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Old 04-16-2014   #1
6FEETandRISING's Avatar
Lardo, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Lower Owyhee ELF: How Low can you go?

I would like to do the lower owyhee and have been watching it spike and crash this spring. I did it a couple years ago 2011 i think and the river was running like 4500 cfs. But, I would like to do an IK self support trip and I am just wondering if any of you out there on the buzz have experience in the 100-400 cfs range. If you look at Google Earth the latest LandSat image was taken on July 20, 2013. The river is clearly very very low and all the rapids look like solid rock with no water channels at all. I looked up the daily data on the usgs gage and the data shows that on that date there was something like 55 cfs flowing. So there is clearly a close out for the river, but I'm just wondering what that might be. Also I was wondering how long the shuttle to birch creek takes. BLM site says 28 miles from the turn off north of jordan valley on cow creek road? So I'm thinking like two and a half hours to do the shuttle. River is running 302 cfs right now, praying for rain and then a week and a half of sunshine!

When you spend your life in the rain, you learn to walk between the drops.
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Old 04-16-2014   #2
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
No idea what the true minimum is but I do know there's other runs that are actually in right now. If you have the time, the money to pay a shuttle driver and the wear to put on your vehicle it seems like you could get something else.

The sunshine walked beside her
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Old 04-17-2014   #3
Post Falls, Idaho
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 84
I have ran the lower at 430cfs. Our crew was a 16' cat that was about 6 1/2' wide. A 14 SB and a 13 SB. We packed everything and did it in 4 days. Took out at birch creek. Nussume was a bit tight. Run right of big rock. Scout river right. There was also a rock dam that was tight run river left and river scout. The whole float was like paddling a lake. The Owyhee wind was in my face all day. I would not run it at that flow in a raft again again! I also ran it at 280 cfs in a hard shell kayak thinking that a kayak would be much better. I was dead wrong. Our crew was 6 strong and none of us would do it again. We had to port most rapids and paddle out long flat sections. It took us 5 long days to get to birch creek. For me, the bottom for the lower owyhee is at 2000 cfs. plan on 2 hours to go from birch creek to jordon. I'm sure you could put your big foot on the gas and both hands on the wheel and get there much quicker.
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Old 04-17-2014   #4
screamingeagle's Avatar
Missoula, Montana
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 59
The lower owyhee at low low water can be brutal, notorious head winds! getting out of the rome flat land bullshit section can take forever. I have done it in a canoe a long time ago at like 500cfs and I beat the crap out of that thing just getting down. At 300 cfs I think i would be looking to go else where as GLENN said, the payette system is in and flowing healthy.
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