Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The East Fork RAP

The East Fork RAP (red "X" above) is just below the legal boundary for the reach of river open to salmon fishing June 23rd.  It is located on river left immediately below the Highway 75 bridge not far upstream from the East Fork confluence.  This RAP is one of the few remaining unimproved access points along this reach of The Salmon River.

The East Fork RAP is 8 river miles downstream from the Squaw Creek RAP. The highway distance is 7.3 miles.

In the past 10 years, the BLM Challis Field Office has really gone the extra mile improving various RAPS between the SNRA boundary and lands administered by the BLM Salmon Field Office.  Unfortunately, the East Fork RAP didn't benefit from such improvement efforts.

Interestingly, this RAP is not specifically covered or described in the IDFG "Salmon River Access Guide."  That could be because of private property and/or easement issues. We have never noticed that this RAP is posted.  We will do some checking this month to determine what the actual land ownership is for this RAP.

(NOTE: As of 8/6/12 the consensus appears to be that this area is BLM land.  We learned August 2nd that the Idaho Dept. of Transportation will construct a two new bridges beginning in 2013.  The bridges will be built on the south sides of the existing East Fork and Salmon River bridges.  Our BLM sources did not know how this construction project might impact the use or future configuration of the East Fork RAP.  When the Ice Corner and Slate Creek bridges were built, floating under the construction sites was prohibited.  We plan to go to IDT's Rigby office to do soem further checking into this situation.)

 The East Fork RAP does not have a good eddy to catch when arriving from upstream. The East Fork ramp is native soil and river gravels.  The turning radius to access the area is marginal and on loose sandy soils.  Parking is practically non-existent and often problematic.  The turn off from the paved highway is definitely not optimal either.  We highly recommend you scout this RAP prior to using it.

As you know, the nature of boaters and fishermen is such that they will use any practical RAP no matter what. The old adage "any port in a storm" easily applies to the East Fork RAP.  During high use periods such as steelhead season and the upcoming salmon fishing season, expect this area to be cramped and congested.  If you plan to leave a vehicle at this RAP, be courteous to your fellow fishermen and park as far away from the ramp as possible.  Ideally, users would park across the river in the BLM's East Fork Recreation Site rather than near the ramp itself.

Below are the only two photos we have on file for this RAP.  We did get a lot of photos August 1 and will post them soon.  My wife and River Runnin' Sweetie Susun is shown in these July 2010 photos.

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