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Post Info TOPIC: Yuba River: Launching a raft below Englebright Dam


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Yuba River: Launching a raft below Englebright Dam
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Hey Guys,

I've heard rumors of some Putah anglers carrying rafts down to the base of Englebright dam and launching down stream (portaging on the narrows class iv section). There’s a kayaking guide for this run, but from what I can tell, they’ve closed all access off from the public since the guide was published (2001). Is  this true?!? I’ve got the boat to do the run and have been dreaming of floating it for years. Thanks for any input You might have. 

phil



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You know the Yuba is closed down to the Highway 20 bridge until Jan 1?

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the Yuba above highway 20 has always opened on December 1st. 

 

 



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I think public access below Englebright was closed after 9/11. I have never seen kayakers above the Hwy 20 bridge in the past 15 years. In fact I think the only people I have seen floating any part of this section are Clay Hash and Frank R.. Yuba River Drifters has the only boat access above the bridge. Their club access starts below the narrows. You can pay $1000 a year for wade access. They have a lower launch that is two riffles above the bridge. I think this option is about $750/year. The float option also includes takeout at the hunting ranch by Daguerre.

For public launch you can only float from the Hwy 20 bridge to Sycamore.

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chris


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Thanks for getting back to me with a helpful response! 



-- Edited by hares_ear on Friday 11th of December 2020 08:28:30 AM

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Hares Ear I received some additional information from another person this week. This is all second hand, so fair warning on if you are willing to make the adventure. I also think Lightfoot from this board has also been up there and posted about some of the characters he has run into. He is in Michigan now, but could chime in. Access is from Englebright Lake. First you have to row across the lake. Once across there is a very steep access road into the canyon. He said you should definitely portage the narrows as there several hazards. Something like an overhead rock section you can get stuck in. He also said the access to Englebright Lake has been closed much of this year due to Covid. Both sides of the river are private property so beware as these landowners could make your adventure like a scene out of Deliverance... Good luck if you decide to make the adventure.

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chris


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I'll post up later, i'm on lunch break. I've done the Engelbright to the bridge float multiple times.


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Winter eats heat the way darkness swallows light. The terrors of failed power and frozen stems are stymied with fire, smoke and white ash.

Cedarville, Mi



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Just be careful if you hear banjos playing....

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How about gunfire. A friend and I had bullets dancing around us (about a dozen shots) as we floated through the canyon in a rubber raft. My guess was pot growers that wanted us to hurry along.

We took a $40 rubber raft (multiple trips) across the lake, carried it up the bank and down the pg&e access road that runs to the base of the dam. How legal, no idea and back then we didn't bother to figure it out.

The water right at the base of the dam looks really good but we never caught any fish there. There used to be 3 really short riffles a few hundred yards below the dam that eventually emptied into a large pool. Those 3 little runs put out over 40 fish in about an hour, typical Yuba 14-16 inchers with a few bigger and smaller thrown in. The larger pool they ran into put out almost as many fish with some toads.

Below that spot there was a ton of great looking water but ZERO fish. It took awhile to figure it out, turning over rocks revealed there were no bugs. All of the rocks in that area were basically polished clean top and bottom. A dredging operation was in that area (other possibility for getting shot at). In reality, they could have hit us if they wanted. All of the bullets were consistently hitting within 5-10 feet of the raft. IE, take your raft and move along, nothing to see here.

There were 2 small islands below that and before you get into the actual "narrows". Those little islands had a ton of fish around them. Below the second island is a set of rapids that require a portage on the right hand side. It is not possible to portage a raft around the left side. If you attempt to just float through the rapids it is doable but not recommended. There is a back eddy that will swallow you and the raft, spitting you back to the surface in the slow stuff below. First hand experience with what not to do.....don't be dumb. Portage around the right hand side. Attach a 50 - 100 foot rope to the raft and walk the bank, easy peasy.

The slow water in the "narrows" is deep. Despite massive amounts of weight and stupid long leaders we could not get our flies to the bottom. Fishing the upper water column never resulted in any fish. Your mileage may vary. It's a long slow drift from the rapids to the opening of the narrows and old Leo's trailer down below.

Where the narrows comes out into the first tailout was Yuba trout nirvana. By far and without equal, my happy place on the Yuba.

A cheapo rubber raft with a piece of plywood cut to shape for the bottom is the ticket. Use duck tape around the edges to prevent popping the raft. In thin moving water, just bail out the side and tie the raft onto your wading belt with a carabiner. Wade and fish until you are ready to move on, pull the raft back to you, jump in and move to the next run. No need to beach the raft on shore unless you want to fish the deeper runs. Is it trespass to float the river, no idea and not the reason for posting. We watched people in prams floating the lower river, no comparison.

When my buddy and I made our first trip down the narrows we each had a 100+ fish day and swore to never tell anybody else about it. We eventually parted ways, he took somebody else, I moved out of state etc etc etc. The cat was out of the bag over 10 years ago and this isn't the first time I've shared the info. Any more specifics try a pm.



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Winter eats heat the way darkness swallows light. The terrors of failed power and frozen stems are stymied with fire, smoke and white ash.

Cedarville, Mi



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Otter wrote:

Hares Ear I received some additional information from another person this week. This is all second hand, so fair warning on if you are willing to make the adventure. I also think Lightfoot from this board has also been up there and posted about some of the characters he has run into. He is in Michigan now, but could chime in. Access is from Englebright Lake. First you have to row across the lake. Once across there is a very steep access road into the canyon. He said you should definitely portage the narrows as there several hazards. Something like an overhead rock section you can get stuck in. He also said the access to Englebright Lake has been closed much of this year due to Covid. Both sides of the river are private property so beware as these landowners could make your adventure like a scene out of Deliverance... Good luck if you decide to make the adventure.


 We floated it pre 9/11.  There were typical buoys tied out in front of the dam for a don't go past point.  Same as Berryessa, I doubt that's changed much.  The paved access road to the bottom is easy peasy.   No overhead rock section I know of back when we ran it.  I'm not sure how or where that could have developed, seems odd.  You need to start your portage at the downstream right side of the second island.  Getting sucked under, including the raft, is no fun.



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Winter eats heat the way darkness swallows light. The terrors of failed power and frozen stems are stymied with fire, smoke and white ash.

Cedarville, Mi

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