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We have a trip planned in 2 weeks on the Main Salmon. The flow is down to 8,040 today and headed lower.

Has anyone rafted at low/lower flows? We have a 16' cataraft and are concerned on how boney it could get.
 

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We did a early Sept. trip in 06 and it was great. Don't remember the flows, but being boney was not a problem. It seems like Mallard had a few rocks to dodge, especially at the bottom. I think we ran it way left. Be ready for some huge beaches at some of the camps. We are running it again in early Sept this year also.

Don't forget your "Invasive Species" tag.

Go Idaho.gov , go to "playing in idaho" tab, then "buy boat stickers"
 

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There was a thread about this same topic a while back that you can look at as well. The flow will not be a problem for your 16' cat. The Main Salmon can be run at low flows, just a few more rocks to navigate around. However be prepared for heat. I just returned from the Main Salmon and it was HOT. It was 100 degrees multiple days so make sure that you have a wing/tarp of some kind to provide shade since most camps offer little to no shade. We also had a rattlesnake in camp one evening so be on the lookout for these. Have fun.
 

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low main floats

I was on a low water august main float.

still plenty of water, just more rocks to dodge in the main rapids but still a great float.

same feed back as noted above. It is hot in the afternoon.

What we ended up doing is sleeping in, and making a late start in the morning. Just easy drifting to stay on the cool water.

Arriving at camps late as we could, set up camp and shade fly and not cook dinner till the shade started as the Sun went behind the hills.

Afternoons were spent finding shade, taking river dips and short naps IE anything to escape the heat. All our camps were river right and these camps do get hot in the afternoon till the sun shadow hits.

All in all, it is a laid back way to experience the beauty of the Main Salmon, just be ready for the afternoon heat and enjoy the time.
 

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The only worries in that section is at high water. low water is not a problem. bring some small jigs 1 1/2" to 2 1/2" 1/8oz heads in smoke, yellow, and fire for the smallies under the south fork. small to med rostertails or your favorite spinner / fly or whatever you use for trout above the SF. good luck.
 

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For those of you who have done low water Main trips, what would you rate the rapids? Easy read/run III's? I've only done it a really hight water (92K @ Whitebird) so I have no idea. We are hoping to take some younger kids down in Sept.
 

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pretty easy read and run 3 is my take
not that much push in low water and easy to boat scout, which is what we did a couple years ago

Like I posted above, it is a great float trip very mellow - swim suit and sun screen makes for a nice float
 

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For those of you who have done low water Main trips, what would you rate the rapids? Easy read/run III's? I've only done it a really hight water (92K @ Whitebird) so I have no idea. We are hoping to take some younger kids down in Sept.
I would say read and run III's at the most. We didn't scout anything.
I don't think there is any comparison to high water runs from what I was told by a guy on our trip that ran it at high water.
 

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(92K @ Whitebird) quote]

92K "holly crappie batman" you must have balls of steal *k-wammpy* anyway there are pleanty of oppertunities to get in trouble but yes mostly big water 3. ya still want to scout dropps like salmon falls and stuff. Just use good judgement and the kids should be ok. I took my kids (4 and 6 girls) down last sept @ 4k whitebird. but as you see in previous posts the sun is class 5 and that takes a toll on the little ones. I outfit an old power boat onning to my frame so that i can pull up when the sun comes out.
 

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I've been running the Main Salmon every summer for the past 10 years. Mostly July, August, September. The Main is never too low. There are more rocks and holes to contend with, but nothing terribly significant as long as you're paying attention. Boney is a word I'd never use for the Main Salmon. Late season Middle Fork.....most definitely, but not the Main. The slot at Salmon Falls can get a bit tighter at low flows. I'd highly suggest getting the guide book by Eric Newell (Black Canyon publishing). It has excellent descriptions of rapids (with diagrams), camps (with GPS), and river history. With input from this guide, you should be able to read/run without too much trouble. Don't let anyone talk you into running right on Big Mallard.
We're launching Aug. 8th on the Main. I'm gearing up for some scorching temps, but that just makes the swimming in camp more fun. September will be great, maybe a little cooler.
Take care & have fun
KJ
 

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For those of you who have done low water Main trips, what would you rate the rapids? Easy read/run III's? I've only done it a really hight water (92K @ Whitebird) so I have no idea. We are hoping to take some younger kids down in Sept.
Should be fine. Don't go right at Big Mallard. I don't even remember much of the rest. Huuuuuuggggeeee beaches. Should be a fun kids trip.
 
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