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John Day River

Due to low water, vehicle access to the river at Starvation Lane is closed until the fall by Oregon State Parks. An online launch permit is required year-round and available here to boat all sections of the Mainstem downstream of Spray. Permits to boat upstream of Spray are encouraged and available here and at launch points. The number of launch permits issued in 2017 will not be limited, so it is not necessary to obtain your permit until close to your launch date. Once issued, don't forget to confirm your permit between 10 and 30 days prior to your trip. Permit fees are non-refundable.

Motorized Boating Regulations

The table shows the type of watercraft and where and when they may be used.
Personal watercraft (Jet-Skis and similar boats) are permitted on the John Day River downstream of Tumwater Falls only.
  Upstream of Service Creek (Seg 4) Service Creek to Clarno (Seg 3) Clarno to Cottonwood (Seg 2) Cottonwood to Tumwater Falls* (Seg 1)
Non-Motorized Boats Open Open Open Open
Electric Motors (40 lbs. thrust or less) Open Open Closed Open
Oct 1 - April 30
Motorized Watercraft Open Open
Oct 1 - April 30
Closed Open
Oct 1 - April 30
* John Day (McDonald) Crossing is the last public take-out before Tumwater Falls.