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I have had several clients contacting me concerning shuttles for the preseason on the Main Salmon River. Some of them have concerns about water levels. My questions is what is a safe level to run Corn Creek to Carey Creek in May and early June. I understand it also depends on the experience of the rafter. Any advice or experiences that I can pass along would be much appreciated. Providing some information concerning the history water flows on the Main would also be useful.
 

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Main Salmon levels

Sully - the gauges for Main are a bit confusing, but if you google "USGS Middle Fork Salmon confluence" and add that to "USGS Main Salmon Shoup", you get what is called the @ Corn Creek ramp level. Up to about 3-4ft on the Corn gauge it is at med to med-high, w/o being too pushy, and over 5 ft the holes get bigger, and the 3-5 bigger rapids such as Elkhorn and Whiplash can flip if not in right place. There are loads of great videos blogs on internet to watch of runs gone bad, etc. Remember the eddy lines get wilder, and it's harder to stop or keep group together at higher flows. If you study the USGS historical flows, and go to USFS site for Salmon River also, you'll see that by late June the river is usually on way down from a peak that usually happens from Mem Day to June 15th, but can be subject to fast rises with rain. 2011 was a fluke year, due to intense rains, which formed some new "blowout" rapids, and killed some folks on Middle Fork and/or Main. We are very experienced, and are taking kids this year on Main on June 27th launch, using up-river jetboat for shuttle from Carey to Corn Creek, and feel good about going down up to about 5' with some kids in our group; we have been down it as high as over 55K cfs in mid-90s. Hope this helps; by the way, it's fairly easy to get a cancelation at recreation.gov where you apply for the permit.
 

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Bobby

Thank you very much for the information. I will pass onto the clients of Central Idaho River Shuttles. In your opinion would you recommend a first time boater on the Main to do the preseason trip this season.

He maybe looking for people that might be interested in joining him for his end of May trip on the Main Salmon.

Any other ideas or suggestions are welcomed.
 

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Sully - This season water levels will be in the extreme range for flows on Main right up to mid-June. Right now flows are ok, but rising now and will be too high for first-timers by late May. Depends on temps in area, but with 128% snowpack, and maybe some rain, it it too high for those w/o high water experience. Water is icy, and extremely fast at 6-8 ft on Corn Gauge. You can loss your boat, or worse.
 

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We are running a trip May 25-28, corn to Carey. Would you be able to help us out with the shuttle?? One truck with a trailer. Possibly a second vehicle.


Thanks


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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Sorry but cannot, as we are running upriver on the 26th by jetboat shuttle, so too late for you with your trip. Our cars just stay down at Carey.
 

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Bobby and Pdogger, looks like we'll potentially be on the river at the same time. We are planning a 5/24 launch on the Main. When do Jet boats stop running due to high water? As for shuttle, it's expensive, but I've always paid vs. the 8 hour shuttle time. Hope to see you out there.
 

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Hope we all have good water for trip. If you have any ideas to help out pdogger on his shuttle, maybe contact him here. Jets can apparently make it up river till the very high levels of when we may not be out there anyway, with kids on trip, ie well over 6ft at Corn. Otherwise, sounds like they have no problem at 4-5 ft levels. All in all, it's not much more if any than hiring the drive, esp if you consider the time and wear/tear on your car for the trips to/from put in, maybe hit a deer, lots of gas for all the cars, etc. And the ride up is a thrill of a lifetime, so we're looking forward to it. These guys are pros; great chance to see the camps and rapids prior to put in. You will be well ahead of us, but be careful out there, tie up boats well as could have huge surges in levels due to rain.
 

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Jay - Hey, if you want to compare notes on camps for trip(s) coming up for Main, email me back. We have 11 person group, so can only request "small" camps at Ranger meeting on launch day, but I have a plan for what makes sense for a med- higher water trip; we are on for 6 nights on the trip, incl one layover day. Bob
 

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A question to the group, is it worthwhile to continue running the Salmon from Vinegar to Riggins? I know it is along the road, but at the speed of the river, it shouldn't take too long. How is the Pullout in Riggins?
Thanks for any information you can provide.
 

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The riggings pull out at city park is an easy catch at 40k. Riggins can get congested. Allison creek is a super easy catch too. The drive into Allison is not really that bad. Its above Allison when the road turns dirt that is a slow drive. I'd recommend Allison for the take out.
 

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At high water, Ruby and Lake Creek are both huge, fun rapids.
The float from Spring bar to Riggins at high water is only 2-3 hours.
There is another boat ramp just above Riggins called Shorts Bar.

Allison Creek is just a 1/4 mile down from Spring Bar.
Is there even a boat ramp there?
Why there rather than Spring Bar?
 

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At high water, Ruby and Lake Creek are both huge, fun rapids.
The float from Spring bar to Riggins at high water is only 2-3 hours.
There is another boat ramp just above Riggins called Shorts Bar.

Allison Creek is just a 1/4 mile down from Spring Bar.
Is there even a boat ramp there?
Why there rather than Spring Bar?
I hear you, ;) I just call it Allison creek because that is the name of the camp ground across the road. Sorry to confuse you. :confused: I just always have called it Allison creek. But your right the ramp is called spring bar.

Hell, way even take out in Riggings the city run is awesome and it only takes a couple hours to loose-wheel. :p shit just float it all the way out to heller?? at high flows you could do it in just a couple more days. :rolleyes:
 

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Thanks guys! That really help us to make our decision. WE'll also talk with the Shuttle folks. Btw, recommendation on the shuttle folks? River Shuttles and Blackadar both have some great things being said about them.
 

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I hear you, ;) I just call it Allison creek because that is the name of the camp ground across the road. Sorry to confuse you. :confused: I just always have called it Allison creek. But your right the ramp is called spring bar.

Hell, way even take out in Riggings the city run is awesome and it only takes a couple hours to loose-wheel. :p shit just float it all the way out to heller?? at high flows you could do it in just a couple more days. :rolleyes:
They actually put BBQs and paved walkways in at the mouth of Allison creek 10 or 15 years ago and put sings up there that say Allison Creek camp ground. The Camp Ground across the road from Spring bar is named Spring bar camp ground.
 

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J - Sounds like you got some good advice. We are getting out at Carey because our cars will be there from up-shuttle, but otherwise those few bigger rapids below looked fun last time we drove past them. There are some beaches to camp on betw Vinegar and town for a nt, some are next to the road but work. Have fun on trip. Bob
 
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