a bit, so I had to go to Mt. Tremper and below to find reasonably clear water. Visibility below Five Arches good. Caught a lot of little wild browns and the usual rainbows, nothing of any size. Isonychia in any configuration was the popular favorite for flies, and I include a brassie soft-hackle in that mix.
Tribs are all low, as is the Esopus above the Portal.
I was looking for spawners to annoy but saw nothing. They must still be in the bar, doing the preliminary chatting.
Posted 29 September 2015 - 12:54 AM
I put a boat in Ashokan after several years prior fishing both the res from shore and the creek... caught monster trophies with sawbellies including 9 lb resi bow on sawbelly.. today it seems miraculous compared to what i use to do thier with eggsacks and bait in the resi.. so patrick i ask you for ole time sack.. what do you think the fishiery there is compared to years ago (80's /90s?... I care less for recreational kayak tubers ,, looking at that freestone and all the acess...poor fish have it hard enough imho... IF i were in control of trout stockings , I'd stock RE-walleye browns even rainbow after all the bs floods and populous incroachment there in that impoundment.. but that is my opinion after four decades visiting that beautiful valley
Posted 29 September 2015 - 12:32 PM
Well, that's a tricky one. We've had: flooding; rock snot; changes in length of season, slot limits; increased tubing; silty discharges from the Portal.
I know guys who are convinced that the browns are crowding out the rainbows. Others will argue just as forcefully that Portal silt is destroying insect life. It goes on and on.
But what I notice is that the same tactics I used in 1985 generally produce similar results in 2015. Swing a team of wets through the riffles, and you'll catch silver bullet bows. Drift a Stimulator past a boulder at dawn and chances are a nice brown will attack.
The latest wrinkle is a slot limit to go with the five fish bag limit. (Of the five kept, only two may be over 12 inches.) This was a compromise between the status quo and establishing a no-kill section from the Portal to the Five Arches Bridge, or some portion therein.
It's a very resilient river.
Some longe-range projects will help. There have been some flood control efforts, but far more important, there is a program for streamside landowners along the tribs to repair flood damage and plant the sort of bushes and trees that will make banks more stable.
Right now I'd say the two biggest problems are: the turbid Portal discharges, and the relentless stocking of brown trout.
On the former, I find it difficult to believe that some sort of mechanism for reducing silt cannot be devised. Of course, it won't happen if the NYC water people remain uninterested.
On the latter, I keep thinking of Montana, where nobody has stocked a trout in decades, and the effort went instead to restoring the overall habitat.
I'd like to see a five-year experiment, with a no-kill zone from the Portal on down, and no stocking at all. See what happens. If it's a bust, it will be apparent soon enough.
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