One of the largest eagle breeding grounds in the lower 48 is found here on the South Fork of the Snake. We kept company with Eagles for miles during our float, observing adults and juveniles alike. Raptors were everywhere and Idaho Fish and Game reports over 126 different bird species in a 25 mile stretch of water after the Palisades Dam. My problem on the river is trying to fish and “bird” and talk and enjoy the scenery all at the same time. Woe is me.
The river was running at 9700 cfs on the day of our float. I have linked to this term in previous posts, but heard a great analogy on this trip. Imagine an object that is approximately one cubic foot – like a basketball. Then visualize 9700 of them floating past you every second and you will get an idea of what 9700 cfs means. There are other factors to consider, but this gives you an idea of how this works.
Our guide, Trevor Wine, has floated the river when it was at 23,000 cfs – now that would be a challenge. The skills of these boatsmen are quite remarkable. They are constantly reading the river for safe passage as well as the best fishing spots, untangling lines, releasing fish, and oftentimes rowing against the current to get you back to a good fishing spot.
Some boatsmen do better than others. As you can see by the photo, one of the boatsmen didn’t navigate a turn very well. I heard from someone on my blog that one of their friends lost a family member in a boating accident on the Snake last week – wonder if it was this one.