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Old 02-01-2015   #1
Weston, Missouri
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Main Salmon before Permit Season


I'm curious to get some feedback on running the Main Salmon before the permit season. Looking to launch a week or so before June 20th. Water levels and weather look to be solid (hopefully) so I'm interested to see if anyone has war stories (be they good or bad) about pre-permit time on the Main. My team ran the MF in Late June 2007 and had a great time so we are thinking about heading back that way and trying out the Main. I appreciate your feedback.

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Old 02-02-2015   #2
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
Westfield, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 178
It's awesome. Do it! At high water, class 2-5. It's awesome. ...Weather can be good with some rain possible, and snow visible on the high peaks. Fishing is so-so. I ran it a week before permit season in 2011. Epic trip. Bring some good friends, and a safety kayaker or two.

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Old 02-02-2015   #3
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Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 458
Every year is different. You have to study past flows and make a guess. Last year preseason was better than the permitted season.
Why does Pluto walk on all fours, drink from a dog bowl, and get treated like...a dog, while Goofy drives a car, wears clothing, and speaks in English?
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Old 02-02-2015   #4
BlueTurf's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 105
I did it last year for the first time. I think we put in around June 16 and did eight days. It was 4.6 on the Corn Creek ramp when we put in.

Funny story about that trip. I'm a novice boater. I'd been rafting once or twice a year with friends for awhile but I had finally got my own raft. I had some experience on the oars but not a lot. So first day on my first trip with my new boat with all new gear and my friends 65 year dad with me. We go around the corner to the first rapid, Killum (I think that's how you spell it) and I hit a hole left of center that I didn't see cause I was watching waves down stream and my buddies dad was reading the book. Oh and it's a class 2.

Yep, I flipped my brand new boat on the very first rapid it ever saw, and it was a class 2.

I was with a very experienced and safe group. Other than a little bump on my head everything was fine. Well I lost my hat too.

We all had a great time for the rest of the trip. I hit the meat of most everything (Chittam seemed pretty big) and had no more issues. I can't wait to do it again this year.

One thing that everyone should know. Last year they were making people reserve the reserve able camps even though it was before the permit season. So if you are thinking about laying over in a camp that you usually can't do that in keep that in mind.

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Old 02-04-2015   #5
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1970
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 36
Farmtheriver - Highly suggest the Main Salmon, at all levels. I've run it from 6000 to 60,000 from Corn to Carey, and it is great. At high flows it smooths out, but some holes develop.You can do your river miles in an hour or two, and hike/drink/fish the PM. No reserved camps I think prior to 6/20, and not many folks out there. The biggest rapids at high flows can be scouted, but even those can be read/run if need be, using the guide and common sense. Don't miss the hot springs to soak, it is killer, and the historical cabins/barns are cool. Be ready for some rain and plan camps that can work at high water. Also, don't forget about the Lower Salmon as no permit is needed - great run, as long as you get to Slide rapid below about 30K max, as it turns ugly above that; rest of run is good fun, scenic and biggest white sand beaches anywhere. Good luck, might see you up on Main early if no permit comes for us for Mf - we did it last late June with a couple families, loved it. The ultimate trip would be Main all the way through Lower -- 2 1/1 to 3 weeks, restock in Riggins as needed.
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Old 02-05-2015   #6
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 149
The week before permit season we have launched at less than 1 foot, launched at 61/2 feet, refused to go near the thing at 8. Really varies as to what you get - we have had scorching weather and a trip with 4 days of rain and the snow creeping down the canyon walls. For us it is a decide at the last minute kind of a trip not one for long term pre-planning unless you have a plan B backup.
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Old 02-06-2015   #7
Weston, Missouri
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Thank you all for the great info. It's great having a forum like to get advice from seasoned pros. Good news is one of our team won a Main permit for June 21st. We are still considering a pre-permit run starting a few days before the 21st, but we've got to look over a few more details.

Either way it's a can't lose situation! Thank you again for taking the time to reply.
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Old 02-06-2015   #8
Woodland Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 127
I like the idea of a preseason run on the main all the way to the lower. Does anyone know of a shuttle company that will do that?
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Old 02-06-2015   #9
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 149
It's an easier shuttle than the Main, the Lower finishes 20 miles above Lewiston. Any of the companies should do it; we tend to use All Rivers out of Whitebird.
Gotta watch the Lower early season though if flows are high Slide becomes really nasty.

I keep dreaming of a MF all the way to the Lower..........
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Old 02-06-2015   #10
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 130
Originally Posted by JustinJam View Post
Does anyone know of a shuttle company that will do that?
I've used Blackadar, for shuttle and for boat rental, and there were great.

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