Miles per day on the main salmon at 0 feet? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-25-2011   #1
 
Missoula, Montana
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Miles per day on the main salmon at 0 feet?

Putting on the main this friday and wondering how fast the river flows at the current level. How big a day is 20 miles at this level? Is a 5 day trip reasonable? Any sections that are particularly fast or slow?

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Old 08-25-2011   #2
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Just got back from the Main Salmon last weekend. Our level at the put-in on Aug. 13th was 1.25 ft. A great level. We did 18 miles to our first camp with no problem at all, and we weren't rowing especially hard. The section between Five Mile Bar and Warren Creek is called "Salmon Lake" for a reason. You definitely don't want to be rowing Salmon Lake in the late afternoon with wind. Our trick on the Main Salmon is to get going early in the morning while it's cool and there's no wind. We were out of camp each morning between 9:00 - 9:30am, and into our next camp well before 3:00pm every day. The wind usually starts up after about 2:00 in the afternoon. Most folks do the Main in 6 days/5 nights. 5 days at low water might be a bit of a grind. Besides, you're on the river to enjoy yourself, why rush. We keep our group size small, and do an 8 day trip with two layovers.
Have fun & watch out for the two new rapids......Alder Falls and Black Creek.
The Main Salmon is my all time favorite river trip. PM me if you have other questions.
KJ
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Old 08-25-2011   #3
 
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Loveland, Colorado
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I am a rookie at this river compared to Cataraftgirl, but I agree....We ran it at about 1.75 and basically lazed along...6 nights with 12 people. We were contemplating a layover but decided in favor of lazy days.

One thing I learned is to either have a reserved last night camp or be prepared to get on the river early to get to your preferred camp. A number of groups sent someone down to grab a Sheep creek camp, which were nice, but couldn't be reserved.

As far as Alder and Black Creek, unless the lower water makes them harder, they aren't too bad. This was my first time rowing a raft and my little 12' rig did fine...They seemed to be one-move rapids and if you made that move, you were GTG.

Just scout and pick your move carefully. I found Big Mallard to be a bit more worrisome. First time ever to do a GC style downstream ferry across the right hand laterals and to the right of the hole.

Tried the same move in Elkhorn (getting cocky now) with less than stellar success, and rode up on the pillow on the center rock.

Still lots of fun and no carnage.
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Old 08-25-2011   #4
 
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Sandy, Utah
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John - next time run Big Mallard on the left side. This is the preferred route, and much less troublesome than trying to run right of the hole. I know it looks weird to run down the left, but that's the way to go.
Alder wasn't bad, as long as you stay away from the pourover on the right side. Black Creek at 1 ft. was a big plunge on the left side, big waves, and lots a bouncing around. No flips, but my friend's dog got launched out of the boat and swam the rapid. She's a veteran river dog, and did just fine.
We usually never do reserve camps, but have done a reserve first night camp the last two years. We did two reserves this year. We have used Big Squaw at mile 18 for the first night which sets us up for our two layovers. We did do 8 short days a few years ago which was also nice.
It seemed like the river right beach camps were steeper this year. We camped at Slide (river left) on our last night which is one that never seemed appealing before, but was nice this year.
Catflipper - have fun, it's a great trip.
John in Loveland - sounds like you had a great rookie run !!!!!
KJ
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Old 08-25-2011   #5
 
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North Fork, Idaho
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Catflipper, we are putting on next Saturday. Give us a report when you get back if you get a chance. I ran the Main in mid July at 3.8 which was fantastic. Usually though it is at 1 foot or less this time of year. My friends say to run right at Black Canyon, but we will scout. Running left on the tongue is my preference given no new surprises.

We reserve at least the last night if we can and trade if needed to get it. It is nice to know where you will end up for the last night to plan for the takeout.

Have fun, unfortunately the fire season is now here with a vengeance. You are probably seeing smoke from the Saddle Complex in Missoula.
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Old 08-25-2011   #6
 
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Loveland, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
John - next time run Big Mallard on the left side. This is the preferred route, and much less troublesome than trying to run right of the hole. I know it looks weird to run down the left, but that's the way to go.
Alder wasn't bad, as long as you stay away from the pourover on the right side. Black Creek at 1 ft. was a big plunge on the left side, big waves, and lots a bouncing around. No flips, but my friend's dog got launched out of the boat and swam the rapid. She's a veteran river dog, and did just fine.
We usually never do reserve camps, but have done a reserve first night camp the last two years. We did two reserves this year. We have used Big Squaw at mile 18 for the first night which sets us up for our two layovers. We did do 8 short days a few years ago which was also nice.
It seemed like the river right beach camps were steeper this year. We camped at Slide (river left) on our last night which is one that never seemed appealing before, but was nice this year.
Catflipper - have fun, it's a great trip.
John in Loveland - sounds like you had a great rookie run !!!!!
KJ
Yeah thats what the guide book said. It looked narrow and several were worried about scraping an oar on the shore. We watched another group come down after us and they ran left. Pointed there nose at the shore and drifted down sideways until just before the hole, pivoted and slipped through the space between the shore and hole. From the bottom it looked like a freeway, but was hard to tell from the scout.

All the same, I enjoyed the right run for the practice it gave me with a Downstream Ferry. I kept visualizing a Skull run I saw on Youtube where the oarsman did the same thing...pointed his nose downstream at the laterals and pushed through to the left of skull - easy as pie. Guess I was with a bunch of GC veterans and they kept saying things like "classic GC move" and "just like what you do on Crystal." It was a nice low risk place to practice, although one veteran of both the Grand and Salmon didn't pull hard enough on that darn right oar and dropped into the hole....a lovely lauch of both of them into the water and the raft slipped gently out and downstream. (don't suppose you know Gonzo from NV by chance....not to be telling secrets out of school)
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Old 08-25-2011   #7
 
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Loveland, Colorado
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We camped at Brush the last night, across from the sheeps. Its a very steep beach and hot on the sand - gets sun until late. However, the stream runs down along the back of the bar and there is a lot of lovely shade streamside...and the stream is cold enough to really chill those last few beers. Its also a lovely view downstream around several bends
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Old 08-25-2011   #8
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Yep...... Mallard is a very deceiving rapid from the scout. Why on earth would you want to squeeze through on the left when the right side is so large and open????? Because all of the flow is going right to left into the hole. And yes.....you have to watch your left oar along the shore rocks. I've banged mine a few times. Bet that was a hoot to watch your buddy get launched on Mallard.
We passed up Brush Creek because of the steepness. Slide wasn't quite as steep, but like Brush, had no real afternoon shade. However, our temps were quite mild for August, and Slide had a wonderful shallow eddy. We set up the card table in the shallow water and played canasta all afternoon, in between swims in the eddy. We made awesome time down from Upper James, and were in camp at Slide by lunchtime. A mini layover.....Yipeee, a 2.5 layover trip.
KJ
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Old 08-25-2011   #9
 
Newberg, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cataraftgirl View Post
Yep...... Mallard is a very deceiving rapid from the scout. Why on earth would you want to squeeze through on the left when the right side is so large and open????? Because all of the flow is going right to left into the hole. And yes.....you have to watch your left oar along the shore rocks. I've banged mine a few times. Bet that was a hoot to watch your buddy get launched on Mallard.
We passed up Brush Creek because of the steepness. Slide wasn't quite as steep, but like Brush, had no real afternoon shade. However, our temps were quite mild for August, and Slide had a wonderful shallow eddy. We set up the card table in the shallow water and played canasta all afternoon, in between swims in the eddy. We made awesome time down from Upper James, and were in camp at Slide by lunchtime. A mini layover.....Yipeee, a 2.5 layover trip.
KJ
Big Mallard left! Fun stuff.
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