View Full Version : Owens River Float Trip...please advise

07-07-2008, 06:42 PM
Hey guys(and gals),
I am planning to do some floating down the mighty Owens and was hoping you could help me out. We will have 2 vehicles and a canoe to do "roundabout trips" to maximize the experience for everyone.

question 1:
I have heard/read about this "new" section of the river recently opened and wondered if that would be a good place to go to fish and canoe....btw where do you access this area?

question 2:
Considering we have two cars and will leave them at two seperate locations....where would you leave your vehicle upstream and where would you leave the one downstream given the choice? Keep in mind we will be fishing from the bank as well as the boat.

Thank for you in advance for your feedback and advice!


07-07-2008, 08:44 PM
The river is high right now. Its a good floating river, but I recommend an outfitter if you can afford it. It can be floated in a pontoon, pram, or smaller boat, if you have the skill. Its not an incredibly fast or deep river. But its full of sweepers. Many people have drowned or come close to death when they ran into a sweeper. Sweepers are tree branches and other objects hanging out over the deeper banks on the Lower Owens. And the serpentine nature of the river makes for decieving floats. There is more water with the S-curves and bends in the river than it appears in distance. I recommend Bishop to Big Pine. t is plenty of water for a trip, and perfect for a multi-day float.As for the newly opened section, I don't believe it is open for access. Not much is known about the area yet. It was recently opened as a wildlife reserve. Now, the lower 62 miles is to flow uninhibited to the Owens lake bed. An environmental group sued LA county and water department for environmental damage and failure to meet state environmental mandate and regulations. along with the health hazard posed by the dried lake bed to the residents of the Olancha area, as the dried salt and mining residues has much potential for serious chronic health conditions.. This was a case a long time in the making, and the success of the group over LA in court insures the lake bed will once again be filled and the river untapped in its flow. Eventually, the new section and lake will be made a wildlife area with public access. But, for now, not much recent knowledge is known about the layout and flow of the river in the new section. In any case, if you decide to do it alone, use extreme caution. A sweeper can take you off the raft and you could very well down in the swift undercuts before any of your partners notice your missing.

07-07-2008, 09:42 PM
a lot of the lower owens area where you are talking about is extremely dense weed areas...the flows haven't had a chance to knock out most of the weeds there. i'd agree and say between bishop and big pine

07-08-2008, 07:03 AM
Also, don't underestimate the amount of water there is. I took a guided trip a couple of years ago. We launched at the Laws bridge at 8AM. We got out of the water about a mile above Line St. for an all day (7 hour) trip! My point is that there is a *ton* of water to drift as the river meanders the valley floor.

07-09-2008, 12:38 AM
Hey guys thanks for the feedback, much appreciated and will keep it in mind as we finalize plans for the trip! Good info to know.