Now and later

January 9, 2019
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Snow build up now means more water for Idaho rivers later. Here, a kayaker enjoys one of Idaho’s wild and scenic rivers.

College football is over and it’s time to pry yourself off the couch and start thinking about doing something else besides watching TV all weekend.

The snow is starting to build up in the mountains. All that snow in the mountains means water in the rivers this summer.

If you are thinking about doing a private float trip down one of Idaho’s four permitted rivers you better start moving now. (If you are floating with an outfitter, the outfitter will have the permit.)

You’ve got until the end of the month to send in your river permit applications.

Idaho has four rivers that require a permit to float.

The rivers are:

1) The Snake in Hell’s Canyon from the dam on down to Pittsburg landing

2) The Selway from Paradise to Selway Falls

3) The Main Salmon from Corn Creek to Long Tom Bar

4) The Middle Fork Salmon from below Dagger falls down to Cache Bar

The drill is that you have to enter a lottery for a permit. The applications are more or less placed in a hopper and names are drawn for river permits. It’s all done by computer, but you get the idea.

There is a fee for each application. You apply separately for each river.

All applications are done on line at recreation.gov. Push the “permit” tab and it’ll walk you through the process.

Lottery results should be out by around the second week of February and you have to confirm your reservation by March 15.

So what are the odds of drawing a Fourth of July launch date on the Middle Fork Salmon?

Long — not quite mega millions jackpot long, but very long odds.

But someone has to draw the permit.

Hells Canyon is easiest to draw, then Main Salmon then Middle Fork Salmon; finally the Selway. You draw a Selway or Middle Fork permit and you’ll have friends coming out of the woodwork.

Early season and late season have better odds, but the water may either be way too high or way too low.

Good luck.

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