Vinegar Creek to Riggins - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-22-2016   #1
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 11
Vinegar Creek to Riggins

Does anyone have any thoughts on floating/fishing/camping Vinegar to Riggings. We're thinking mid September and we're all running 8' to 10' pontoons. We all have decent amount of experience but on smaller water. Thanks in advance for the advice.

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Old 08-23-2016   #2
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,511
Pontoons? Usually called a cataraft? Maybe I guess. There are a few drops that are serious. I would think even at lower water. Most of it will likely be fairly easy. Have you run your pontoon loaded for a weeks worth of camping before? Are you willing to run fairly minimalist? Have you ever had to chase down a flipped boat before? Have any of you seen the stretch of water you are considering floating? How old are you?

Not sure I have much advice. If I listened to everyone who told me I shouldn't do something or it didn't sound like a great idea I would have never done anything. sounds to me like you have fairly light duty, small cats and that you haven't done a major trip with yet. Likely you will be fine if you can read a map and are willing to scout a few places. Black Creek, Big Mallard and a few others are serious. With that size cat even 'fall' sized waves hit wrong can flip you in a second.
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Old 08-23-2016   #3
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Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 111
I've done this section a few times but never in anything that small. The only good sized rapid at that time of year would be Lake Creek and I guess Vinegar. I've run Lake Creek twice at low water this year and did just right of the rock both times. Ruby is above Lake Creek but at low water isn't much.

For camping, the 2 Elkhorn beaches both have toilets but are on the road. There are some nice non-road options around the Elkhorn beaches and down by Spring Bar.

Here is a link to a map of that section:

Boater Guide - Vinegar Creek to Hammer Creek

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-23-2016   #4
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Posts: 2,511
Ooops my bad. I was thinking Corn Creek. Should be fine.
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Old 08-23-2016   #5
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 119
Warm up

For a warm up run, try Carey Creek to Spring Bar first. Obviously, if that is too challenging, don't proceed with your plan to run the stretch down to Riggins. The water is bigger, with more consequences if you mess up, between Spring Bar and Riggins.
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Old 08-23-2016   #6
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 11
So I guess a little more background would have helped. We all run Bucks Bags (or similar)8' to 10' pontoon boats. We've done a couple 50+/- mile trips on the Grand Rond and the John Day. Obviously much smaller water than the Salmon with maybe 2+ class rapids. The only big water we've run is on the Snake from Swan Falls to Celebration Park with a couple of class 2's which even in the 8' boats is a breeze.

Thanks for the advice and the map.
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Old 08-27-2016   #7
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Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 49
I ran this in June for the first time filling in between the Main and below Riggins. I have driven it several times, always scouting for the next opportunity. Assuming you are willing to float to Spring Bar, there are only a couple rapids of note below there to Riggins, and they are not more difficult than what you have seen to that point. Your pontoons should do fine at the likely early autumn level. If you have the time, there is good whitewater a few miles below Riggins to Jackass or Lucile. Road scouting anything is fairly easy above Riggins.
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