Lower Owyhee- June? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-24-2020   #1
wharf-rat's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 63
Lower Owyhee- June?

Im planning a June 2 Trip
I put in for a highly coveted middle fork salmon, but if i dont get that im thinking a high water main salmon launch
Is Owyhee typically run early June?

If you had to choose: Main salmon or Owyhee First week of June

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
chiefstilh20's Avatar
East Wenatchee, Washington
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 107
Lower Owyhee in June would have non rafting flow level. Main Salmon in early June could have very high flows - for the very experienced. Check river gauges for these two rivers for past historical flows to give you a better idea of what might be expected.

There are previous posts for the Owyhee discussing flows, so do a search on OWYHEE.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
White Bird, 83554
Paddling Since: 2003
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Typically, the Owyhee is run in March, April, and sometimes May, depending on snowpack and runoff. Rarely, it can be run in June. Cutoff flows for rafts are generally in the 1,000 - 1,200 cfs range. If you were willing to go in IK's or other small craft, you could manage flows well below that. The Main Salmon in early June could be really big or not, again depending on snowpack and runoff.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Keep your eye on how the snowpack melts in April and what the rain situation looks like on the Owyhee. If snow melts slow with some good rain you may catch a low water Owyhee trip. I would agree with a raft cutoff at 1000 but have done a trip at about 600 and it wasn't so bad. Wouldn't hold on my breath for a June Owyhee trip though.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
Bigwaterforeveryone's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Feb 2018
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I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of a June 2 Owyhee trip just yet. While it is still early days snowpack-wise, as of Jan. 30, the Owyhee basin has Snow Water Equivalent of 127% of normal. In 2019 when the Owyhee had similar snowpack in April, the Owyhee seemed to defy the odds and ran through the third week of June.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
oarframe's Avatar
Gardnerville, Nevada
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Posts: 482
Why wait, it's running now!
more snow = more water
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 59
Owyhee will probably be to low. The main will be too high for some. Another direction...The Dolores is SW Colorado should flow this year and has a great 5 day stretch. Cahone to Bedrock.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Probably too early to predict the Owyhee, there is possibility for a snowy late Winter and the basin is sitting above average (average does include some very lean years). The only time we ran the Lower Owyhee was early July when in lieu of a MF that was too high for our TLs comfort we headed S and ran the Bruneau and Owyhee instead. Anything is possible if not probable.

As said above the Main Salmon could be huge in early June....then again it could be fine. That time of year is so variable and impossible to call so far out, even a weak snowpack can come off really quickly and give a short but big spike. Make plans by all means but be prepared to change horses on the fly as conditions dictate.

I'd be thinking and plotting all of this myself at this time of year but as we will be on the Grand in early June.. ho hum
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