Salmon River peak flow

The Salmon River flow has apparently peaked for the season.  The Middle Fork of the Salmon is running about 3.4 feet now, and has been dropping for several days.  The Main Salmon at Corn Creek was at 4.1 a couple of days ago, but has been dropping.  This is a little early for the Salmon River to crest, and certainly is cresting at a low level, but this whole spring has been a couple weeks ahead.  The wild roses are beginning to bloom at our house, at 4500 feet elevation–and it is a little early.  I used to hear old-timers say “the river peaks when the roses bloom”,  and that seems to be the case this year.  Obviously the river peaks throughout the system at the same time, and elevation determines when the roses bloom, but I used to hear that expression in the Salmon valley at about 4000 feet.  Another saying was that the bears come out of hibernation when the balsam root blooms.  Makes some sense, because plant stage varies with a warm or cool spring, and that would seem to affect  when the bears emerge.  Elk began their migration out of the valley 2-3 weeks ago, over the continental divide into Montana, earlier than usual.  We had not seen groups of elk around our house for a month or so, yet this morning there was a cow elk with a new calf in the pasture just below our house.  This is the time when deer, antelope, and elk are dropping their young.  We have had a couple of weeks of showers after a very dry early spring–which will help delay the fire season.  The Salmon valley is very green now, a very attractive time of year.  The river level on the Main Salmon through the River of No Return section is not particularly critical for rafting trips, and the current moderate level favors trips in June. June flows will be particularly attractive on the Middle Fork of the Salmon this year, with the fly-in period probably beginning a little early this year.

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