Professor Paddle: Umatilla River
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BobClass4
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Joined: 10 May 2012
Location: United States
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Posts: 3
  Quote BobClass4 Replybullet Topic: Umatilla River
    Posted: 12 May 2012 at 9:13pm
The last 3 miles of the Umatilla River in Oregon has some good man-made play features, that were created to help migrating fish.
 
The river is about 30 yards wide. The river bed is basalt bedrock with very few individual rocks.
 
In its original state, it was difficult for the fish to migraqte upstream during low water. So, some government agency carved out  a fish migration channel through the basalt riverbed. This fish migration channel is about 12 feet wide and maybe 3 or 4 feet deeper than the undesturbed rverbed.
 
The people who carved out the fish migration channel, also created a few submerged wier like features to slow the water down.
 
These features make some really good play spots. I've jokingly told people that one hole is the best place in the world for learning how to do flat spins. Another hole is really pretty good, and the only problem with it is you have to roll up quickly if you flip before you get into some fast shallow water. These are small/medium wave holes with very nice eddy service. Some of my friends play their way down the river, but I honestly think I'm the only person who does park-and-play there anymore.
 
The funny thing is that I don't consisder myself to be a water park type of person, but the fact is most of my playboating is on these man-made features.
 
For the last several years I haven't been doing much white water kayaking from about July through January, and these play features really help me get back into the sport each year around March or February.
 
You need to see the river at a summer time level like 100 cfs to really see that fish migration channel. At the normal playboating levels, you wouldn't know the river had been modified.
 
 
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