Jet Boats on the Main Salmon
The Main Salmon River carves an impressive canyon up to six thousand foot deep in central Idaho. East of Riggins the wild and scenic section of the river flows through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. It’s a gorgeous corridor of steep forested slopes, churning rapids, sandy beaches and abundant wildlife. This part of the Salmon is a prime destination for jetboaters who are lured by both the beauty of the landscape and the challenge of running the river.
For many years members of the Western Whitewater Association have gathered on the banks of the Salmon for their traditional spring run up the river. The typical April flows are just about right for their boats. Recently the Spring Bar launch site has become the official rendezvous spot for club members from around the state.
It’s been a tradition for a lot longer than I’ve been around in the club but it’s at an optimal level right now where it’s fairly forgiving. People have the opportunity to run rapids that they normally would have no chance to run and its right before it completely blows out. We just have a super time.
The combination of the camaraderie of the group and the superb scenery make this a trip most members of the club don’t want to miss. There are few places in the entire country where you can pilot a jet boat on such an incredible river.
I think the uniqueness of it is the fact that it is a free flowing river. There are no dams on it. You are at the mercy of fluctuating water levels that are not based on a dam or an electrical need. It is all based on whatever Mother Nature decides to do in temperature and snow pack and rain.