SMITH RIVER LOW FLOW - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-29-2012   #1
 
ROCKWOOD, Pennsylvania
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SMITH RIVER LOW FLOW

What is the lowest flow for a 16' raft on the Smith River mt.?

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Old 06-29-2012   #2
 
Missoula, Montana
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Did it last year July 30th and it was at around 230cfs at eagle creek the day we put in. 2 of us in a 14' cat that wasn't particularly light (full keg). First day was rough, lots of pushing, but 16' raft should do better in the shallows, especially if you have a lot of pushers. Gauge is at 275 now so it'll probably be lower by mid-July. Iffy for ya but with a good crew it'd probably still be fun.
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Old 06-29-2012   #3
 
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Lewistown, middle of MT
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I don't think I'd do a 16 foot raft in the Smith, but I certainly wouldn't go below 300 CFS- way too much work. The Smith in July is really canoe time usually.
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Old 06-29-2012   #4
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Just got off yesterday afternoon with an Aire 156. Launched with the gauge at 350ish, and we had enough flow .....barely. It was a lot of work in a loaded boat. If you went really light it would be a little better, as long as the flow was the same. But it's getting thinner daily. The paddle out was kinda brutal with my boat, although we were running heavy.

Beautiful trip - the young'uns had a blast.
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Old 06-30-2012   #5
 
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portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Flaco
Just got off yesterday afternoon with an Aire 156. Launched with the gauge at 350ish, and we had enough flow .....barely. It was a lot of work in a loaded boat. If you went really light it would be a little better, as long as the flow was the same. But it's getting thinner daily. The paddle out was kinda brutal with my boat, although we were running heavy.

Beautiful trip - the young'uns had a blast.
When you say "loaded boat", how much total weight (inc raft, passengers, gear) would you estimate?
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Old 06-30-2012   #6
 
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El flaco,

I gotta permit cancellation in about 5 days. I have multiple boat options including going super light backpacking style with a couple of ten foot cats [For each person]. I am figuring about 200csf the way the guage is looking.

You just saw the river, I have never been in that corridor before... Is it going to be passable in your opinion?

These boats are real easy to row, so I am more concerned about having to carry the boat than excess rowing.

I have to decide by monday weather to cancel or commit.
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Old 06-30-2012   #7
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Avatard View Post
When you say "loaded boat", how much total weight (inc raft, passengers, gear) would you estimate?
2 coolers, kitchen box, 2 adults and two kids with all the crap that comes with two kids. Lots of water in and lots of trash out. Extra ammo cans that were brought for the trip and hauled out by me because the last boat was going to take its time fishing while we beelined to the takeout in order to make some road time while it was light out. Plus I have a diamond plate frame & wood floors.

I dunno - I was drawing a lot of water, so maybe 2000+?

The other part is the wind- we had mostly fantastic weather, but when the wind comes up you can get pushed into the shoals very easily. We made about 15 miles in 5 hours, which isn't bad. The last long push after you leave the canyon is the toughest stretch because there are a lot more shoals and the flow slows considerable. The first day was the most technical, and hard in a loaded boat.

Festivus- at configuration sounds doable as long as the flows hold above 200. I'd plan on going. Your days might be long, but it's a really great stretch and the camps are pretty much all spectacular. We had Canyon Depth, Middle Sunset Cliff, Upper Parker, and Upper Ridgetop. All great camps, although Ridgetop was a little bit of a tough launch for big boats. Fraunhoffer looked awesome with a great swimming hole on the beach.

Also- there is a store at mile 28 that sells ice for $3 a bag, so you can re-stock a cooler if necessary.
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Old 06-30-2012   #8
 
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portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Flaco

2 coolers, kitchen box, 2 adults and two kids with all the crap that comes with two kids. Lots of water in and lots of trash out. Extra ammo cans that were brought for the trip and hauled out by me because the last boat was going to take its time fishing while we beelined to the takeout in order to make some road time while it was light out. Plus I have a diamond plate frame & wood floors.

I dunno - I was drawing a lot of water, so maybe 2000+?

I was just asking because i'm trying to gauge how much is too much. I'm planning on a 1.9' MFS in mid August and my leopard with boxes, food, cooler, all the gear for two and me is gonna be about 1200 lbs. thats if i make my wife row an IK to save on weight. Its a lot of weight but a 12' frame, two dryboxes, a lot of pelican cases, a yeti 120, groover, ice, water etc. I will have a chance a few weeks before to test the "draft" under similar conditions. The floor is open so if i get stuck in the shallows i can fred flintstone it and provide the equivalent of 300 lbs of "lift"

Sounds like your CFS was really low but depends a lot on the river and have no experience on your river. The MFS should be about 800-1000 cfs
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Old 06-30-2012   #9
 
Missoula, Montana
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Originally Posted by festivus View Post
El flaco,

I gotta permit cancellation in about 5 days. I have multiple boat options including going super light backpacking style with a couple of ten foot cats [For each person]. I am figuring about 200csf the way the guage is looking.

You just saw the river, I have never been in that corridor before... Is it going to be passable in your opinion?

These boats are real easy to row, so I am more concerned about having to carry the boat than excess rowing.

I have to decide by monday weather to cancel or commit.
I think you'll be fine in that configuration. Plan on a bit of pushing but no carrying.
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Old 06-30-2012   #10
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avatard View Post
I was just asking because i'm trying to gauge how much is too much. I'm planning on a 1.9' MFS in mid August and my leopard with boxes, food, cooler, all the gear for two and me is gonna be about 1200 lbs. thats if i make my wife row an IK to save on weight. Its a lot of weight but a 12' frame, two dryboxes, a lot of pelican cases, a yeti 120, groover, ice, water etc. I will have a chance a few weeks before to test the "draft" under similar conditions. The floor is open so if i get stuck in the shallows i can fred flintstone it and provide the equivalent of 300 lbs of "lift"

Sounds like your CFS was really low but depends a lot on the river and have no experience on your river. The MFS should be about 800-1000 cfs
I can't recall what level we did the MFS, but it was on the low side. I had a 16' Aire Jag at the time and I think the first day was a bit brutal but after that it was fine. If you go light, you should be ok with more displacement on the bigger boat. There will be some tight spots with your wider rig on that first day but other than that you're good.

Bring a fly rod. Unreal fishing on the MFS. Almost unfair.
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