Snake River Hells Canyon & Salmon River Water Levels 2015
It has been an odd winter for sure here in Idaho. And what that means usually is that people end up talking about rafting, due to predictions on how much water will be in the Idaho rivers. Second they start speculating about the fire season. Which affects us rafting and fishing outfitters as well. This rafting and fishing blog post is to combat the naysayers once again provide correct information about water levels and what they mean for Salmon River rafting and Snake River fishing and rafting this season!!!
To start with, and early spring does NOT mean that the rivers will all dry up or that the rafting season will be poor. Especially for the Idaho rivers we run here at North Star River Expeditions, the Snake River and Salmon River. The Snake River in Hells Canyon is dam controlled and managed by the Core of Engineers. They set the standards on the minimum level of water that will be let through the dam. The water is stored behind at least 3 reservoirs that service the Hells Canyon National Rec Area, and provide power for Idaho and the north west. That lowest level still allows for plenty of water for rafting in Hells Canyon.
Matter of fact, as the water gets lower many more rapids emerge, and the river gets even more exciting!! The technical difficulty may change and this generally means that fewer people will be on the water, and that means less traffic. Awesome rapids. Less traffic. More time on the water. And the perfect reason to do your trip with an experienced outfitter!
North Star runs the Lower Main section of the Salmon River. This is the last section of the Salmon River and it has the benefit of 100’s of miles of river behind as well as tributaries that pour into the Salmon River as it makes its journey across central Idaho. This section of the Salmon has the benefit of all that water, and will have the most water of any river section of the Salmon. Plenty of water for fun rapids and beautifully made miles in the sun.
The Snake River in Hells Canyon and the Lower Main Salmon are both large volume rivers, comparable the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in volume.
Snow pack levels in Idaho this winter as of January 2015 looked pretty good. The Salmon Basin was at 94% of the 30 year median. Payette Basin at 84%, and Weiser Basin at 70%, and Boise Basin at 94%. Those basins supply the water that runs into the Snake and the Salmon Rivers. The map as of March 30th this year shows that our snowpack was less by 10-20% of the snowpack at the same in years 2012-14. We have less now, but the January snowpack was good. Its been melting slow and steady. See the Idaho Dept of Water Resources site for more information!
We are looking forward to a great season on the river this year. Great rapids being just one part of the incredible multi-day rafting experience!!! Join us for floating, swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, stargazing, and delicious fresh cooked food till you bust.