Kalama River Slide - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 01-23-2006, 03:31 PM
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Kalama River Slide

This was just forward to me by a friend who has place on the Kalama; I'm not sure of the actual source:

Cheers,

Eric

"UPPER KALAMA RIVER -- As the sun began to rise over the Kalama River watershed on Jan. 13, thousands of tons of saturated earth cut loose from its steep hillside, plummeting into the river.

"The massive 200-yard-wide by 150-yard-high slide toppled trees, logs and anything in its path. The mud, rock and debris crashed across the Kalama River.

"The slide, which took place just upstream from where Wolf Creek meets the Kalama, didn't stop there. The momentum slammed the reddish-brown mixture into the opposite bank, snapping trees like toothpicks for about 100 yards.

"The half-circle-shaped debris field is rimmed by trees, brush and rock once under the steady current of the Kalama River.

"The mudslide also briefly dammed the river, creating a temporary lake until enough pressure built up to push through the earthen dam, leaving behind red, jagged rocks where smooth dark gray stones had been.

"When a large slide takes place it can act like the mudflow the eruption of Mt. St. Helens created and blow everything down, said Sam Kolb, a regional habitat program manager with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife in Vancouver.

""There's a lot of short-term impacts" Kolb said. "(Fish) eggs and fry will be flat out buried." However, the slide happened between spawning times for the steelhead and a major loss of fish might have been avoided.

""It could have been worse, definitely," said Chris Wageman, a fish research biologist who has been working on the Kalama River for 16 years. "The dammed up water didn't release a pulse of water, so it couldn't have been that bad ... but a lot of water did get backed up."

"The majority of main stem Kalama River steelhead spawning takes place in gravel beds from the slide to a few miles downstream, Wagaman said.

"'It taking something away and giving something back -- that's nature's way," Wagaman said Wednesday while standing atop a downed fir tree snapped in half by the force of the slide.

"'He said he thinks the next few years could be tough on the steelhead, but in the long run, it could be a positive.

"'There is good news -- the slide dumped a lot of new gravel that will work its way downstream, possibly providing better spawning grounds," Wagaman said. "But it will take the river a while to stabilize."

"Wagaman said the slide is the largest he's seen on the Kalama River and he plans to keep a close eye on the slide area to measure impacts in a few months when steelhead return to spawn.

"Little, localized slides are what rivers like the Kalama count on for a fresh infusion of gravel, but large events can be catastrophic, Kolb said. The slide's estimated size pales in comparison to a slide on the North Fork of the Kalama River about seven years ago when a 250-yard wide slide demolished everything in its path for about 1.5 miles, Kolb said.

"Kolb said this slide is the first big event in Southwest Washington this season he has heard about.

"'But with all the rain, the stage is definitely set for more," he added."

XXX
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:42 PM
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I recall several serious slides in the Kalama Canyon over the years, one year the bank slid into the water up to thre guardrail taking the electrical poles and wires with it. At first the loops of buried wire were convenient as they let me climb the bank with ease, but then as I reached the top I didn't realize they put a makeshift powerline about 7-8 ft off the road and my 13'6" graphite spey touched it as I stepped over the guardrail. I have no idea how long I was out but the smell of burning flesh was from my hand and I later found the rod thrown far away down the road.

My mother was visiting my brother in Portland so I continued south to join them when I recovered. Apparently I looked like young frankenschtein when I walked in because my mom cried. Now she jokes that the shock treatment made me into the blissful angling bum. Little did she know I already was long before the shock.

Be careful out there, graphite is an excellent conductor and life is a fleeting thing.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:01 PM
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Hey Juro,

And now we know the rest of the story!
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:15 PM
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Come'on it hasn't changed me a bit...



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Old 01-24-2006, 12:35 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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You Da Man!

Had a similar thing happen (or rather just about happen) on a fishing trip years ago. Fellow in front of me didn't see the wire either. I stopped right below him to hand up my rod .. and looked up over his shoulder!Thank goodness no contact but he couldn't have missed by more than inches ... with MY rod.

Yikes!!
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Old 01-24-2006, 03:16 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juro
I recall several serious slides in the Kalama Canyon over the years, one year the bank slid into the water up to thre guardrail taking the electrical poles and wires with it. At first the loops of buried wire were convenient as they let me climb the bank with ease, but then as I reached the top I didn't realize they put a makeshift powerline about 7-8 ft off the road and my 13'6" graphite spey touched it as I stepped over the guardrail. I have no idea how long I was out but the smell of burning flesh was from my hand and I later found the rod thrown far away down the road.

My mother was visiting my brother in Portland so I continued south to join them when I recovered. Apparently I looked like young frankenschtein when I walked in because my mom cried. Now she jokes that the shock treatment made me into the blissful angling bum. Little did she know I already was long before the shock.

Be careful out there, graphite is an excellent conductor and life is a fleeting thing.
Whoa, are you serious!? Juro you are lucky to still be here. That is quite a story.
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Old 01-24-2006, 11:53 PM
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Juro: Ghost writer for sharp steely
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Old 01-25-2006, 06:06 AM
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Unfortunately the tale is very true (except for any guitar-playing benefits), and there were more gory details as one might imagine. I share it with hopes that my friends will look up more often when walking with the long rods.

And Rich - no 36 pound fish in the story so it wouldn't fly!
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Old 01-25-2006, 03:11 PM
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That's quite a story Juro! Needless to say, I'm glad your still here.

Perhaps the keeper of the nickname Sparky ought to relinquish it to you?
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