Boats Fishing

Want a river permit for next year? Get the deadlines on your calendar now

For those new to the rafting game out West or folks like me who are promising to actually apply for permits rather than ride the coattails of my friends this year, it’s time to put some dates on the calendar.

For those of you new to this game there are certain sections of certain rivers, during certain times, that you can only float with a permit. Rivers like the Yampa, Green, Salmon, Snake, Colorado, Smith—and the list goes on—require permits at certain times of the year.

At first glance this system seems unfair with complicated rules, lotteries and dates you have to abide by. That is, until you score one of these coveted permits and you get the most amazing campsites, fishy runs and stretches of river all to yourself and 10 to 20 of your “best friends.”

Many rivers are lottery driven, some are first-come, first-served, some are weighted… it just depends on the river and the agency in charge of the permits.

Below are a couple of links that should help you navigate your way through the process. If there are any others that you all like, please feel free to let us know.

OARS – How to get the most popular private river Permits in the west.

American Whitewater: A-Z List of Rivers with permits and how to obtain them

A how-to from

Private Boating and Fly Fishing River Resources from Rivergeek

By Tim Romano.