Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nice weekend for a river trip

Rainbow Bridge

Wet Spot

Quinn Stuebner, left, Drew Stuebner and Elena Lansing (Wilson)

The new boat slider at higher water

Just after we finished the ramp

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Hi all,

With temperatures expected in the 80s this weekend, it should be a great time to float the Payette River.

The South Fork is too low to float, and the Middle Fork is done, but North Fork of the Payette River is running about 1,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) elow Cascade Dam, so there's still enough water to run the Cabarton Class 3 section of the North Fork or canoe from Cascade to Cabarton. Both trips are featured in my book Paddling the Payette.

The water will be a little bit low and scratchy on the Cabarton run (normal summer flow is 1,500 to 1,800), but still totally doable. The fishing can get better when the water is a little lower. Visit the Payette River page on my web site to check river flows in the future.

If you're more into a flat-water paddling trip, the 9-mile trip from Cascade to Cabarton is a beauty. The current is slow, and the gradient is table-top flat, so it's a totally low-key canoeing trip through Valley County cattle country and one heron rookery. You'll also likely see kingfishers and ospreys. Bring your fishing pole if you like to fish. This section could be floated in a fishing cat or inflatable kayak as well.

The Cabarton run may be quite popular this weekend because it's "the only game in town," so to speak. Be aware of that. Go early or late to avoid the peak crowds.

I like to take my kids on Cabarton because we can fish, and it's a relatively easy whitewater float. The rapids are rated Class 3, with Howards Plunge, the last and biggest drop on the river, rated a Class 3+. It's the climax to a great day on the river.

If you don't have your own kayak or raft, you can go with several outfitters run Cabarton, including Cascade Raft & Kayak, Idaho Whitewater Unlimited, and Bear Valley River Co. You also could rent rafts or kayaks at Idaho River Sports or Boise Army-Navy.

At the put-in at Cabarton Bridge, you'll notice a new boat ramp. We got a whitewater license plate grant two years ago to pay for the building materials, working through Valley County. They were a great partner for that project. The Idaho Whitewater Association also has been working on putting in a new rest room this year at the Cabarton put-in.

Little trivia: The name Cabarton comes from a logging boss named C.A. Barton who worked for the Boise-Payette Lumber Co. in the vicinity many moons ago.

Check out the river maps and photos and have fun! I'll see ya there.

- SS