Russian River - June 10th - Thoughts?

My wife and I are going to be camping at the Russian River on the 10th-12th for the fishing opener, and I was kicking around the idea of running the Russian from just below the falls down to the campground in my Llama on the 10th. Fishing doesn’t open until the 11th, so I wouldn’t be disturbing anyone’s fishing or running the risk of catching a hook in the face. I’ll walk the river first to scout for any sweepers or strainers.

So…is there any reason that this is a bad idea? It seems like it would be a fun, fast float with just a touch of splashy water to help me hone my nascent packrafting skills.

Some years the Russian is really really packed with fish prior to the opening – if it’s like that the bears will be thick. Make lots and lots of noise (not that noise will scare away bears fully habituated to people) and carry bear spray!

Well, I was able to raft the Russian as planned, but had to settle for a shortened version of the float. We got to the campground a couple of hours later than planned. Between another couple and ourselves, we had three children in tow - two one year olds and a four year old - so things moved a bit slower than usual and we didn’t hike upstream as far as I had envisioned. Still, it was a fun way to check it out. I floated from about 1/2 mile upstream of the white trail down to the Rainbow Trout campground. The river was shallower than I had anticipated, so I hit bottom a couple of times, but mostly it was a swift float with a few splashy moments to make it fun. I did take one wave over the bow at a certain point where the river funnels between two large rocks - I was pleasantly surprised at how effective the spray skirt was. It’s not 100%, but I was mostly dry until I foolishly messed with the velcro while water was sitting on top. Oops! I’ll definitely give this a shot again next year - next time from the top of the fishing area through the confluence, as long as a lack of sweepers will allow. For an inexperienced packrafter, this was a fun little jaunt.