Lochsa: July - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-06-2012   #1
 
cedar city, Utah
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Lochsa: July

I am gonna be meeting my parents and nephew on the Lower Selway at the beginning July before I bolt for a week on the wilderness run.

What are the upper and lower stretches of the Lochsa like at the 4-10k level (looks like historic norms for the first week of July....dropping fast from 10k)?

I am planning on taking them along the lower selway for a day and likely to float fish a flatwater run as well. Thinking they may want to do a Class III run if the weather is good.

Thoughts?

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Old 06-06-2012   #2
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I usually call it quites on the the lochsa by 7/4. You can usually walk across the river my then and fishing really picks up. I don't know where you found 4-10k as norms but mabye 4K??? IDK. The last couple years have been off the hook. but this year is normal. Anyway, if you do run, its gona be boney as all get out. Thats my take.
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Old 06-06-2012   #3
 
Idaho Falls, Idaho
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Its going to be shallow. Right now its past pumping and now just flows alright
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Old 06-06-2012   #4
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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I kayaked the Lower in April at ~3,800 and it was a lot of fun.
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Old 06-06-2012   #5
 
cedar city, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idahofloater View Post
I usually call it quites on the the lochsa by 7/4. You can usually walk across the river my then and fishing really picks up. I don't know where you found 4-10k as norms but mabye 4K??? IDK. The last couple years have been off the hook. but this year is normal. Anyway, if you do run, its gona be boney as all get out. Thats my take.
I pulled the data back to 2008 on the Lowell gauge. I guess half the years its above 2500-3000 and half the years its dropping fast from 10k during that timespan. Definitely a little limited of a search but that is as far back as the data goes for the USGS site now.

This being a normal year, it sounds like it could be around 2500-4000 during the first week of July. Is that bony?

We will be in the region from the 1st until the 5th playing around and then heading out to the wilderness run on the Selway.
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Old 06-06-2012   #6
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Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
This being a normal year, it sounds like it could be around 2500-4000 during the first week of July. Is that bony?
It wont be anywhere near 2.5 to 4K this year. More like 1k- IMHO. And yes that is boney as hell. There are no major tributaries so its simular flow from indian graves down. The selway well be that same deal. Maybe a smigian more. In july I like to hit the Clark Fork, Kootenai, Salmon, payette. There are generally tons of Selway cancellations in July on normal years or fly ins to Moose creek. I'd plan on hitting alberton gorge on the Clark Fork. Its about 2 hour drive to the put in from 3rivers.
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Old 06-06-2012   #7
 
cedar city, Utah
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So has every year since 2007 been way above average? Or is there a different gauge? Every year since 2007 has had flows above 2.5k past the week of July 4th. In fact, the USGS site doesn't show a single year at 1k until the end of July.

Not trying to be difficult just trying to understand the difference between your experiences and those detailed on the Lowell gauge. I thought there were some dry years in there since 2007.

Thanks for chatting about it. Unfortunately we are there no matter what. If the rafting is lame we may just float fish for small mouth on the Clearwater.

As far as the Selway wilderness run....we are going no matter what. We have access to boats ranging from 10'-18' and can pack accordingly. The friend I am going with has done 9 trips that time of year and never canceled.
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Old 06-11-2012   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idahofloater View Post
I'd plan on hitting alberton gorge on the Clark Fork. Its about 2 hour drive to the put in from 3rivers.
This!

Hit what is good when it's good!
The Gorge is typically excellent in early to mid-July.
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Old 06-11-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by restrac2000 View Post
So has every year since 2007 been way above average? Or is there a different gauge? Every year since 2007 has had flows above 2.5k past the week of July 4th. In fact, the USGS site doesn't show a single year at 1k until the end of July.
Yes every year for the last few have been wayyyy above normal. But the lochsa is rarely floatable after the 4th of july. If your checking the lowel gage then your getting both the selway and lochsa flow combined. So, really your getting the flow reading for the middle fork of the clearwater. The olny gage that I use is the one painted on the north pilar on the bridge at 3 rivers. Its listed in feet not cfs. I feel that you need 1.5 feet or higher. July will be -2 feet. Aslo there are no (very few) smallies on the clearwater. You need to get way down near lewiston or on dworshak for smallies. You wont really catch much in the way of smallies that high up. Really fishing the MF Clearwater preaty much sucks until the steelies run. That 18' boat will be tight on the selway in laddle, double drop, ect. just a thought.
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Old 06-11-2012   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idahofloater View Post
If your checking the lowel gage then your getting both the selway and lochsa flow combined. So, really your getting the flow reading for the middle fork of the clearwater. The olny gage that I use is the one painted on the north pilar on the bridge at 3 rivers. Its listed in feet not cfs. I feel that you need 1.5 feet or higher. July will be -2 feet.
This is incorrect. There are two gauges (both online), one for the Lochsa, and one for the Selway. Neither one combines the flow so they are both good measures of each river's flow. There is a rough conversion chart (actually two) to take you from cfs to bridge gauge feet (don't use the online gauge feet).

If you're not used to the Lochsa, I don't recommend going below 2' (roughly 3500 cfs) because it gets pretty tricky through a few spots. If you love technical rocky rivers, you might like it. The typical Lochsa is considered to come in around 4' (8000 cfs). Between those levels it is a pretty tame river, lacking in power but still with some moves to make.

If you are not familiar with the upper section I recommend you start out on the lower, launch at Fish cr and take out at 3 options downstream - Split Cr, Bimerick/110, or Knife Edge. Split has a huge staircase and is not used too often with oar rigs.

On the question of whether or not it will be flowing, that's anybody's guess. It's still pretty cold, with snow building up (replacing our big loss in April) so we're at a normal snowpack for this time of year. Add in the rain, and who knows what it will do. But petering out is the norm, although we could get one last blast with a really warm spell (I hope).
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