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Old 09-27-2009   #1
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 48
Clark Fork in October?

I was wondering if anybody out there has run the Clark Fork (MT) in October? If so what do I need to watch for in Alberton George and is there anywhere to scout any of the rapids? Thanks

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Old 09-27-2009   #2
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
I've done it in September, and Ledges is pretty ledgy (sharp) and harder to pick a line through (don't go left), and a few rocks here and there, but it's pretty mellowed out. Have you run it in the summer or spring at all? Fang should still be good surfing. The last two years we've had good fall flows, so it's not bad at all. The sun may start to get a bit low to see it much at all though. I know people that have run it in Nov and say it's awfully dark and chilly. Are you in a raft or yak? The yak run is nice, cuts out most of the flat water.

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 09-29-2009   #3
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 48
Just for clarification I have not ever run this stretch of river so any information would be great. Thanks
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Old 09-30-2009   #4
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Silverdale, Washington
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 299
I'm heading up there this weekend as part of a fishing trip on the Lochsa, and was looking for boating info in the area. Laurie, since you're fairly familiar with the Lochsa and obviously with your hometown area, would you mind sharing a bit of beta for locations for Alberton Gorge? Not familiar with the area so not sure what the kayak section is. I also know you're not a yaker, but do you think there is enough water in the Lochsa worth boating or am I doomed to fishing only?
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Old 10-01-2009   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 9
The Gorge

You can paddle the gorge all year, the winter is even nice, during snow storms it feels like a different place. All rapids are read and run at most levels. The only quasi nasty hole is the 3rd rapid after the river crosses under the highway, eddy out on the left above the drop if you want to scout.

The Lochsa is not much fun below 2.5 feet, for me anyway, slow and boney. You can do anything once though. You'll have the river to yourself.
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Old 10-02-2009   #6
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
The Lochsa is a totally different river right now. It is below 0' on the bridge. You could walk across it, not boatable in my opinion. Maybe a ducky that you got out and drug over and over and over, but you'd need to scout too since some massive rocks show and sieve potential is high. I'd just fish.

The Gorge is still runnable, actually that sounds so bad, it is still at a pretty fun level (2700). I've run it down to 2500. Get ahold of the local kayak store for directions to the kayak run. It used to be "edge of the world", but they sold the kayak part. If you call them, they'll tell you I'm sure. (406) 721-7774. Or try Montana River Guides, Mike is a great guy and would likely give you some directions.

The put in for the kayak run is off the Cyr exit, just like the main put in, and the take out is further down the same dirt road. Down a hillside path, and then the takeout is up a stairway.

There's also a playwave downtown, off Caras Park (west of Higgins St. Bridge on north side of river), but it seems to be more of a smooth pourover right now, not much of a wave. I ate lunch down by it recently, didn't see anyone, but I wasn't close enough to tell if it was surfable, and I don't really know kayaking surfable either.

The hole sawtooth talks about is in Tumbleweed, the rock that causes it is way out of the water now (about 1/3 of the river), on the right, and it's pretty easy to go left - to center, there's another small hole way left so you go essentially left to center. The main hole is really just a pool now, no keeper, and I can't even imagine how you'd go over the rock into it this time of year. But that little far left hole can make some mean laterals.

Jaws is WONDERFUL surfing at these levels, it is essentially the next big rapid below tumbleweed, although there may be a few small wave trains in between, it's been a while since I've been down at this lower level. It will seem like a fair size drop, with the main run right to left, and great surfing in the first big wave, and a lot of yakkers drop into it on the left (I saw a guy practically dancing in it last september - it was beautiful!).

Have fun, and stay warm!

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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