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Discussion Starter #1
I've read a few write ups on the illinois and understand the risks of flash floods in there. That being said, I can't really get a good feel on the whitewater at reasonable flows. We are tentatively planning a self support kayak trip the first week of april if flows cooperate. Most of our group is pretty solid but we do have a few more timid paddlers. They are very competent skill wise, but I don't want to get them in over their heads mentally in there since it is so committing. I'm thinking if we hold a solid cutoff of 1600 with good weather it should be manageable but any info is appreciated.

For reference around that area I've paddled the NF smith at 12 ft, s fork trinity at highish flows, canton creek when steamboat creek was around 7-8k. Do any of these compare? Any runs in OR, ID, or CO that compare? Can you portage a kayak if you absolutely need to?

Also, as a backup, we are thinking the rogue. Is there enough whitewater to keep everyone on our trip entertained if we fall back on this?

That's a ton of questions, thanks for the info Jeffersonians.
 

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I've done the Illinois a couple of times and the Rogue more times than I have digits. I paddled the Illinois at 800 and 1500 CFS. 1500 was considerable easier. I have heard of people portaging the green wall with kayaks. When I self support, my kayak is way too heavy for me to pick up by myself and I doubt if I could portage the green wall with it. It is all one way on the Illinois, there are no trails and climbing out through the steep poison oak covered mountains wouldn't be advisable. As you know the flows can change rapidly, but they tend to stay more consistant in the spring with the snow melt. It is a uniquely beautiful exhilarating river to paddle and mostly just a class four trip.
If your group hasn't done the Rogue, I would recommend it first. It also is a magnificent river, and Blossom Bar is no problem for a kayak. Rainy could be interesting, but it can easily be avoided. There are a lot more camping spots on the Rogue and you might actually see other people if you need help.
 

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There is an excellent book on the Illinois River by James Quinn "The handbook to the Illinois River Canyon". There is a coppy on eBay right now for $15. It should give you a good feeling of what that river is like.
 

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Info on the Illinois

Take the Quinn guides with a grain of salt! They were written quite a while ago as I recall, before the advent of "modern" equipment. That said, the Illy is a beautiful river and I like running it at low water, having done it three times between 800 and 1200 on the gage at Kerby. Actual flows at Green Wall are considerably higher. You could portage a kayak at Green Wall, but it would be a bit of a trek. Sounds like your group could probably handle it though.

Our friend Will at Indigo Creek Outfitters is definitely an expert on the Illy and great guy to boot.
 

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12' on the NF Smith is going to feel kind of like 2500ish on the Illinois, minus Green Wall, which is the obvious stand out rapid on the stretch. With a kayak there is an easy but long portage on river left at GW.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Right on thanks for the info guys. Sounds like an incredibly fun trip and even if it's not this year. It's definitely on my must do list. (especially if it's as fun/beautiful as the NF smith was @12 ft)

Do you have a comparison of the rogue are normal april flows? Just want to give my group options. I'm thinking it's like the main salmon in terns of splashy class III. Is this about right?
 

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Rogue vs Salmon... They are both about 12 feet/mile and pool drop but generally the features on the Main Salmon are larger than features on the Rogue. In April flows can be all over the place though, so it's hard to say.
 
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