South Fork of Salmon Raft Recommendations - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-11-2019   #1
 
Little Rock, Arkansas
Paddling Since: 1974
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South Fork of Salmon Raft Recommendations

Have a trip on the South Fork of the Salmon River with launch date of July 4th.

Looking for recommendations/guidance on raft size based on water level for the trip.
Have access to a 19ft Maravia cat, 16ft Avon or 14ft Maravia.

Which boat works best based on the water level?

Have numerous trips on the Middle Fork from 6ft to less than 2ft, Main Salmon at various levels and the Grand Canyon.

Thanks,

Marcell Jones

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Old 04-12-2019   #2
 
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On The River, Idaho
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July 4th - you and everyone else. It does get busy that time of year as it's basically prime time. Take the 14' raft and be ready to break some oars and flip. I saw a video of an avalanche that occurred upstream on the EF the other day. There are about a million trees in the river, so that could change some things down on the SF as well depending on high water clean out. Have Fun!
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Old 04-12-2019   #3
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Boise, Idaho
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I agree with onyxjones take the 14' and the river will be clear by July unless some crazy mother earth thing happens! You must have a custom Maravia cat at 19' that is HUGE! Grand Canyon worthy for sure Have an amazing trip, we are just starting the melt out so you will see a lot of wood coming down the rivers that typically wash right through in the next 4-8 weeks then it's RIVER TIME (minus logs, we are already there)!! Wahoo be safe and have an amazing trip

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Originally Posted by onyxjones View Post
Have a trip on the South Fork of the Salmon River with launch date of July 4th.

Looking for recommendations/guidance on raft size based on water level for the trip.
Have access to a 19ft Maravia cat, 16ft Avon or 14ft Maravia.

Which boat works best based on the water level?

Have numerous trips on the Middle Fork from 6ft to less than 2ft, Main Salmon at various levels and the Grand Canyon.

Thanks,

Marcell Jones
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Old 04-12-2019   #4
 
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
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I concur with the 14 footer, but you're not going to want to bring all the normal multi-day gear like large dry boxes and coolers, etc.

The South Fork is considerably more difficult and technical than the Middle Fork. You're going to want a very light and sporty set up with minimal gear.

Snow pack in that drainage is over 100% right now, so flows could be higher than normal.
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Old 04-12-2019   #5
 
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https://www.facebook.com/NWSBoise/?_...56ClHQ&__xts__

Here is a link to some video of the avalanche. Does this count as some crazy mother earth thing! That's a crazy amount of wood that has been dumped in the system.
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Old 04-12-2019   #6
 
Join Date: May 2005
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If that list is the hardest stuff you've run I would reconsider getting on the SFS with a raft. I think it is a much easier run to kayak than raft- especially if you end up outside the magic medium flow.
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Old 04-13-2019   #7
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Baytopia, Colorado
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I hate to be harsh but it sounds to me like you have absolutely no idea what you would be getting into. Even considering a 16 or god forbid a 19 ft raft is unthinkable. A 14 is possibly too large at most flows. Fall creek can be a legit class V. You should have significant experience creeking in a raft before you launch on the SFS.
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Old 04-15-2019   #8
 
Little Rock, Arkansas
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South Fork of Sa;mon Raft Recommendations

Thanks for the responses on rafts and other comments.

Let answer a couple of questions from the posts.

Yes, the 19ft cat is a custom raft designed for the GC, Main Salmon, MF and other large flows and to carry gear.

I wanted to confirm what I had been told and understood on the raft size to run the South Fork. The 19ft and 16ft will be used on the MF in June and the Main after that. Will have to plan to bring the 14ft boat on the trip.

One other question: I have been told the South Fork closely mirrors the MF in level (not difficulty). Is this true.

Thanks,Marcell.
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Old 04-16-2019   #9
 
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No.
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Old 04-17-2019   #10
 
BOISE, Idaho
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I would agree that the SFS mirrors the MFS, only in the fact that both rivers go from death defying high flow to rock struggling low flow at some time in the season. The difference is the sweet spot on the MFS (IMO 3.5-2.5 ft) can last 4-6 weeks. The sweet spot on the SFS (IMO 3 ft period) might only last a day, and could happen overnight. I have 'Z-dragged' multiple round boats on the SFS below 3 ft, I am assuming above 3ft, they just flushed out, upside down, to the Main Salmon.
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