Main Salmon questions - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-19-2009   #1
 
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Main Salmon questions

can anybody tell me why permit season on the Main Salmon doesn't start until June 19th? seems a bit late to me. Would I regret planning a June 15th launch? there must be something I don't know...

and

Is that run wood dory friendly? at all levels? only high water?

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Old 01-19-2009   #2
 
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
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It's true. There's just nobody up there that time of year.

Two years ago we launched on 6/3/07. Last year we finished the Middle Fork and just decided to keep going. I think we launched on the Main on 6/3/08 (just realized the same date two years in a row, huh). First year, we got checked out by a ranger. Last year nobody as around, not even a ranger. Just dropped the fee in the box and headed down. I've heard they have switched the process a bit and they no longer accept payment at the put in. You must pay 3 days ahead.

Last year there was only one other group on the river. We met up with them at the hot spring. Just happened to be the author of the guide book to the Main. Pretty cool.

Definitely dory friendly. Tons of water! They run jet boats up and down it. Definitely the way to do the shuttle in my opinion. Guess you couldn't do that with a dory though.

Depending on how permits go this year, I might be headed back for a pre-6/20 launch myself.

Laurie
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Old 01-20-2009   #3
 
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Northern Utah, Utah
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Main Beta

The Main is a great pre-season run. I think the high water that typically peaks around early June scares a lot of people off.

We ran in it 2006, launched on the 19th of June, only one other group launched that day and we only passed one or two other groups the entire trip. We did check in with the ranger who was on duty that day, but the attitude was pretty laid back. We had our pick of campsites.

We did the run from Corn Creek down to Spring Bar in 2.5 days, spending an average of 5-6 hours a day on the river. The water was high coming off peak about two weeks previously. It made the "lake" like sections a breeze to paddle through.
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Old 01-20-2009   #4
 
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at my house, Montana
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Let's say we're just lucky, for now. Permits are based on when there is high use, and it must just be that there are so many other rivers to run before then, that people are drawn away. It is a hellishly long shuttle, either doing it or paying for it, so that's a big deterrent. I think (but I'm not sure) it also has to do with when there is more jetboat traffice, which makes the river much busier.

Shoot, if you have the skill and the money to pay for a shuttle, do a pre-season selway!
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Old 01-21-2009   #5
 
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Jetboat traffic on the Main during pre-season will be minimal.

A jetboat is also a GREAT way to avoid doing a shuttle, but it's more expensive than a traditional shuttle.

Shuttle costs still aren't too bad - $300+ per vehicle for the Main. see www.rivershuttles.com

Something else to consider - you can easily extend (or double) a trip on the Main by running the upper 40 miles or so from North Fork to Corn Creek, and by running the 40+ miles from the traditional takeout at Vinegar Creek down to Riggins.

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Old 01-21-2009   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatmanZ View Post
Jetboat traffic on the Main during pre-season will be minimal.

A jetboat is also a GREAT way to avoid doing a shuttle, but it's more expensive than a traditional shuttle.

Shuttle costs still aren't too bad - $300+ per vehicle for the Main. see www.rivershuttles.com

Something else to consider - you can easily extend (or double) a trip on the Main by running the upper 40 miles or so from North Fork to Corn Creek, and by running the 40+ miles from the traditional takeout at Vinegar Creek down to Riggins.

Shoot, go all the way down the lower and make it a super long trip. That is, as long as slide is runnable at the time/level.
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Old 01-21-2009   #7
 
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Main

I am planning on doing Boundary Creek, or Marsh, all the way to Lewiston/ Clarkston starting the end of May. We will pick up My snout in Riggins so I can set safety and pick up a pieces below the slide. I ran the MF/ Main a couple of years ago. It was 8.5 feet on the Corn Creek boat ramp and almost 50K at White Bird when we took out. Elkhorn and Chitam were the only rapids of any consequence and you can cheat both of them. I have a buddy that ran it at 90K and said it was similar It is a great trip and has one spectacular hot springs. That will be my long trip of 09.
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Old 01-21-2009   #8
JBL
 
Gnarnia, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oarboatman View Post
It was 8.5 feet on the Corn Creek boat ramp and almost 50K at White Bird when we took out. Elkhorn and Chitam were the only rapids of any consequence and you can cheat both of them. I have a buddy that ran it at 90K and said it was similar It is a great trip and has one spectacular hot springs. That will be my long trip of 09.
I ran it in May of '06 and it was 92,000 at Whitebird. At the put it, it was lapping 13 ft on the ramp. The rapids weren't really the issue. It was the eddy lines, boils and the cold, fast water. Whiplash was the real kicker of the run. Everyone made it through upright but if you'd have screwed up, you'd have been f-ed. Most other rapids were either washed out or just plain huge. 12-15 ft waves were common. Take a big boat if you can. We ran 18 ft oar rigs and 17 ft dories. Have fun.
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