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Hey guys,

I have been lucky enough to be invited on a MF of the Salmon River trip this coming season. I am reading online that if the river is anywhere below 2 feet then they suggest you fly in to Indian Creek to start. Looking online they only have gauge data for the past year or so in feet, but they have back to 2007 for gauge data in CFS.

My question is: does anyone know how deep the river should be at Boundary Creek if the gauge says somewhere between 2000 and 900 CFS? And at how many CFS should it reach that 2 foot mark?

Our launch date is July 31st.

Thanks for the help!
 

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This doesn't directly answer your question, but current SWE for the Middle Fork is 71% of average. With above average temps predicted for spring, I'd say it's a safe bet that it's going to be below 2 feet on July 31.
 

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2.0 feet currently translates to 932 cfs.

Current gage rating table:
http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/get_ratings?site_no=13309220&file_type=exsa

50% exceedence (translate to roughly what happens in an "average" water year), flows drop below 932 cfs (currently 2.0 ft on the gage) by the first of August.

75% exceedence (25% quartile) (translate roughly to "somewhat dry" water year), flows drop below 932 cfs (currently 2.0 ft on the gage) by the middle of July.

So the bottom line is, the river at the MF Salmon gage will likely be below 2.0 feet on the gage for your launch date based on current snow pack and long term forecasts. How much below 2.0 ft is up for considerable WAGs right now.

Hope this helps.

p.s. all this exceedence probability stuff is based on summaries of flow measurements from the past, and as we know the future is changing, and the changes predicted for the PNW are predicted to be lower stream flows during the summer low flow period than occurred "historically" over the period we have been measuring such.
 

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How deep will the river be at boundary creek if the river is below 2'? You can probably wade across at boundary creek below 2'. Just below boundary there are 20' plus deep pools. Just below that there are places probably 5" deep maximum. This question doesn't really make sense.

It isn't the depth. It is the number of daggers sticking up through said water waiting to gut your raft.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5364381.pdf

An alternate version of this was discussed earlier this week. here is my conclusion:

If the gauge is below 2', regardless of the conversion, the upper river is very bony and technical. It doesn't really matter if that means 550 or 625 CFS or whatever. One would need to pack light and be ready to work for it or be very skilled in the art of rock nudging. I understand we are all internet nerds who like to look at historical data and try to unravel the trends and plan things out precisely. But as a certified Idaho native and fellow nerd I can say this year is grim. By your date the top will be very bony.

Go of the top IF:
1) you have strong technical boating skills
2) you are willing to leave many luxuries behind
3) you have 1 passenger max per boat
4) You understand it will feel a bit like work at times

Fly in IF:
1) you love the beers and the ices
2) You have no desire to get out of your boat and yank on the handles in waist deep water
3) you don't have a lot of time
4) Maybe the skill set isn't super sharp

I'm goint to sin now and discuss the MFS in CFS.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is below 1200cfs most groups should be OK.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is below 1000cfs most groups should throw out some passengers and gear and go.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is below 750cfs most groups should fly in.

The MFS has eaten some pretty good big water boaters for lunch at low flow. Enjoy your trip.
 

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Edited for clarity:

How deep will the river be at boundary creek if the river is below 2'? You can probably wade across at boundary creek below 2'. Just below boundary there are 20' plus deep pools. Just below that there are places probably 5" deep maximum. This question doesn't really make sense. Because the gauge is way downstream.

Plus, It isn't the depth. It is the number of daggers sticking up through said water waiting to gut your raft.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5364381.pdf

An alternate version of this was discussed earlier this week. here is my conclusion:

If the gauge is below 2', regardless of the conversion, the upper river is very bony and technical. It doesn't really matter if that means 973 or 942 CFS or whatever. One would need to pack light and be ready to work for it or be very skilled in the art of rock nudging. I understand we are all internet nerds who like to look at historical data and try to unravel the trends and plan things out precisely. But as a certified Idaho native and fellow nerd I can say this year is grim. By your date the top will be very bony.

Go of the top IF:
1) you have strong technical boating skills
2) you are willing to leave many luxuries behind
3) you have 1 passenger max per boat
4) You understand it will feel a bit like work at times

Fly in IF:
1) you love the beers and the ices
2) You have no desire to get out of your boat and yank on the handles in waist deep water
3) you don't have a lot of time
4) Maybe the skill set isn't super sharp

I'm going to sin now and discuss the MFS in CFS.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is above 1200cfs most groups should be OK reasonably packed.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is below 1000cfs most groups should throw out some passengers and gear and go.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is below 750cfs most groups should fly in.
If the Middle fork lodge gauge is below 500cfs only the most masochist of small groups should go with gear specifically suited to the task.

500 at the lodge probably means >300 at the launch. that just isn't much water to work with.

You are from boise. The middle fork is probably roughly comparable to staircase on the SF Payette at given flows IMO. Take your boat to staircase this weekend, throw 4 people on it and run that 4 miles. Now decide if you want to do that for 25 miles in the wilderness. lo0oks like staicase is 900ish, very comparable to 2' IMO. Have fun.
 

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This feels like Deja Vu.

fiya79 - your posts on this topic are brilliant and well written. Thanks for being a beacon for sanity.
 

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another low water option is to launch at Boundary and have your beers and coolers flown in for pick up at Indian Creek....Not as expensive as it may seem if you have several folks splitting the cost....drop your coolers at the Stanley airport on the edge of the runway, pick up at the airstrip at Indian Creek.....go in as light as possible to Boundary launch and expect to still drag your boats after they get stuck here and there....but then it's the upper section of the Middlefork which is just stunning....not to be missed in this mans opinion
 

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I would take the mfs at under 2' hanging on every exposed rock, wearing nothing but a loincloth and eating nothing but ramen noodles anyday over having to go to work. July 31 is late but if the snowpack continues to be shit you will probably have big water boaters cancel their july 17 permits because it will be at 2'. If you can get that cancellation, leave the 31st for the packrafters. Take as big of a boat as you own, pack it as light as you can, run your tubes soft (but not wrap soft), and dont fall asleep during the first two days when you will need all your navigation and rowing skills to avoid long days.
 

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My group fits into the Fiya79's Fly-in category. We fly in to Indian Creek in September of almost every year. We fly-in because we like to relax and take layover days. We don't want to work that hard on vacation. And we still have to get out and push after Indian Creek on occasion. Our cut-off for Indian Creek is 1.5 feet. I know.....I know.....we're wimps, but that's just the way we roll.
 
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