Flows have fluctuated on the lower Boise River this spring, but as the river begins its final downward dance, many people are thinking about getting on the river in their canoes, kayaks and rafts. Rivers are dynamic natural systems that are always changing. The lower Boise River is no exception, and the recent weeks of flows above 6,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and heavy rains and winds, have undoubtedly brought down trees. You should always expect the unexpected and exercise good judgement when you boat the lower Boise River. And with that caveat, we’re happy to share this report from BREN member Scott Ross who scored an early season trip. You can also learn a lot from the Boise River Guide and Google Earth Tour. Safe boating!
Scott’s Boating Report
Ran the North Channel on Apr 26 @ 2100 CFS and again on May 2 @1250 CFS. Put in at Willow Lane and took out at Linder Road. The Little Dry Creek diversion dam below Glenwood bridge was unrunnable (as usual) and the portage trail on the left just above the dam is choked with debris, making the portage more difficult than in the past. The gravel push-up done last year to divert more flow into the North Channel has washed out, but still the flow into the North Channel is significant and generally provided enough depth on these trips to avoid bottom-dragging.
At this time the channel is generally clear — with two exceptions: 1) A downed tree blocks most but not all of the channel upstream from the pedestrian bridge near Reid Merrill Park. Easy portage or paddle around the tree on river left. 2) The North Channel splits near the Eagle Sewer District wastewater plant and taking the right channel appears to be the best option because it has more flow. However, that channel is completely blocked by a downed tree, forming a dangerous sweeper several hundred yards downstream and requiring a difficult portage. Avoid this channel and instead take the left channel, which has low flow, brushy banks, and tight turns near the split but quickly opens up to a nice, clear channel.
On both trips the flow was high enough to paddle right over the Middleton Irrigation District diversion dam just below the Eagle Island Parkway bridge — no portage necessary!