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Old 07-02-2009   #1
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 48
What is the Main Salmon like at the end of August?

Was lucky enough to draw a permit for the main salmon at the end of August. So now I am curious if anyone can give me some details about the river at that time. Like how many miles can you do in a day? How much rock dodging is there (we have options on the size of rafts to take) So what is best? What are the beaches like at that time?

I am also willing to take what ever other tips anybody wants to give as well.


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Old 07-03-2009   #2
loveland, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 317

Are you talking about the 'Riggins Run" or up higher by Sunbeam? Just kayaked below Sunbeam last week and it would be too low. Riggins area run is deep and would be ok in Aug, although rapids will be diminished that late in year. Beautiful up there and the beaches will be in and ready for some adult beverages.

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Old 07-03-2009   #3
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8
on Google Groups, there is an Idaho boating group. I am sure many people in that group could answer the questions you have about a run in August.
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Old 07-03-2009   #4
Ever_Cat's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 44
The Main Salmon (launching at Corn Creek) in late August will be fine. I have done this a couple of times in early September and this is a great time to do the river. The flow will be on the low side but the crowds are down and the weather can be great (or not so great depending on the day). Rafts in the 14'-16' would be best but you could get an 18' down without any real difficulty unless it is loaded to the gills. The camps are great, many with large beaches.

You can check out pictures of the primary camps at (hopefully this link works)
Main Salmon

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 07-04-2009   #5
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
I've been running The Main Salmon - Corn Creek to Carey Creek - for about 10 years now, June - September. August is great. We're launching Aug. 12th this year. It can be pretty hot, but that just makes the swimming at camp more fun. Make sure you take a tarp for shade in camp. Flows will be lower, but the Main is never too low. There will be more rocks & holes to deal, but you won't get stuck every 5 seconds like a late season Middle Fork trip. I'd suggest 14 - 16 ft. rafts & cats. The chute at Salmon Falls can get a little tight at low water for bigger boats. You'll have a blast. The camps / beaches are awesome. Make sure you stop at Buckskin Bill's for water / ice / ice cream. Mackay Bar also has ice & really good milkshakes.
The camp system is a partial reserved camp system, with reserved camps for small groups (1-11 people) and large groups (12 +), and non-reserved camps. You aren't allowed to do layovers in reserved sites. Which way you go (reserve, non-reserve, or a mix) depends on your knowledge of the river, and your preference for "a sure thing" vs "winging it." We usually have a smaller group (under 12) and know the river well enough to go non-reserve the whole way, so that we can do a layover day. PLEASE remember that non-reserve camps are first come first serve. Have a back-up plan is case someone else is in the camp you were planning on, and PLEASE don't whine.
As for daily mileage, that's kind of a personal preference thing, and depends on what camps you're staying at, and layover days. We try to keep it under 20 miles in a day. The stretch of river from Five Mile bar to around Warren Creek is called "Salmon Lake" because the flow slows down considerably, and you can always get afternoon up canyon winds.
Hope this info helps. The main Salmon is my all-time favorite trip.
Have fun & stay safe
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Old 07-05-2009   #6
Dipshit with the most.
carvedog's Avatar
Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Originally Posted by suigeneris View Post
Are you talking about the 'Riggins Run" or up higher by Sunbeam? Just kayaked below Sunbeam last week and it would be too low. Riggins area run is deep and would be ok in Aug, although rapids will be diminished that late in year. Beautiful up there and the beaches will be in and ready for some adult beverages.

I have run rafts through the "Day Stretch" of the Headwaters Main Salmon until September and October for about 18 years in a row.

Not sure what your definition of too low is, but it is floatable until it freezes.

Obviously if she won a permit it would be one of the lottery rivers. Permits are self-issuing on the day stretch. There are some sections that they close to boating for salmon spawning season.


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