Low Flow Middle Fork Salmon - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
 
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: May 2011
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Low Flow Middle Fork Salmon

I have a 3-September Permit on the Middle Fork.

I have run the Middle Fork before a few times, but never at flows as low as I expect. Any tips for low flow floats on MFS ?

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
 
FatmanZ's Avatar
 
Northern Utah, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
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There are several old threads on this with great and detailed info.

Summary:

pack light, real light, lighter the better
leave the heavy raft (car) camping crap at home
don't be afraid to spend long days on the water
don't skip launching from the top
keep the tubes soft the first 30 miles, REALLY soft
expect lower miles per day / longer days than normal to Indian - you'll get hung up now and again
enjoy the technical challenge of low water navigation
bring some extra oar blades

enjoy the trip!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Spin to win. Wear good shoes and gloves. You will be out of the boat a few times at least.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
 
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: May 2011
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Thanks!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
 
Boise, Idaho
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PM me as 11 of my 12 trips down the MFS have been below two feet.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
 
SLC, Utah
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If this is feasible, leave the rafts at home and put each person in a ducky, packraft, or kayak and pack as though you were backpacking. That will make low flow a total non-issue. Planning on 7 or 8 days will make the trip a lot more relaxing regardless of your craft.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #7
 
Boise, Idaho
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Thanks to All !
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Old 1 Day Ago   #8
Dipshit with the most.
 
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idahoan View Post
PM me as 11 of my 12 trips down the MFS have been below two feet.
If you got something, share it up. That is how a thread becomes useful.

To the OP: What type of craft are you in? Lower pressure in the tubes was mentioned by Curtis. And that won't change with what you are running. Cats do not excel when it gets really low it seems.

I will add that whenever you get stuck try to imagine a 20 foot sweep boat going through. They do and are often close to eight feet wide too.

You should have somewhere around 600 cfs depending a bit on what happens with the weather. I ran it at about 425 cfs in my 17 foot boat. One boat float, two of us and the dog. No resupply at Indian.
That was a challenge. But it made every other trip with more water (all of them) look better.

Instead of trying to miss all of the rocks, you need to pick which ones to run over. As soft as I run my floor I can take a rock that is out of the water a couple of inches down the middle or at least just inside the tubes without hardly slowing down.

Often you will only have water deep enough to row in for a couple of strokes or less. The timing of those strokes become pretty critical. And lots of oar shipping going on during the lower flows.

Getting you and your passenger ( if you have one) to the furthest downstream point of you boat when stuck is helpful. So in bouncing with that. Add in an oar pry or two....and off you go. Hopefully. If you do end up in that almost inevitable position of being out of the boat and pulling, work together if there are two of you. Count it out, so every pull is together. I have seen decent boaters be absolutely destroyed physically by Trail Flat (mile 7.7). To the point of needing to stop for the day. Good boaters, just never gotten worked in low flow.

Make every pull and push and oar stroke count. Pull at the same time. Rest at the same time.

Team work makes the dream.....
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Old 22 Hours Ago   #9
 
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salmon, Idaho
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momentum is your friend, especially in the many shallows.. pick up as much speed as you can.. I often see people trying to back row and miss rocks when contact is inevitable. This just helps you park on said rock. So go for ramming speed and hit the less offensive rock. dont dodge the rock that will be a minor inconvenience just to get stuck on one that might be a problem.
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Old 14 Hours Ago   #10
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Sep 2012
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When it comes to low water MFS trips the “pain” meter definitely depends on the level of experience on the lead boat and the other members of the trip. If no one is really familiar with the lines that is a really painful trip. If one or two know the lines that is still pretty tough since other group members get off line. But if the better part of the group is really familiar with the lines things seem to go pretty well.

Just curious what others think - but it also seems like there is more floor damage (floor pinned/cut between box/cooler and rock) when floors are run too low. I keep my tubes soft but the floor fairly firm. I have seen people add blocks to lift boxes higher on frame...
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