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My wife and I would like to take multi-day(3-4 nights) whitewater rafting trip on one of Idaho's rivers this summer. We are looking at the middle and south fork of Salmon river plus the main Salmon river and Hells Canyon of Snake river. We would prefer that there be some class III and IV water plus some great scenary. I will be taking my fly rod but fishing is secondary.

Would appreciate any recommendations of rivers, outfitters, and time of summer.

Thanks,


Roger
 

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If the fishing isn't a priority then check out www.rowadventures.com. The Middle Fork of the Salmon is spectacular and with these guys you'll go back every year. The pace is pretty fast for fishin out of the boat but you can fish to your hearts content from camp every night!!

Enjoy!
 

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Jasper hickman
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the lower salmon offers probbobly the best camping available, but for my money Id hit the middle fork of the salmon. In my opinon I think you should plan a few more days on your trip, 5-7 days would be a better pace for both the the middle fork or the lower section.

be sure to post pics!
 

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My wife and I would like to take multi-day(3-4 nights) whitewater rafting trip on one of Idaho's rivers this summer. We are looking at the middle and south fork of Salmon river plus the main Salmon river and Hells Canyon of Snake river. We would prefer that there be some class III and IV water plus some great scenary. I will be taking my fly rod but fishing is secondary.

Would appreciate any recommendations of rivers, outfitters, and time of summer.

Thanks,

Roger
I have guided and / or privately rowed all of those. Middle Fork trips are six days. What makes that trip so special are the hot springs, plus the great hiking & progression from coniferous trees at Boundary Creek to desert. You'll want to go the end of June / beginning of July. Much later and the water goes down. Lower campsites can get stupid hot in the afternoon during warm months. Earlier and you will have higher water, but also potentially colder weather - maybe some snow. On our June 7th launch there were many mornings when the water inside of my kayak was frozen. Check out Adventure Sun Valley. Brad runs one of the tightest ships on the Middle Fork, pays his guys the most, and it shows.

For a three to four day trip check out the Lower Salmon. You don't want to go there in high water - there is one Class V constriction rapid at high flows that just disappears at lower levels. Great beaches to camp on, great smallmouth fishing, and great swimming. Given my druthers I would do that trip in August - the fishing tends to be better.
 

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The Lower Salmon is great for some smallmouth and scenery, a few class 3 rapids, one class 4-5 depending on the flow. Great relaxing float. The Middle Fork should also be great, if you want to add 3-4 days to your float.
 

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I haven't floated either of those, but I did a 4 day trip on the Owyhee 10 years ago with my dad. There's wasn't enough white water to thrill most folks, but it was a very remote, beautiful float. The outfitter was top notch and I'd go with them again- Hughes River Expeditions.

http://www.hughesriver.com/
 

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As mentioned above, the Middle Fork is a 6 day trip and there are many outfitters if you don't draw a permit. Good trout fishing. Lots of boats, but designated camp sites keep the trip intimate.

The South Fork of the Salmon has some burly whitewater with solid class V well into the early part of July and no outfitters. Cool river. Great trout fishing later in the season.

The Main Salmon is a great five day trip with lots of outfitters to choose from. Allison from Yellowjacket River Guides is great (www.yjriverguides.com). The earlier the season, the greener it will be. Lots of history in this canyon.

I'm not a big fan of Hell's Canyon. Too many jet boats (although there are motorless days) and dry/drab scenery. The fishing for smallies is good.

Although not on your list, the Selway may meet your criteria the best. The late season rapids are good class III and IV. With only one launch allowed per day, the solitude is unmatched. The trout fishing is outstanding in the later part of July. Marty at Three Rivers Rafting will hook you up. (www.threeriversrafting.com 1-888-926-4430) From what I understand, he still has room on his July 20th launch.

Here are a couple of pictures I took on a trip with them in 2006. My wife, who NEVER fishes, absolutely slayed the cutthroat.




 

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+1 for the Middle Fork.

I haven't fished there but I flew in for a backcountry deer/elk hunt a couple of years back - incredible country. The hot spring at Loon Creek is the best I've ever seen. No sulfur smell either which was a first for me.
 

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Plus another for the middle fork. We did seven days in September, putting in at Boundary Creek. Between my dad and I, our boat had a few 40+ fish days and one 50+. He missed so many strikes that I considered dumping him off in one of the rapids. The scenery is gorgeous, the campsites are near pristine (especially considering that 10,000 people float it each year), and the hot springs are an added bonus.

The water was really low in September, making it a very technical float with lots of getting out and pushing over rocks for the first two days until we reached Indian Creek. Our fellow trip-mates got another permit for early September 2010, outside of the lottery season. I can't wait to go back.
 

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Roger,

Add one more vote for the Middle Fork. It's a 100 miles of fun whitewater with a few Class III's each day and a couple Class IVs on the trip. There are hot springs along the first 50 miles and the final 20 miles are among the most beautiful river miles in the world. If you want to do a longer trip, you can continue down the Main Salmon for 5-6 more days.

I'd call ECHO River Trips (http://www.echotrips.com) at (800) 652-3246 if you're looking for a trip with your family. They are a great company that focuses on family trips.

You can view some of my favorite Middle Fork of the Salmon photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwrafting/sets/72157622111975206/.



Tappan Falls



Sunrise at Camas Creek

Have fun,

Zachary Collier
Northwest Rafting Company
(541) 450-9855
 

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Roger, after you've given so much of yourself for the rest of us on the board, I couldn't resist the oppotunity offer some thoughts for you on this.
While I can't speak to the Selway, (it's next on my list and I'm sure it will be great), I have to say the Middle Fork of the Salmon is a world class trip. As many have said, there are plenty of rapids to keep the thrills high, the scenery, (despite some expansive, but interesting fire areas) is tremendous, the hot springs are a delight, the pictograph sites are moving, the wildlife is thrilling, but let me let you in on the best kept non-secret about the Middle Fork, especially since you said you and the wife are going.
The trip from Boundry creek is typically a late spring through mid-August starting point, obviously depending on the snowpack/melt. After that you will probably have to fly into Indain creek for the run down from there. Now thats not all bad mind you, as the river is still GREAT, and the scenery flying in is worth the price of admission. The best part of starting up high is the longer trip, (as stated above), through some wonderful landscapes. The secret....is that the fishing is damn near every cast to where you think there should be a fish, there is a fish that will strike. That means you can wear your arm out if you like, your wife can fish as little or as much as she wants, and there's still a ton of stuff to do amongst the aforementioned attractions.
I'd strongly recommend using an outfitter, (I was very impressed with Solitude River Adventures) that accomodates rafting AND fly fishing. They have rafts that are set up to accomodate fishing, relaxing and enjoying the scenery, cl IV rapids, etc. The owner is a hoot, (one leg and he's run the river thousands of times) and nearly all his guides are seasoned fly fisherman who understand that some people like to fish all day, and some like to to other things. They will cater to you and your wifes desires, and every dinner is like eating at a 5 star resturaunt, except your're surrounded by great people in a great setting. Depending on flows, some of his guides may also run the river with dory's. You and your wife are free to stay with the same raft or switch off as you get to know others on the trip. Bottom line is that it is a great couples trip.
As a point of reference, I don't think you can go wrong with any of the rivers you suggested. Hells canyon is very cool but I'd recommend a shorter trip on a jet boat, (they're all over the river and it's a different type of experience). The main Salmon gets tons of traffic so you'll have lots of company. Even though the middle fork gets a lot of people, it is very well managed, (permit only during season) so you don't feel crowded at all.
I could go on about the middle fork so if you want to chat more just drop me a PM.
Jeff
 

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I've done the Middle Fork twice, my son three times. This is the premier float in Idaho and one of the top ones in the US, maybe the world. It's a big step down to the next best. White water, game, hot springs, natural history, artifacts, fish...it's all there.
 

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If you want to make the drive then launching the upper Selway in spring is some of the best rafting in Idaho. Most of the big rivers in spring produce good rapids. Awesome scenery too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the great information and advice. It is what makes WFF such a good site!

After all the input and internet searching, we have decided to float the middle fork of the Salmon river and are looking at sometime in mid-July through Aug.. Would appreciate any suggestions on good outfitters and best time to go.

Roger
 
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