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Hi everyone,

Looking at a road trip through Montana, Wyoming and Idaho at the end of July this summer. Was looking to include a float/fish day trip on the North Fork of the Shoshone outside of Cody. I'm looking at the possibility of running a segment from Eagle Creek to Elk Fork. (I'm aware of Wyoming's stream access laws so I'm planning on sticking to segments in the NF only.)

Looks like the mean discharge (on the Wapiti gauge) is between 700-1000 that time of year. Is that going to be too low for a 14' raft with an oar frame?

It doesn't appear that there are any actual launches. I will be towing my raft on a utility raft trailer. I don't mind the occasional class V put-in/take out, but it may just be me or me and one other person so carrying gear would be a pain. Any suggestions on best places to put-in/take out with a heavy boat?

I'm comfortable rowing class III. Is there anything IV or above on this stretch? I have heard of "Devils Elbow" but it sounds like it may be a different rapid depending on the water levels.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate any help!
 

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It will be low but should be passable. There is one rapid right above Eagle Creek but it is pretty straight forward. I think Devil's Elbow is below Elk Fork. Its generally not that bad, just scout it. There are more rapids, no more than class three, around the town of Wapiti. You can go all the way to the bridge over the river just above the reservoir. Even though its roadside its a great float.
 

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NF Shoshone options

There should be a few options for you in late July. The NF Shoshone is closed to fishing from Gibbs Bridge (BB Res) to Newton Creek from 4/1 to 6/30 each year, but that should not present any problems for your trip.

Wapiti BLM ramp to Gibbs Bridge (BB Res): this in the main stretch the fishing guides hit, all CL II ish. Improved boat ramps at both ends, take out is in state park so get your day pass. Some of the land owners are sensitive through here, so be careful where you wade or anchor. We ran this into August down to 350 cfs on the Wapiti gauge last summer with my 13' raft - a few riffles to scrape over but doable.

Red Barn ramp to Wapiti BLM ramp: this is the next stretch up, but not as popular with guides because of one CL III ish rapid right under the Wapiti Bridge (suggest scouting). Red Barn ramp is a formal access area, but the ramp is gravel and semi-improved. Sensitive land owners here too, I haven't done this section yet.

Big Game CG to Red Barn ramp: informal ramp at Big Game CG (which is at Elk Fork & Sweetwater Crk confluences) to drag down the bank upstream of the footbridge. Some short rapids in this stretch with one big undercut rock bend (might be Devils Elbow - I haven't heard it called that), mostly road or pull off scouts. This stretch does not get run as much for either fishing or whitewater, I haven't done it yet.

Newton Creek to Big Game CG: There are two put-in ramp choices here, one by a highway bridge below Newton Creek (easily seen), and one just upstream of Newton Creek CG (use CG entrance, but turn upstream away from camp sites) - both ramps are semi improved. Back to CL II ish with some braids and wood in side channels, mostly public lands and more forested so you can pull off to wade or picnic. Some fishing guides will hit this too.

Sleeping Giant to Newton Creek: This is where most of the whitewater is and includes Eagle Creek TH as put in option, but it could start to get skinny by late July. The put-in options are generally not improved, but you can find a roadside pull-off of your choosing and wrangle down the bank. The whitewater outfitters take paddle raft trips on this section. I was told Morman Creek rapid is III+/IV-, and there is one other III+ above that. Somewhat roadside, but the river is commonly out of direct sight and a short walk to scout. Some braids and side channel wood up here too, I haven't done this stretch yet.

It is my obligation as a local to say the fishing sucks. My goal this year is to float all sections from Sleeping Giant to BB Res with either my cat or raft, PM me if you get to the area and want to chat further.
 

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@pbowman - Any details on Pahaska to the reservoir at current levels (6100csf and dropping)? Thank you!
 

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I lived in that area years ago and boated the North Fork in every level up to about 7000 cfs. It is class three, but there are some big rollers and some decent holes to avoid. I used a 16 foot oar rig in high water and didn't feel like it was too much boat. I ran it with a single boat a few times, though it would be safer to have a second boat in case you have a swimmer. At low water, the river is very entertaining in a mini-me or max, or duckies. Best boat launch near Pahaska is Sleeping Giant day use area.
 

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Sorry for the delayed response Aknoff, I haven't visited MB in a while.

We ran from Sleeping Giant to Wapiti BLM with a 14' cataraft around 6,200 cfs, a full day trip around 28-30 river miles. All was clean at the time, and we just followed the highest flow at any braids to avoid wood in the smaller side channels. Devils Elbow and Holy City just below can present some challenges - we got pushed into the river left wall at Holy City in the cat but the water was high enough to cover the undercut (but it is starting to show now). Most of the other rapids were generally in the 3/3+ range at that high flow and as described by Domar. The flow is still above 3,000 at the Wapiti gauge now, so everything should be runnable for JCM into mid July.

I have been float fishing the stretches above Newton Creek before 7/1, and started to float below Newton Creek this past weekend - all clean from what I have seen down to Wapiti Campground footbridge takeout. Fishing sucks here, waste of space to bring your rod to Wyoming.
 
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