Return to Boater Board

Ottawa River Locals…Help me!

Home Page Forums Boater Board Ottawa River Locals…Help me!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • Author
  • #4320

    So what is the correct line through Sattlers? I go wrong pretty much every time and end up surfing/windowshading/swimming when I try this line <img loading=” title=”Confused” />

    Where should I be in relation to the two humps? Pointing which direction? Where exactly is the tongue? Does it change with the level?


    zack splaine

    hey, i am a local but i cant help you on that one sorry,, i always thread the needle,, hit the edge of satlers and paddle hard left, i always hit the left of phils but have never got stoped,, give that a try if you want and see how it works


    not the hardest line, watch the rafts they usually hit it bomber. Look for a pyramid wave (standing reactionary) and if you hit that you should be set up to angle slightly left and barely get your head wet.


    If you are having trouble using the humps as your marker, use the rocks off of the left instead. I find the best way for me is to pretty much float down the eddy line facing right. If you are too far left take a few strokes and you should be lined up. Generally you are aiming for what looks like the biggest, crashiest part and it’s actually the tongue. It’s way better to be too far left than too far right. Too far right, you probably already know. Left you wont get surfed and you will be spit out in the eddy.

    Good luck,

    Dan Caldwell


    I bank hard river right,off the flow that pushes off the rock. Works for me.


    i do what DanC does… float just right of the eddy line and then paddle to the right once i see the tongue, then spin and paddle away from phils


    Local? Well I wouldn’t consider myself a local to the Ottawa river. I’ve also spent far less time there then many others however this is the ways which I’ve done McCoys. Also, I ask for others to comment, as I would not like to steer you wrong.

    Personally I consider the top section of McCoys to be the most predictable rapid. By this I mean, it changes less then just about any other rapid I can think of.

    First thing I would recommend for taking on McCoys is a roll, even if it’s not bomber, its nice to have. Also, even though the bottom of the first half is not smooth, it’s fairly flat and doesn’t have many boils. Even if you swim you should have time to get to the eddies on river left (or right if you end up there).

    Phils is always in, and looks about the same every time I do it. However, it seems to have a slight, but useful change at different levels. At some levels it appears to develop a pulsating green tongue in the middle. This could be one of the easiest ways through the top section of the rapid for some. Rafts seem to use this more often then kayaks. To be fair, I believe river right side Phils is often sticky and should be avoided unless you know otherwise.

    To punch the green tongue, I guess you need 2 things. 1. be on a line directly for the tongue, and 2. charge hard and fast as the tongue, lean forward and paddle through it.

    Sattlers is always in, at least that I’ve seen. It may look nasty, but at some levels its pretty easy to simply paddle through it. Other levels it seems to be a bit more sticky. Again you need to be on the light through the tongue and paddle hard.

    Between the two (threading the needle). This may seem like a good idea at first. In fact, it’s a great idea if you can do it. However, in my experience, if you are good enough to actually make it through you are also good enough to drop into left side Phils and make do. I say this because, nearly everyone that is advanced and under, that try this miss and fall into left side Phils. This, although scary, is not terribly dangerous. The water is deep, and you should be flushed out pretty fast if you roll upside down, or swim.

    Anyhow, how to thread the needle. This takes some practice, this is how I recommend you do it.

    1. look at the rapid from the river right shore. Plan your line, as it should look like this. Paddle in just to the right of Sattlers. As you go down the lip, paddle left to the bottom right side of Sattlers (even cut the corner) then ferry hard left to just miss phils.
    2. As you setup, have your boat on a 45 angle to the river toward the left.
    3. Make adjustments forward and backwards to correct for your position as you approach the lip.
    4. As you come over the side you should be paddling medium toward the bottom right corner of Sattlers. In fact, you can cut the edge of it by a few feet without much trouble.
    5. Once you cross Sattlers, point your boat upstream and river left 45 degrees. This should set you up for a nice ferry just under Sattlers. I recommend you paddle hard here.

    If you do it right, you’ll miss both Sattlers and Phils, be upright, and have some momentum toward the eddies on the left.

    If you miss, which is likely at first, you will end up in phils, likely side surfing facing the left shore. Reach into the foam pile with your right paddle blade and stoke forward to pull yourself off the edge of Phils into the rough water.

    If you get filled in Phils be patient, it may take a bit before you get flushed out, often reaching into the green water with your paddle will flip you back upright, while still surfing. Probably not was you were hoping for, but it’ll make a great story later.

    The only other thing I’ll add is, the bottom of the top section of McCoys leads to a shallow rock island. You can get ground up against the island if you are upside down when by the time you get there.

    Also, the left side of the island (when the water level is high enough to go there) is shallow, avoid it if you can.




    Now what?!! At 13 it was no issue, but regular summer levels are a different story. If we end up in the big eddy on river left, say after a roll or two, how do we set up to get across and avoid the perils of horse shoe left?!


    "ceilidhke":kv18um9f wrote:
    Now what?!! At 13 it was no issue, but regular summer levels are a different story. If we end up in the big eddy on river left, say after a roll or two, how do we set up to get across and avoid the perils of horse shoe left?!


    Switch to open boating :!:


    The second half of McCoys is generally easier to negotiate then the top. At high water levels the entire bottom of the rapids are submerged in water. At low levels, one or two beautiful features develop. Horseshow and Babyface (reactionary wave). I never put much thought to Babyface from a river running perspective, just go through it, or next to it. Most important thing is to avoid running into others which may not give right of way and surf it while you are coming down the rapids.

    The problem previously described is left side horseshoe. At some lover levels this the left side of horseshoe is a bit like a shallow pour over. Perhaps not the best description, but since it’s against a rock formation, cross current flows jetting back from the rock, combined with the shallow sides and the mass of surfers waiting in the eddy a few feet away you can understand why this 3 foot wide section of the river is not the favorite of many.

    If that isn’t bad enough, when ferrying from river left eddies above this section, the natural tendency is to be pushed up against the rock and river left side, pushing you into this dreaded section.

    Well here’s what I tell people when we are preparing to depart from the lowest river left eddy just above horseshoe. Paddle up to the most upstream part of the eddy enter into the main current while continuing to ferry hard to river right until you are 75% of the way to the river right shore. Then, and only then is it “safeâ€


    Here is a video link to someone running mccoys without any trouble


    Celidhke I usually am not successful in getting over after taking the Satler’s line (about 10 feet off the rock on the left when it’s visible) I roll up, scrape my way down to the second eddy after trying unsuccessfully to get over to corner wave eddy below phils, and take the little sneak channel river left of horshshoe… it’s safe and easy.

    In fact through satlers, although it’s big and thrashy and down the river left sneak is the easiest way to build your confidence (I paddled McCoys! yeah! ) without doing anything much harder than a CII+/CIII


    Thanks all!! This is my summer to try it again after being thrashed royally in both canoe and kayak – though I must say the oc1 ride was a lot more fun, well at least before I looked left at the wall of water that is Phils! Onward and upward!



    Joe – I disagree with one part of your description:

    "If you are lucky (or skillful, which I am not)…"

    Dude, you’ve got skills.


    It’s nice of you to say, but in reality, there are way better paddlers on the Ottawa.

    The really good paddlers make a rapid look deceptively easy.

    If you ever get the chance to watch someone like Eric Jackson paddle something you’ve been beating on for a while you’ll see what I mean. He might for example, thread the needle with 3 well placed strokes for my 10-15.


Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.