Middle fork salmon advice - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-18-2015   #1
 
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Middle fork salmon advice

We are launching mid May on the Middle Fork. I've never ran this before and I'm trying to decide which one of my boats to take. (12' Sotar legend or the 16' legend?) My 16 foot is pretty darn wide and I'm running 11 foot oars. I set it up for the Grande, and other big water with a lot of gear and the wife. The 12' just has the NRS sport cat frame. I know I'd rather be on this for just plain fun, but it doesn't haul gear too well. Is The MFS big enough for my big boat that I can take whatever I want on? Or would I be better off going backpacker style on the little one? Thanks Gumby

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Old 04-18-2015   #2
 
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In May.....bigger boat
In Aug/Sept.....little boat
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Old 04-18-2015   #3
 
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Big boat for sure. You will want the bigger boat to haul gear and still be able to make moves. I expect you would have flows from 4-5ft but it could all come off at once if the weather gets super hot for a while. Then you might be right in the middle of the peak that time of year. Looks like the river is coming up in the next week.
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Old 04-18-2015   #4
 
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Ran my 18' down last July. Go big, you'll be glad you did if it gets hot and blows out.
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Old 04-18-2015   #5
 
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Depends on your Put-in location. It's always a crap shoot as to weather the road to boundary will be clear. There is always lots of speculation the the truth is you won't know until a few days ahead of time. We have always planned on boundary not being open for mid May and allow time and/or money to Fly in the IC or run Marsh. Marsh is a viable option if your group in on their A game but shit goes bad fast up there. Dagger is great if it's wood free and you can see the bubble line but the portage is miserable with long trip gear. A small boat for Marsh is my preference. If you fly in to IC boat size depends on how much your willing to pay. It's always cheapest to put as many people on a boat as possible but many people aren't willing the ride or share the oars. Have fun and be safe out there.
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Old 04-18-2015   #6
 
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Oarboatman is on point. Mid-May might mean a launch on Marsh - @ 90 cfs. Thankfully another small creek joins in after 100 yards and now you have 150-200cfs! Thankfully it is a small channel and people get 16' boats down Marsh with some effort.

By the lower sections of the Middle fork you could be on 5,000-10,000 cfs on the Middle and add another 10,000 cfs at the confluence with the Main. Snowpack this year is on the low side, but it might still be a couple weeks before you know where you are likely to launch.

I've taken my 7' wide 14' long self bailer (heavily loaded) down Marsh several times with 9' oars. I usually get hung up a couple times. If you haven't been before it is technical boating with blind corners and the possibility of channel blocking logs in some places. Frankly the whitewater doesn't exceed III+/IV- on Marsh (and really in only one rapid), the real problem is potential for huge logs with sharp broken branches blocking the channel combined with a lack of eddies. People have died on Marsh due to the logs. That said, the three trips I've been on we didn't have wood problems on Marsh. One trip Dagger Falls was blocked by three massive logs. Another trip after the Lake Creek blowout we portaged all the boats around that due to wood issues. Pistol rapid also likes to hold wood; a massive log jam there eventually had to be dynamited out.

If you haven't joined the Idaho whitewater yahoo group ( https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/idahowhitewater ) do it now. There will be updates there about levels, snowpack, road openings, maybe flyovers of the river before the first people go down it, and trip reports. Make sure you file a trip report there as soon as you get off the river if you find any issues with wood - or to report a lack of wood issues.
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Old 04-18-2015   #7
 
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Right now we're planning on the road being open. If that's the case I think the 16 footer is a go, otherwise we will be running Marsh. In that case there's a chance of a portage and I'll definitely be taking the 12. Thanks for the heads up about the Idaho whitewater yahoo group. Can't wait to see some new white water!
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Old 04-19-2015   #8
 
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Marsh... For the record only lost gear from that CFS was an oar that was bent above the beaver ponds. Another word to the wise is once you get to the beaver ponds on marsh STOP and walk the river bank to scout. We walked way down river on the trial and the log could not be seen from the trail. That was some scarey shit. How was our spacing?
Have fun and be safe out there.
Jake
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Old 04-19-2015   #9
 
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Probably not how you expected to start your trip. Looks sketchy.
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Old 04-19-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumbydamnit View Post
We are launching mid May on the Middle Fork. I've never ran this before and I'm trying to decide which one of my boats to take. (12' Sotar legend or the 16' legend?) My 16 foot is pretty darn wide and I'm running 11 foot oars. I set it up for the Grande, and other big water with a lot of gear and the wife. The 12' just has the NRS sport cat frame. I know I'd rather be on this for just plain fun, but it doesn't haul gear too well. Is The MFS big enough for my big boat that I can take whatever I want on? Or would I be better off going backpacker style on the little one? Thanks Gumby
For me part of this question is are you leading or following?

Others in front that have seen the river before or are you all newbies?

And is there enough carrying capacity from other rigs? Or do they/you really need to carry some stuff?

The 16 footer will crush most of the waves in the level I expect to see. Not hat you couldn't get in trouble with a 16 footer, but you could have some real fun with the 12 footer.

Just sayin.
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