River Description: The Illinois River is a trip that can be both incredibly spectacular and incredibly dangerous. The first hint of the possible dichotomies is that you launch at Oak Flat and take-out 32 miles later at Oak Flat. Even though it's headwaters origin is in Calif., virutally the entire length is in the rugged Siskiyou mountains of Oregon. The Illinois is primarily a rain river that can quickly rise and fall as result of the steep canyon drainage. All camps are primitive, and some are little more than rock niches.
A 'normal' trip on the Illinois is 3 days. Day One takes you thru Panther Creek Rapids, Labrador Creek Rapids, York Creek Rapids, Clear Creek Rapids, and Pine Creek Rapids (aka. "BoatEater") - All Class IV!. The desired campsite is the highwater right bank at Deadmans Bar. Day Two finds you running Fawn Falls (Prelude), The Green Wall (Class V - Scout!), Little Green Wall, and Submarine Hole. Once out of the canyon, look for camping at Silver Creek or Collier Creek (the condition sites do change with river level and time...). Day Three is much mellower. Just enjoy the milder water and the beauty of the Illinois.
For rafters, an ideal flow for the Illinois at Kerby is from 1800 CFS to 2500 CFS. Below 1800, it gets very 'tight' for loaded boats, although 1200 is 'doable'. Above 2500 is not recommended unless your entire group is competent Class V boaters. The gage is above the put-in, and a vast number of sidestreams add water as you go, resulting in possible flows at Agness of 10,000 CFS (after Rogue confluence) when the gage reads 'only' 2000. Make sure you know the weather forecast!
In order to run the Illinois, previously it was a 'self-issue' permit for 12 max. obtained in Selma. This may or may not still be true.