On July 28, well-known Livingston, Montana, fly-fishing guide Chester Marion and his close friend Sheldon Goldberg died while rafting the Boulder River with Goldberg’s wife. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, their rubber raft hit a downed cottonwood tree obstructing the river, and the two men were swept away. The two men were wearing waders and no lifejackets. Mrs. Goldberg survived. Marion, 73, guided for Dan Bailey’s fly shop in Livingston for decades.
On July 30, on the Cheakamus River near Whistler, B.C., a man and a woman drowned while on a guided fly fishing trip. According to CBC news reports the woman hooked a fish, lost her balance and was swept away—her male companion jumped in to rescue her. The male’s body was recovered but the woman is still missing and presumed dead. Their identities have not been released.
The Rockies had an unusually high amount of snowpack this year. Rivers that are normally low and wadable in midsummer are still running high from heavy snowmelt as well as summer rain. Personal floatation devices such as Sospenders or William Joseph WST waders can help prevent tragedies in difficult wading situations. Always wear a wading belt—cinched up snugly—and use a wading staff in difficult circumstances.