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Looking for a little feed back on any information regarding flows and how bony the upper stretch is on Aug 27 typically.
Rolled the dice for a late season trip since I will be bringing the family, (kids 10 & 13) who have been running rivers since they were 2, but I was still a bit concerned with taking them to early in the season. We ran the Main last year on June 29 and it was a great level.
We are hoping for 2’ and above, but it will all depend on how the winter/spring plays out. We want to put in at Boundary Creek, but that is the question. Will we be dragging our boats? Has anyone ran it below 2’ in a 15’ oar rig? If so how low? Otherwise, should we opt for flying into Indian Creek?
If we fly in, anyone have any info for good pilots/companies to go with.
I need to confirm my permit this week and struggling on where to put in?
Lastly, in this crazy new Recreation.gov madness that is a lottery nightmare, my wife and I both pulled Aug 27 Middle, which makes me think it is going to be low water, or just pure luck. Skunked on the other 7 stretches we tried for.
We will be releasing one, so hopefully someone who wasn’t lucky will get out on the river and we will see you there.
 

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"On Saturday, March 16, at 8 a.m. MT, any unconfirmed dates will be released all at once. However, the Middle Fork will no longer reissue launch dates of Aug. 15-Sept. 15 due to spawning Chinook salmon."

Thanks.
 

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Looking for a little feed back on any information regarding flows and how bony the upper stretch is on Aug 27 typically.
Rolled the dice for a late season trip since I will be bringing the family, (kids 10 & 13) who have been running rivers since they were 2, but I was still a bit concerned with taking them to early in the season. We ran the Main last year on June 29 and it was a great level.
We are hoping for 2’ and above, but it will all depend on how the winter/spring plays out. We want to put in at Boundary Creek, but that is the question. Will we be dragging our boats? Has anyone ran it below 2’ in a 15’ oar rig? If so how low? Otherwise, should we opt for flying into Indian Creek?
If we fly in, anyone have any info for good pilots/companies to go with.
I need to confirm my permit this week and struggling on where to put in?
Lastly, in this crazy new Recreation.gov madness that is a lottery nightmare, my wife and I both pulled Aug 27 Middle, which makes me think it is going to be low water, or just pure luck. Skunked on the other 7 stretches we tried for.
We will be releasing one, so hopefully someone who wasn’t lucky will get out on the river and we will see you there.
I have run the top many, many times in a 17 foot boat down to 1.4 feet or about 400 cfs...

I use Middle Fork Aviation out of Challis and have always had stellar service.

To confirm your permit you don't have to be locked in to a launch site. Pick Boundary to Cache and pay for one day for one person. Figure out the details later. Awesome time of year to be out there. I hope you work it out. My preferred option is to launch as light as you can from the top and fly in beer, gear, coolers and food as needed. But I don't know you skill level. The Main is really easy compared to the Middle Fork. It can be very technical to Indian Creek. And slow. Unless you have 8 days or it is over 2 feet I would lean to flying in. Unless you are a pinball wizard, spin to win, ultralight boater....
 

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Shapp
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Our late august trip at 1.5 feet off the top from Boundary was a shit show, would never ever ever do it again! Note the date in the video shows June, but it was really August.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb7JIAByWAU

Similar at 1.7, it sucked balls!
fly in everything, bring freeze dried, No way you could get a giant yellow avon 16' banana down the river at that flow. Can't believe anyone even tries to get permits for that time of year.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-up78Xyat4

In all seriousness though, if you pack too heavy, don't run your boats really soft, don't know some of the critical lines, and aren't used to reading really low water you could have a very bad time. Use the search tool, this topic has been beat to death every year.
https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f43/mf-salmon-low-water-s-show-95665.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looking for a little feed back on any information regarding flows and how bony the upper stretch is on Aug 27 typically.
Rolled the dice for a late season trip since I will be bringing the family, (kids 10 & 13) who have been running rivers since they were 2, but I was still a bit concerned with taking them to early in the season. We ran the Main last year on June 29 and it was a great level.
We are hoping for 2’ and above, but it will all depend on how the winter/spring plays out. We want to put in at Boundary Creek, but that is the question. Will we be dragging our boats? Has anyone ran it below 2’ in a 15’ oar rig? If so how low? Otherwise, should we opt for flying into Indian Creek?
If we fly in, anyone have any info for good pilots/companies to go with.
I need to confirm my permit this week and struggling on where to put in?
Lastly, in this crazy new Recreation.gov madness that is a lottery nightmare, my wife and I both pulled Aug 27 Middle, which makes me think it is going to be low water, or just pure luck. Skunked on the other 7 stretches we tried for.
We will be releasing one, so hopefully someone who wasn’t lucky will get out on the river and we will see you there.
I have run the top many, many times in a 17 foot boat down to 1.4 feet or about 400 cfs...

I use Middle Fork Aviation out of Challis and have always had stellar service.

To confirm your permit you don't have to be locked in to a launch site. Pick Boundary to Cache and pay for one day for one person. Figure out the details later. Awesome time of year to be out there. I hope you work it out. My preferred option is to launch as light as you can from the top and fly in beer, gear, coolers and food as needed. But I don't know you skill level. The Main is really easy compared to the Middle Fork. It can be very technical to Indian Creek. And slow. Unless you have 8 days or it is over 2 feet I would lean to flying in. Unless you are a pinball wizard, spin to win, ultralight boater....
Thanks, I like the go light and fly in more provisions. All to familiar with low water rocky rivers and not looking to be parked on a rock, because we over packed or under inflated. Might switch to the super puma and leave the Avon at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Our late august trip at 1.5 feet off the top from Boundary was a shit show, would never ever ever do it again! Note the date in the video shows June, but it was really August.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb7JIAByWAU

Similar at 1.7, it sucked balls!
fly in everything, bring freeze dried, No way you could get a giant yellow avon 16' banana down the river at that flow. Can't believe anyone even tries to get permits for that time of year.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-up78Xyat4

In all seriousness though, if you pack too heavy, don't run your boats really soft, don't know some of the critical lines, and aren't used to reading really low water you could have a very bad time. Use the search tool, this topic has been beat to death every year.
https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f43/mf-salmon-low-water-s-show-95665.html
I did see some other threads and was hoping for a silver lining, since it was the only permit our group pulled.
Your videos do look just shy of creek boating, and I would agree on not bringing any big boat in at that time of year. I guess all I can do is hope for a late season melt and there is still some decent water.
 

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Shapp
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You are missing the point entirely. Did you not see the 16' yellow avon (the big banana) coming down the river at 2:40 on the second video no problem like an ELF PIMP?
Your boat length/size has really nothing to do with it.
 

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Shapp
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All to familiar with low water rocky rivers and not looking to be parked on a rock, because we over packed or under inflated
I hope this is a typo. You need to be way under-inflated on low water bony rivers to not get stuck. Totally counter intuitive. If you are rock hard you are stuck, if you run super soft and mushy you slime right over rocks no problem. Running super soft is at the top of the list for coming off the top from Boundary in late august to minimize getting stuck.
 

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You need to be way under-inflated on low water bony rivers to not get stuck. Totally counter intuitive. If you are rock hard you are stuck, if you run super soft and mushy you slime right over rocks no problem. Running super soft is at the top of the list for coming off the top from Boundary in late august to minimize getting stuck.
I totally didn't know this and some of the rivers I like are pretty boney.

I haven't got hung up YET, but I'll start running my boat softer on those rivers now.

Thanks.
 

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Commercial sweep boats run it down to about 1.7. Boats don’t get any bigger or heavier than that. We run 18’ers off the top at that level fully loaded, but fly the customers to Indian.
 

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Shapp
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I totally didn't know this and some of the rivers I like are pretty boney.

I haven't got hung up YET, but I'll start running my boat softer on those rivers now.

Thanks.
Literally on the MF Salmon at low water, if you are getting stuck, let a bunch more air out, if you are still getting stuck a little, let more air out. If you haven't ever done this before, the proper inflation (or deflation actually) will seam pretty ludicrously soft to most average boaters. One reason why cats don't do as well cause you can't run them as soft as a raft as the cat has to remain more rigid to maintain the structural integrity of the boat.
 

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Shapp
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Commercial sweep boats run it down to about 1.7. Boats don’t get any bigger or heavier than that. We run 18’ers off the top at that level fully loaded, but fly the customers to Indian.
They run it lower even. We had a sweep boat pass us our camp in the dark (like 10:00 pm or so) upstream of Indian when the river was 1.5, no kidding.
 

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MFS in late August

I've run quite a few late August, low water trip on the MFS. As to what the water level will be, there is no way of knowing until closer to your launch date. For reference we take sweep boats off the top still at 1.6. As to going off the top at low water, you can think of it as Class V boating in class II/III water. There are a number of "must make moves" that if you miss them you can be hosed for minutes/hours/days.

My advice:
1. Plan to fly a good bit of gear in to Indian (an Islander holds 1,600# of gear)
2. Plan to run flacid tubes
3. Make friends with the guides/outfitters that are launching on your day (they know they way & will help if you're in a pinch, especially when you are blocking the only channel)
4. Practice running into dry and nearly submerged rocks and and having your kids not fall out.
5. Make sure all the captains in your group have the skills to pull this off.
6. Give the sweep boats a wide berth. Don't try to race them into a rapid to stay ahead.

A couple of years ago in late August I came across a group below Pistol that had broken all their spare oars coming off the top and had just broken one more. They looked absolutely miserable. They had had every imaginable bit of chaos happen (flips, wraps, brutal shallow long swims).

But....with all that being said, the MFS in late August is great. The fishing is awesome, the water is great for swimming and it is not as busy as earlier in the season. It can be a rather fun, mellow time sailing over inches of gin clear water or your worst nightmare.
 
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