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powerboating on the columbia river

Old 06-22-2016, 05:48 AM
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Default powerboating on the columbia river

... has anyone done it - near portland? what types of powerboats run the Columbia?
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:13 AM
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Virtually any and all. Here in the NW there is a much higher % of aluminum boats than elsewhere. There is also a much higher percentage of jets because of the tributary rivers with rapids and shallows. Altho protected somewhat as a river, it tends to get windy, especially up in the Gorge and can turn into a hell-hole for the unprepared. The hottest weather is usually windless, though. The river is tidal for the whole 160 miles from the mouth at Astoria to the base of Bonneville Dam and the current near the dam can be very strong. But near Portland, neither is much of a factor. I would say 98% of the boaters in Portland never venture over the bar and out into the Pacific OR through the locks of Bonneville into the Gorge and further upriver......if long range cruising was in your thoughts. Technically though, it can be run, with the right boat, from the mouth to the base of Hell's Canyon Dam.....on the UPstream side of Hell's Canyon....deep into Idaho and the Rocky Mountains. That traverses I think 7 dams through their lock.s

It looks like a big lake, especially from Portland (confluence with the Willamette....so it gets BIG) downriver, but it is ALWAYS a river with a defined channel (dredged for commercial tanker traffic) and many shallow bars and extensive shallow flats so running willy-nilly anywhere it looks wet can get you into trouble.

Last edited by peterpatricelli; 06-22-2016 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:19 AM
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We actually did a fishing charter on the Columbia...It was gorgeous...The boat we went on was a 24' aluminum with a 175 Merc...Tiller steer!!!
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:21 AM
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My parents had their 50' Ocean Alexander in Portland until we moved it to San Diego.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by peterpatricelli View Post
Virtually any and all. Here in the NW there is a much higher % of aluminum boats than elsewhere. There is also a much higher percentage of jets because of the tributary rivers with rapids and shallows. Altho protected somewhat as a river, it tends to get windy, especially up in the Gorge and can turn into a hell-hole for the unprepared. The hottest weather is usually windless, though. The river is tidal for the whole 160 miles from the mouth at Astoria to the base of Bonneville Dam and the current near the dam can be very strong. But near Portland, neither is much of a factor. I would say 98% of the boaters in Portland never venture over the bar and out into the Pacific OR through the locks of Bonneville into the Gorge and further upriver......if long range cruising was in your thoughts.
my wife and i are considering moving to the pacific nw and boating is a big thing we do. we run a 35 fountain and generally just cruise, we weren't sure if bigger sized boats like this were common on the river. we certainly have no desire to move out of the fresh water so the bar wouldn't be an issue. we would be staying in the portland area, so running 20 miles downstream would probably be as far as we venture on a regular basis and probably not past the locks up.

we've seen the fleets of wide beam fishing alums.

would we be out of place with our boating style on the river?
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Old 06-22-2016, 07:32 AM
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A day in the Columbia River Gorge.
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Old 06-22-2016, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Milehog View Post
A day in the Columbia River Gorge.
Attachment 680167
good thing this is nowhere near where i plan to be....
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Old 06-22-2016, 02:03 PM
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"would we be out of place with our boating style on the river?"

Not at all. Not around Portland. And besides, everyone in Oregon, especially Portland, generally makes a point of being out-of-place....style-wise.
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Old 07-06-2016, 08:00 AM
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I lived in Portland - from a boating perspective, the river didn't do anything for me but there are countless beautiful lakes in the vacinity that I enjoyed.
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:35 AM
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I took the paddle wheeler from Astoria to Lewiston, Idaho and then a jet boat up the Snake. The Columbia can get really windy especially near the Gorge in the afternoon. The whole thing is suitable for power boats and plenty of kayaks and canoes make the trip. The locks take some practice in small boats. Just pay attention to the weather and be ready to get off when the waves start to build. I would be very cautious about the Columbia River Bar at the mouth especailly when the wind and tide are opposing.
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