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Lucky enough to pull a permit for the middle fork of the Salmon for July 11.
Even more lucky to be able to stock it with a dozen of my closest friends, most of whom have significant rafting experience.

Couple of ?'s.

1) What's the best site to guesstimate water flows say early July?

2) I understand the camp site process in basically a round robbin at the ranger station the day before... anyone with experience want to give hints?

3) First time as permit holder... What else should I be smart enough to ask?
 

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Was part of a trip that ran it at 3 feet. Be prepared for a long rigging day the day before you launch, especially if you are jockeying for position on the boat launch with commercial trips as it is one boat at a time down a steep launch ramp and then using wheelbarrows down a goat path to get the remainder of your gear to your boats on the water. I suggest getting there earlier the better. I think we pulled in around 10am and didn't start unloading boats off trailers till noon or 1 and were still polishing off final rigging about an hour before dinner. Camping up the road from boat launch is nice and convenient, make time to hike up to dagger falls. When you do launch, if at similar water level, drink your beer before untying and setting off because the rowdy water starts right away. You are right about the camp site lottery at ranger station, TL's meet up and pick sites, but lots of really good ones on that stretch. Enjoy velvet falls and all the Tappan's and as always be safe and have a blast!
 

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It will 2.4 feet on the gauge or around 1,250 cfs. That is at the MF Lodge which means you will have 700 or 800 at the top. YMMV.

Don't rig on the ramp and when you get your boat up there throw your shit on and go. If you don't use a rope to go down the ramp make sure your biggest guys are at the front of the boat to pull down not back. Friction will slow your descent. Pack light for the top. Many, many folks have had their butt handed to them in the first five miles. Try to have a rescue rope and know how to use it. Their are several spots in the first five and several more below where I have seen boats wrapped. Starting at around this level.

It's read and run class 3 for the most part.

For current flow and you can look around in the history for previous years and averages here.
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/uv/?site_no=13309220&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00010

There used to be a NOAA forecast off this page but it was as full of crap as I am.

Have fun.
 

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+1 on what the others have said. I have gone from the top once at about 2.5 ft. and the first two days were very busy. We didn't have any wrap or stuck episodes, but we did have one busted oar lock. We go in the fall from Indian Creek most every year an it's not exactly a piece of cake after that either. The MF is fun, but it does require a bit more attention at all water levels. Never had a bad camp on the MF.
 

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We floated last year, putting on July 20th. It was about 1200 cfs. It took us 6 hours to go 13 miles. A few hang ups both nothing major. Long tiring day though.

We put on July 12th this year. I'm hoping the flow will be about the same as when we floated last year, but I think it will be lower, likely under 1100 cfs. Going to pack light....
 

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We ran it early July many years ago at relatively low water. I remember Sulfur Slide being as "challenging" as some of classic big name rapids; we all made it through just fine the first five miles or so but all of us were taken off guard by that experience.

The MF is probably the most dynamic river I have rowed and it seems to prove that year in and year out. Just know the side canyons and therefor the rapids are often changing so be aware of how thunderstorms around you may be playing out. We were "lucky" enough to have the canyon at Tappan III blow out 2-3 days before we got to that spot so we had the rare chance to run a changed rapid, with a massive strainer in the principle slot, without beta. It was a memorable experience that I still value though it was stressful at the time.

If anybody is into fishing it should be prime by then. Catch and release only but they are beautiful native trout and can be quite the hungry suckers if you hit it at the right time.

Have a great trip and enjoy some of the best camps in the West.

Phillip
 

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I too would like to know more about how folks navigate the put in ramp at Boundary crk. Is there a etiquette protocol? How loaded should a boat be at the top? Is there an order of descent? In my two prior launches there I felt pressured to get the hell outta the way and ended up frustrated. Whats the best tactics?

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Usually the commercials pull right up the the Rangers cabin and start rigging to the left of the ramp. Suggested to group your boats together to the right of the ramp or on the other side of the road. Wait to load a few heavy items til you're in the ramp, take all the loose items down the trail.

Also, you get one buddy to join you in the camp select. Bring your map a follow along as the camps get selected. Unless you know the river well, you'll have to keep up quick. Mileage isn't usually a problem until you have a problem if you catch my drift. Awesome place, wish I was going this year. Have fun!!
 

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Had my first MFS experience last month on a preseason trip.

I can only imagine how crazy it must be during permit season.


Just assume there will be idiots there, let someone else lose their shit on them. Be calm, be prepared to drop your boat and major gear and get it down the ramp quickly. Set up space a bit down the beach, crack a barley pop and rig your gear. The trip will be worth it.

Also, you get one buddy to join you in the camp select. Bring your map a follow along as the camps get selected. Unless you know the river well, you'll have to keep up quick. Mileage isn't usually a problem until you have a problem if you catch my drift. Awesome place, wish I was going this year. Have fun!!
Pick a buddy who is calm, listens well, and pays attention.
 

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ah...the middle fork. Don't weigh your boat down with a bunch of needless crap; i.e., camp chairs, cots, IK's, etc. You will probably make 10-13 miles, day 1, don't fret. River volume triples from side streams over next 6 days. You can only reserve one 'hot springs camp"...but you can stop at all of them! And there's many, and many right next to the river! Hopefully, someone in your group has been down before, have them help yu select camp sites. And they don't have 'signs...' lots of high speed pull outs...so give eachother some breathing and parking room. . Pay attention! on't let class 3 rating fool you! (Wind always blows downstream, at least!)
You're gonna love it.
Really,best way to run safety, especially day one, is giving eachother plenty of room...and always making sure you can see the boat behind you. Boat behind you dissappears, you eddy out, boat in front of you will notice you're no longer visible and eddy out. Roo twisty to see everyone in your party.... ! Make sure you carry at least one wrap kit in designated 'sweep' boat, along with person running sweep hopefully knowing how to use it!
Relax, have fun...don't worry be happy!
 

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The ramp

As a private boater get there early or you will be dealing with 3 to four commercial groups. Take the middle or right stage and blow up your boat put frame on, stage to ramp load boxes and throw shit in it in the floor and drag down the ramp. Your boat should be on the ramp for 5 min MAX. Do not sit there and rig every little strap. The boxes will stay in, so will the cooler. I've never seen any gear fly out of the boat going off the ramp. You can strap it all down and perfect your rig in the eddy below with a cold beer and shade. Take eddy space starting at the far end-ish. The sweep boats need the space next to the ramp. You need to trade off with the other boaters to get boats down the ramp. Most private boater think they are organized but are an absolute junk show. Watch the commercial guys and learn. I've seen it so many times. A husband with a family that is willing to help getting pissed because they are all standing around because they don't know what to do. Relax people your on vacation. Communicate and work together. The ramp is probably the most stressful part or the trip, but just don't bring a ton of stuff and it's easy. The campground at boundary creek is nice and the nights are cold. Camp selection has always been smooth 1 hot spring camp and 1 below big creek. If you are unfamiliar with the top end take an easy day 6-8 miles. You can always make a long day below middle fork lodge. Enjoy your trip!
 

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Just got off the MF, home last nt. You will most likely have to fly into Indian creek and skip the rocky top - it's 2.2 today and dropping fast. Let me tell you it is dry and hot up there. We had 90s on the Main. I was in 14' Hyside, and we had 7 rafts/cats total. Personally, unless you are in a small raft or cat, that top part is just too boney at lower levels. You will be at below 1.5-1.8 maybe if the level plunge keeps up. Watch the levels, look into flights to Indian Creek just in case, and go as light as you can for gear just to keep the raft higher in water. Take a very complete repair kit, for each type of material needed for you rafts - you may well need it. Watch you downstream oar, or you'll be buying new ones after trip.
 
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