Floating the Main Salmon River

Updated May 11, 2022

Permits Required for the Wild Main Salmon River

The section of river covered by this system extends from Corn Creek to Long Tom Bar. All boaters floating the wild section of the Salmon River are required to obtain a trip permit before launching at any time of the year. See Permits and Reservations for the Salmon River for more information. 

During the lottery control season (June 20 through September 7), no more than eight float boat parties (commercial and non-commercial) are allowed to launch each day on the wild section of the Main Salmon.

Outside the lottery control season (before June 20 and after September 7), the number of launches is unlimited. For these dates, Recreation.gov lists 99 available launches. We recommend you look at the number of launches already reserved before booking. You can check how many permits are reserved for these dates on Recreation.gov by hovering your cursor over the calendar date and subtracting the lesser number from 99. For instance, if it shows "Groups: 70 out of 99", subtract 70 from 99 to get 29 launches for that date. Booking a date with this many launches already scheduled may not be the float experience you were hoping for.

Boaters floating the South Fork of the Salmon River and exiting onto the wild section of the Salmon must obtain a tributary permit before floating. Contact the Payette NF for tributary permit information.

For the 2022 float season, the Forest will return to in-person camp requests at Corn Creek. Between September 8 and June 14, camps are first-come, first served. For information about how to reserve campsites between June 15 and September 7, please refer to these Instructions for Selecting Reservation Sites and the Guide to Campsites/Capacities

Group size affects trip length. During the Lottery Control Season (June 20-Sept. 7):

  • 1-10 People: Up to 8 Days (7 nights)
  • 11-20 People: Up to 7 Days (6 nights)
  • 21-30 People: Up to 6 Days (5 nights)

Outside of the lottery control season, maximum group size is 30 people, and maximum trip length is 10 days.  

Bighorn Sheep on the Salmon River

Wildfires and River Recreation - Know Before You Go

Learn more about floating the Salmon River.

An outline of the Wilderness Ethics Talk for the Salmon is posted for all trip participants to review.

If you are unable to use your permit, please refer to the Cancellation Policy.

If you have questions, you can contact the lead checker at the North Fork District at 208-865-2713, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm MT.

For more information about each of the Four Rivers (Selway, Middle Fork Salmon, Salmon and Snake), visit Whitewater Rafting Four Western Rivers.

For information about lottery results, statistics and more, visit the Four Rivers Lottery page first.

The use of Drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) is not allowed within wilderness. Drones (UAS) are considered to be aircraft, and are both “motorized equipment” and “mechanical transport”. As such, these aircraft cannot take off from, land in, or be operated from congressionally designated wilderness areas. To learn more, see the USDA Forest Service’s Recreational Drone Tips and visit Unmanned Aircraft Systems on the FAA’s site.

Use of mothballs is a violation of 36CFR §261.9 (f) (Using any pesticide except for personal use as an insect repellent or as provided by special-use authorization for other minor uses). 

Please do not use mothballs to deter pests from your vehicles while parked at Corn Creek.  Corn Creek is seeing a increasing problem with visitors leaving moth balls spread out under their vehicles.  The thought is that the moth balls will deter marmots and mice from causing damage to their vehicles while they are unattended.  This use of mothballs harms visitors, employees, and wildlife.

2021 Wild Salmon River Float Use

2020 Wild Salmon River Float Use

2019 Wild Salmon River Float Use

2011 - 2017 Salmon River Use