Canoeing Idaho is about flexibility and understanding where you're paddling as much as anything. It can range from easy going flatwater to whitewater paddling. Here is an bit of advice from Steve Stuebner's Stubey's Outdoor Journal:
"The general options are a canoe, inflatable kayak, sit-on-top kayak or a sea kayak with an enclosed cockpit. The ideal craft depends on where you'd like to go paddling (river, lake or ocean?), the size of your family, how much you expect to use your boat, what kind of performance you're looking for, and of course, your budget."
"Personally, I've been canoeing for years, having grown up in Minnesota. I've often used a canoe for flatwater outings on rivers, lake tours and extended trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Provincal Park in Canada. Canoes can carry a significant amount of gear, and they're relatively easy to paddle with instruction and experience. The downside with canoes is that you need to take a class to learn proper paddling techniques, and they are tippy ... it's very easy to flip a canoe in tricky river currents or when you get into a situation with heavy wind and big waves on a lake."
For more from Steve at Stuebys Outdoor Journal - click here.
· In Boise, Quinn's Pond next to Idaho River Sports, ParkCenter Pond off of ParkCenter Blvd., or Veterans Pond in Veterans State Park off of Veterans Parkway.
· Montour section of the Payette River. Very easy flat section of the Payette River, starting from the Montour Bridge in the Montour Wildlife Management Area. It's 3.5 miles from the bridge to Black Canyon Reservoir. A bike shuttle is easy.
· "The Meanders," starting from North Beach on Payette Lake near McCall. This is a premium paddling location. There is no current in this old river channel that feeds Payette Lake. It's 4.5 miles from one end to the other. You'll see lots of wildlife, including possibly the resident moose, ospreys, bald eagles, possibly mink, muskrat or beaver, and more.
· Little Payette Lake near McCall. Very sweet paddling location. No motorized craft are allowed on the lake, so it's quiet and hardly anyone goes there in my experience.
· Upper arms of Lake Cascade. I learned about these paddling locations when I worked at Tamarack. I hadn't ever really considered them before that. But they are nice. The Lake Fork Arm, Boulder Creek Arm or North Fork Arm of the lake are the best options when the lake is full in May or June. There are a number of boat ramps in the upper arms.
· Swan Falls Reservoir, starting from Swan Falls Dam south of Kuna in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Put in at the park next to the dam and paddle around and look at birds of prey. Watch out for the wind!
· Cascade to Cabarton section on the North Fork of the Payette River, starting from the south bridge in the City of Cascade. This section is 9 miles long with a float time of 3-5 hours. It's totally flat with no rapids anywhere.
· North Fork Payette River from McCall to Hartsell Bridge. This section is 9 miles long, there is at least one portage about a log jam, and it takes a full day to float. Lots of meanders. Good fishing.
· Middle Fork Payette River Tie Creek section. This is a fun trip starting from Tie Creek Campground north of Crouch and Garden Valley. This is an 8-mile trip that takes about 2-3 hours. It's fun to observe the funky cabins that line the Middle Fork as you float through.