What flows are considered "dangerous"?
The #1 rule of river running is that all moving water is dangerous. Comfortable or "safe" flows for a seasoned veteran who has made the run 100 times could be harrowing for another, less experienced boater. While the Lower Salmon River and the Snake River through Hells Canyon has some big Class IV water that people rightfully respect, the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers are often considered "easy". That being said, every year 1-2 drift boats get sunk on the "easy" Wallowa and Grande Ronde. A few rafters will flip when the Wallowa is at peak flows and the Minam Roller is actually rolling. So what flows are dangerous? All flows are dangerous when the boater is not properly prepared or becomes complacent because it is an "easy" class II run.
General Guidelines for the Wallowa and Grande Ronde Rivers: There are no dams controlling the flow of these two rivers so low summer flows often drop into the 450 cfs range while peak runoff flows can be anywhere from 15,000 cfs to 30,000 cfs. Most recreational boaters find 750-800 cfs to be the comfortable lower end of what they like to float. The rapids do not increase with difficulty at high flows, but logs floating downstream become more common at very high flows and eddies are few. The Wallowa and Grande Ronde are very fast rivers with continuous gradient. If someone were to fall out of a boat at spring flows the water will be very cold as it is snowmelt and the swim could be long if someone is not readily available to help the swimmer back in the boat. Use common sense on the Wallowa and Grande Ronde, don't become complacent and it will be a very user freindly river.
Lower Salmon River flow guidlines: The Salmon River is also undammed and flows will vary greatly between low late summer flows and spring snowmelt flows. We do not rent boats out on the Lower Salmon until mid to late July when peak runoff is over. The Slide rapid is considered very dangerous above 20,000 cfs and we do not allow our rental boats to go out on the Lower Salmon at high flows. The Lower Salmon is full of fun and features challenging Class III to IV rapids. It requires a lot more experience to run than the Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers, so you will need to let us know your qualifications and river experience before we allow raft rentals on this river.
Snake River through Hells Canyon flow guidelines: The Snake River is dam controlled and has a much greater degree of predictability. Recreational boaters wishing to rent rafts for the Snake are most likely going in the summer when spring snowmelt has subsided. That said, Wild Sheep and Granite Rapids are very big class IV rapids and should be respected year round just like any moving water. Wild Sheep is the longest rapid in Idaho and Granite contains some of the most unique hydraulics we have seen in any river. Boaters wishing to rent rafts for this river need to be very experienced at river running.
What happens if I lose/damage equipment?
The renter will be charged for any lost or damaged equipment. For loss/damages amounting to $200 or less, the amount owed will be charged to the deposit card on file and the renter will be sent an email notification. For loss/damages amounting to more than $200 the renter will be phoned by the Minam Store to discuss payment. For more information on what it costs to replace specific items click here.
Will I get my rental fee refunded if I pin the raft on a rock or in a strainer?
NO. First, we want to make sure everyone is okay and safe. People are priority. Second, depending on the location of the pin will determine the next steps. This can cost the rental and guide team time and a days’ worth of work. There could also be repair and or replacement costs. Refence the list above.
What is included with my rental?
A typical rental consists of:
- Rowing Frame (or we can set up a paddle raft)
- 3 oars (or adequate number of paddles for paddle raft)
- 1-120qt Engle/Yeti
- 1-16”x40” Dry Box
- Cargo Floor
- Cargo Net
- Full set of straps (including four 4' spares)
- 4-140L Dry Bags
- 4-PFDs (type IV universal fit, children sizes available)
- Fire Pan
- Duffle which includes-Pump, Basic Patch Kit, Spare Oar-lock, Tool, spare straps
- Wag Bag Toilet Stand- 3 bags included w/rental (This system in NOT allowed on the Salmon or Snake River. Client must supply their own.)
What do I do with the raft at the takeout?
TIE the raft off. DO NOT pull it out of the water on the dry ground. I do not want to replace floor in the raft, and you defiantly do not want to pay for it. Secure all other rental gear in the raft to prevent loss and or damage. Again, it all adds up.
What type of portable toilet system is included with my rental?
A Portable Go Anywhere stand with 3 Wag Bags is included. If you feel you may need more, they’re available for purchase from the Minam Store.
What do I do with the Wag Bags that have been used?
They need to be put in the trash. The Minam Store is not responsible for waste disposal.
What do I do with my garbage at the end of my trip?
Haul it to a trash can. Our boat pickup crew is NOT responsible for collecting or disposing of garbage. Please use proper facilities.
Do I need to transport my rental equipment back to the Minam Store?
No, our boat pickup crew will come to your takeout location to retrieve all of our gear.
What do I do if I need to cancel my trip?
Call the Minam Store or email.
Do I get a refund if I cancel my rental reservation?
Can my boat be equipped with a fishing frame?
Any 14' boat can be modified with one lean bar, and a front and back raised fishing seat. We ask for at least 3 days notice and an additional $50 per day.