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High water flows can be fun for kayakers, but dangerous for others. PG&E advises caution during three days of planned high water in early April. Feather Publishing file photo

Feather River water release attracts kayaking athletes

The mid-summer water release on the Feather River drew kayakers to the rapids in the canyon the weekend of July 22 and 23. With abundant snow still on the mountains from a great year of snow in the Sierra, kayakers have many more choices for water runs than they did last year.

By May 2016, kayakers were already packing the canyon to run the Feather River on water release days, but in 2017 water adventurers have more options with water flows still moving freely in many areas.

Many whitewater adventurers, including local filmmaker and world athlete Colby Elliot regard the Feather River as “prime.”

“Some of the best runs are right here on the Feather,” said Elliot during a recent radio interview.

Two more water releases are scheduled — on Aug. 26 and 27, followed by the big finish, Sept. 23 and 24. Anyone wishing to get in on the action without getting wet can observe brave and skilled athletes paddling through a variety of Class IV and V rapids from easy vantage points below Tobin.

One danger with easy put-in locations along the river is the possibility of “under-skilled” kayakers getting into runs beyond their skill level. Fortunately, the Feather River has rapids sections for all skill ranges, enabling paddlers to achieve proficiency before moving to runs that are more difficult.

Kayakers can be seen hitching rides up the canyon to repeatedly ride a section of the river for good practice and fun all weekend during the seasonal water releases.

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