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Pacific Northwest

jfkraus

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Boating tips, experiences and discussions for the Pacific Northwest.
 

PolarXJ

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For your area or all of the PNW? I will mention all of the waters I have been boating on.

For your area (I lived there for 2 years): Lake Washington, Arrive to the ramps EARLY on days with temps above 75 the ramps pack full of people that shouldn't have boats and can't back down a trailer. So if you go after 8am, go with a lot of patience.

Puget Sound: Ramps aren't near as bad, however make sure to check weather forecast for afternoon winds. The wind rips through parts of it and kick up a pretty good swell that can get people in a lot of trouble. Also having a VHF in the sound is very good to have to communicate with the large volume of commercial vessels, or calling for help.

Upper Columbia River (Tri-Cities, WA area): Check out a chart of the river area you plan to boat so you have an idea of where the shallow areas are. The upper reaches by Hanford get very shallow, where Jetdrive is the only recommended way to get there. The beginnings of Lake Wallula above McNary Dam have a lot of shallow areas so follow channel markers, even with jetdrive you can find bottom.

Mid Columbia River (McNary Dam - Bonneville Dam): Again check charts for shallow areas. There are a lot of rock formations that are just below the surface of the water around the edges of the river. Watch for breaking water away from shore to help spot trouble areas. This area is frequently VERY VERY windy. So keep an eye out for the hundreds of wind surfers / kite surfers. Also this area has a decent amount of barge traffic so keep a look out for them, as they have the right of way and will not leave the channel to avoid a collision. So if you are floating in the channel be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Lower Columbia River (Bonneville Dam - Portland): Closer to the dam has some shallows and submerged danger areas. Check charts like usual. Towards Portland/Vancouver the waters are generally good and obstruction free. Keep an eye out for logs. Especially in early spring the winter runoff brings a lot of logs into the river.

Snake River (Between Hells Canyon Dam and Farewell Bend): Water levels here fluctuate A LOT. Especially middle to end of summer. Check water levels and what ramps are open before making a trip out as Brownlee Res. is very low and usually ony has one ramp left in the water by the end of summer. With the variable water levels, rock formations that are clear at full pool are easy to hit when water level starts dropping. Stay away from the canyon walls to avoid them, and go at idle speed keeping a sharp watch for submerged rocks when approaching shorelines.

Snake River (Below Hells Canyon Dam to Lewiston, ID/Clarkston, WA): Rapids. Serious aluminum jetboats with big power, rafts, kayaks, and driftboats are all I would dare to take out there (Which is a ton of fun but feeding fuel to those jets is not fun).

Snake River (Lewiston, ID / Clarkston, WA to Pasco, WA): All dammed up waters. Labeled channel the whole way for barge traffic. Charts are available, but water levels kept fairly constant for barge traffic.

Central Oregon High Mountain Lakes (Cultus Lake): Cultus Lake is located about 45 minutes away from Bend, OR and is the only one without speed limits or noise limits. Very rocky shorelines with the exception of the end of the lake, big cove, and little cove all have nice sandy shorelines as well as camping areas for boaters. Very shallow rocky area by the drive in access camping area (our shallow jetboats clear most of them with one area of exception). Crystal clear water and actually fairly warm by end of summer, but very cold in early months as this lake does freeze solid.

Most other central Oregon High Lakes have speed limits of 5-10 MPH AND noise restrictions, these are all great fishing lakes, but best suited to little aluminum boats with 5-10 HP motors or kayaks/canoes, and rafts.

Some other lakes around Eastern Oregon (I grew up there) Phillips Res. 20 minutes outside of Baker City, OR is a nice lake with decent fishing. Water levels fluctuate greatly each year depending on snow pack, but not much of a destination location if you are looking for boating with a lot of other people.
 

jfkraus

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For your area or all of the PNW? I will mention all of the waters I have been boating on.
That is an awesome write-up! I was definitely thinking all of the PNW including WA-ID-OR.
 

jfkraus

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Yes, the launches on Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish can get very busy. And there are a lot of people who don't understand the launch procedures or maneuvering their rigs. But once you're on the water, they are beautiful lakes!
 

jfkraus

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On Lake Washington just north of the Coulon boat launch, you can boat right up to VMAC. Go 'Hawks!
 

jfkraus

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PolarXJ

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But once you're on the water, they are beautiful lakes!
Yes they are! I loved boating on Lake Washington once I was on the water. I'm not a Husky's fan, but boating to the stadium is one of the coolest most picturesque venues in the country.
 

jfkraus

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PolarXJ

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I never did the locks, maybe someday I will. We still go boating at places away from our home area each year, so far this year we have trips to Hells Canyon and Cultus Lake planned, with a possible Seattle trip towards the end of summer.
 

topgun882006

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hey guys whos is all boating this year lets do a meet up or a trip to orca islands for some whale watching
 

PolarXJ

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When?
 

topgun882006

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i have family coming in june 22 to july 1st was thinking about going sometime between june 26 to 29 is when i have off and was going to head up was going to look up weather and orca sightings and go off of that what ya think wanna join us
 

jfkraus

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We could do June 27-28 out of Anacortes.
 

topgun882006

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That would be perfect thats exactly where we were thinking about going out of do you have any experience out in that area? i have been open ocean in the navy but that was in a RHIB about 20 miles off of hawaii would love another boat or boats to go with and just incase but yea let me know im down its crazy what the whale watching people wanted for a seat on thier 30 ft or 35 ft boats 95 bucks a person and anyone from 3 yrs old to 12 is 65 thats crazy might as well take my boat out and would be more comfortable let me know what you think and we can start planning have a great memorial day weekend ill be out on the water tubing haha
 

topgun882006

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so we are thinking do a day in the area in anacortes checking out the town and such and then head out early in the morning maybe stay at a hotel for a night idk are you on facebook might be easier to plan or exchange numbers
 

jfkraus

Jet Boat Junkie
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so we are thinking do a day in the area in anacortes checking out the town and such and then head out early in the morning maybe stay at a hotel for a night idk are you on facebook might be easier to plan or exchange numbers
We spent a weekend in Anacortes a few weeks ago checking it out. We stayed in our RV at Fidalgo Bay Resort. There a decent boat ramp at Washington park. I'll send you my contact info.
 

topgun882006

Jet Boat Lover
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sounds good is it worth spending the day there or is there not much to do ? will have family in from the east coast so anything is better then at my house just looking for things to do on the way there and to be able to get on the water early with out having to wake up at 5 tomake it there at 8 from lacey what time do u want to meet up ya think ?
 

PolarXJ

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2015
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We might be in for that weekend as well. Have to see what all is going on. I will have my chartplotter and VHF radio installed by then so navigating those waters and communication won't be a problem.
 

topgun882006

Jet Boat Lover
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Location
Lacey, Washington
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2004
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hows everyone doing lets to a meet and greet at a lake sometime beforethe trip to san juan orcas islands
 

Scuba_ref

Jetboaters Captain
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I'm still bummed that I won't be able to do the San Juan trip! :grumpy:
 
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