Owyhee late March - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-03-2019   #1
durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 13
Owyhee late March

Hey, we are thinking about a lower Owyhee river trip late March. Wondering if anyone had any insight to water flows, weather, etc. We will be a party of 9- well versed in Colorado and Utah waters, but this is new to us. Looking for advice re: shuttle, water flows, weather, and Leslie Gulch towing situations. It's looking like an amazing year for water! Thanks in advance for any info you guys could give.

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Old 03-03-2019   #2
the grove, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,803
it can be any type of weather in late march, raining, hailing, snowing, sunny, 50 mph winds, totally shit balls, or it could be fairly nice (all within 1 day, seriously). Like wise if its still cold, the flow could be low, or it could be 2x flood stage (and this can all happen in a weeks time). Its a roulette wheel really. No way to predict this far out.
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Old 03-03-2019   #3
durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 13
That sounds about right. Same here. River trips are always totally amazing or total shit. Here's hoping.
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Old 03-04-2019   #4
Treasure Valley, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 36
My forecast looks like some sun with clouds. Day time temps will be warming, with cool nights. Rain possible in the late day and early mornings. Chance of lightening is LOW.

Flows will be tricky this time of year- but they should be above average and rising. Possibly at flood stage. If it is not at flood stage, skip the trip because it has been too cold to melt snow.

You will have your pick of camps- as you will be in the only one the river.

Film the trip! It will be fun!
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Old 03-04-2019   #5
Chunkylover53's Avatar
Northeast Oregon, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 15
I've done several late March trips on the Owyhee and they have all been memorable. I highly recommend taking out at Birch Creek, not Leslie Gulch. The road can be a little dicey (class 3), but early season Owyhee trips are great since you'll likely miss the fair-weather boaters shitshow. American Whitewater is a good resource too.

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Old 03-04-2019   #6
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 274
I've done a couple late March trips as well. Weather can be super unpredictable as stated above. I can't remember when the road opens to Birch Creek but I remember one year we were worried that it wouldn't open in time for our trip. I've done both takeouts, when we did the lake it was full and we brought a motor, made it easy. But not sure where the lake is at now. I've always done it as a 4 day 3 night trip but would like to spend more time next time I go back. Early spring is nice because you do avoid some of the crowds. Try and keep it above 1,200 cfs if you are rowing a decent sized raft.
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Old 03-05-2019   #7
the grove, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,803
Spring in the Owyhee

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Old 03-24-2019   #9
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 13
From what I've read, the snowpack tends to let go pretty quickly, and then it's over. There's a lot of snow now in the area now, over 100%, but once it starts melting it will go quickly. There are sites to watch the snowpack https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/reports...?report=Oregon ,

the flow
https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?c...ate=2019-03-19 ,

and the lake level, currently at 55% https://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/owytea.html ,

In 2017 the river flow was above 1000cfs from March thru June, a pretty good year. 2018 only went above 1000 for a few days in March and that was it! 2016 was OK, again Mar/April/May is the time to go. Here's the graph for the last 3 years.

My question for people is how many days minimum from Rome to Leslie Gulch no tow? Is it doable in 4 days? What flow?
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