It took just a split second after setting our eyes on the Minam River to know our hopes for a superb weekend of fishing were being dashed.
Heading down the grade east of Elgin, we could see the river was high.
And if the Minam was substantial, so would be the Wallowa, which the Minam joined at the turnoff to the Minam State Receation Space, where we planned to remain for a weekend of fishing on June 4-6.
We’d gotten an inkling of what was in store when we crossed the Grande Ronde River in Elgin. It, far too, was brown with the mountain snow melt runoff.
The week prior to introduced higher temperatures into the location, creating the snow soften and large water.
But that wasn’t going to prevent my pal, Alfred Diaz, and me from the weekend outdoors.
It was also a shakedown tour in Alfred’s vacation trailer, which we’re setting up on getting to Yellowstone Countrywide Park for a canoeing trip in July.
So, undaunted, we turned still left off the Wallowa Lake Highway and headed the two miles to the campground.
Trucks and trailers lined the boat launches on the west facet of the Wallowa River, with rafts at the all set to head down the swollen river. Rafts have been also tied at the all set at the Minam Store on the other side of the river.
Right after setting up the trailer at the stunning tenting area, we took a closer glimpse at the Wallowa River, which flowed large on the banking institutions as it headed to be a part of the Grande Ronde miles downriver.
It did not search fantastic for fishing, but we figured we’d try it in the morning in any case. So, we acquired some firewood at the park kiosk, experienced some supper and sorted by way of our gear for what we hoped would be the initial genuine fishing trip of the year.
The subsequent morning, we headed throughout the campground to moist some strains in the nonetheless-higher river the milky drinking water left us with minor expectation of getting any luck.
But there have been a number of other anglers making an attempt out the water, so it’s possible we’d have extra of a shot than we considered.
And it was very good to solid off the fly fishing rust in the early morning sun.
A little bit windy, but not adequate to threaten to mail a fly into anyone’s neck!
After a pair hours, we conceded to the river and went back to camp for breakfast.
We had been just about ready to head out to discover other waters to fish — probably upstream wouldn’t be so substantial, we thought — when a fellow camper hurried by with undesirable information. A raft experienced just flipped, reportedly on the rapids close to exactly where we’d been fishing that early morning, and a rafter was lacking.
Fishing instantly left our minds, and we headed throughout the campground to consider to enable out.
We saw two women of all ages wrapped in blankets staying cared for, and ended up instructed by some people aiding the ladies to head down the path toward the river.
A group was collected around the river, where the overturned raft had been tied to a tree, nonetheless upside down.
A single of the rafters, still soaking soaked and definitely in distress, led the hard work to get his raft turned upright.
It was his pal who was missing, the two women of all ages in blankets their wives, it seemed.
A pair of rescue rafts then rapidly floated previous, searching for the missing male.
We all then headed downriver on a path to see if we could help the lookup, but the rafts rounded the bend downriver without halting.
A couple of jet boats then sped downriver, and we headed back to the campground. Law enforcement and medics arrived, and had been caring for the rafters and getting statements.
A short time afterwards, term came in that the missing rafter experienced been discovered downriver he hadn’t survived the ice-cold drinking water of the Wallowa.
When it became evident there was almost nothing additional to be finished, Alfred and I decided to move forward with our working day, albeit with weighty hearts. We explored some of the creeks flowing into the Wallowa River, but did not uncover any good spots to fish, and ended up in the town of Wallowa, where by we stopped for a chilly beer prior to heading back again to camp.
There, we opted for hiking about the campground somewhat than heading back to the fishing region.
We came across a little memorial close to the river, but it had no doubt been there awhile. A tribute for an previously tragedy, we speculated.
The upcoming working day, we broke camp and resolved to head up Highway 82 to Summit Street, involving Elgin and Tollgate, to explore that area. There was however snow in the spot, and a definite chill in the air, at 5,000-in addition toes at the Umatilla Rim Path head.
Fishing at the smaller pond there did not glimpse promising, so we headed household.
A weekend compared with what we’d predicted, but a single highlighting the need to have to be incredibly watchful about significant water.