This is an odd section of river. It is mostly very easy, with one short (1/2 mile) section that is totally out of character. Always be on the lookout for trees in the river.
From the put-in on the Military Turnpike, the first mile is easy paddling - mostly quick-water with a few rapids - certainly nothing harder than I/II.
After you go under the Salmon River Road bridge, the river picks up to Class II. Soon after this there is a 7-foot drop into a slide (class III) that is worth a look. This can be seen from the route 22 bridge (downstream), but not well enough to pick a line. Just below the drop/slide, there may be some trees down so be careful. Soon after the drop, you go under the route 22 bridge. Just below the bridge is a class IV rapid consisting of a slide, followed quickly by a second rapid that pushes up against the river-right wall. The water in here, at least at the level we ran, was surprisingly pushy.
Below this rapid, you go under the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87). The rapids ease back to class II for the next 0.2 miles to a railroad bridge. Below this, the rapids soon stop completely. The next 3 miles is complete flat-water, with logjams and possibly beaver activity blocking your way. After 3 miles you go by the end of the runway from the old Air Force base, then under another railroad bridge. From here to the lake (1 mile), the water picks up again to class I-II, finishing with a nice little class II slide as you go under route 9 to Lake Champlain.
Be aware that all the land around here is privately owned. As this is not classified as a navigable river, I am not sure paddlers have much in the way of rights to scout and portage. The landowners near the two drops were very accommodating to us, but be warned they may not always be so understanding.
First (known) descent: Craig Allison, Steve Bailey, Andy Johnson, Rob Anderson, John Mulholland 4/3/2004.
There is another section of river upstream from Davis Lake (in Macomb Park), through Schuyler Falls to our put-in that has not been run to my knowlege. This is the section generally referred to in Dennis Squires book - although Dennis's book also references the Class IV rapid we ran near the Adirondack Northway.
Plattsburgh Area Reaches
Ausable (Ausable Chasm) Ausable, E. Branch
Ausable, W. Branch (4. High Falls Gorge) Ausable, W. Branch (5. The Flume)
Ausable, W. Branch (Section 6) Black Brook
Boquet, S. Branch Boquet, N. Branch
Chateaugay Great Chazy (Chazy Lake to Miner Lake)
Great Chazy (Miner Lake to Mooers) Great Chazy, North Branch
Little Black Brook Little Trout
Salmon (Lake Champlain) Saranac (Permanent Rapids)
Saranac (1. Union Falls to Silver Lake Road) Saranac (2. Silver Lake Road to Redford)
Saranac (3. High Falls Gorge) Saranac (Sec. 4)
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
There is no on-line gauge for the Salmon. Local rivers are the Great Chazy, Saranac, and Ausable. The Great Chazy acts most like the Salmon - the Saranac rises and falls more slowly than the Salmon and the Ausable rises and falls more quickly than the Salmon.
The water must be high for a run on the Salmon. The one run we made, the Great Chazy was 2500 cfs and falling, the Saranac 4500 cfs and falling, and the Ausable 3000 cfs and falling. This was a good level on the Salmon.
The minimum level listed is a huge guess. The truth is that I'm just not sure what the minimum might be.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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