Easy Floating 

Free permits make floating the South Fork of the Salmon easier

With the summer heat hitting early, it's hard not to think about being on the rivers--especially when floating on the Boise River opened with tube rentals on Friday, June 14.

While low water levels will curtail this year's floating season, those lucky enough to get on the South Fork of the Salmon River will now have an easier time getting off the river.

The Payette National Forest announced it is now issuing free permits to allow boaters to float the South Fork, but take off on the Main Salmon River without getting a Main Salmon permit--which takes a bit of luck to get.

The new permits also mean that boaters can float Big Creek and take off on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River without getting a Middle Fork permit--a permit you nearly have to sell your first-born child to get.

The permits are free but mandatory, and are available at the McCall and Krassel ranger districts. While they allow boaters to enter the Main and Middle Fork, boaters have to be off the river the same day they enter, and no camping is allowed in either of the Middle or Main corridors.

Those on the South Fork of the Salmon now have the added bonus of chinook season. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will open the season on the South Fork beginning Friday, July 5.

Fishing will only be open on Friday-Sunday through the close of the season, and Fish and Game officials expect it will be a short season since fewer fish have made their way back to Idaho this year.

Fishing will be open from the bridge on Forest Service Road 48 where it crosses the South Fork, and just upstream from the confluence of the East Fork to a point 35 miles upriver, just downstream from the Fish and Game wier and trap.

The daily bag limit is four chinook, only two of which can be adults. Anglers can only keep 12 chinook over the season. Also, only adipose-fin-clipped fish can be kept.

Another species having trouble is the sandhill crane. The Pacific Flyway Council has counted fewer birds this year, leading to the lower crane harvest numbers for hunters--137 this year to be precise, the fewest since 1996.

Fish and Game is taking comments from Monday, June 24-Wednesday, July 3, on the proposed fall hunting season, with a limit of two birds per hunter. Details can be found at the Fish and Game website, fishandgame.idaho.gov.

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