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Thread: Nowitna River help

  1. #1
    Member Toddler's Avatar
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    Default Nowitna River help

    I am in need of a little help regarding the upper Nowitna River. I have drawn the DM810 tag and am looking forward to the hunt. My hjunt partner and I were planning on flying our own planes in. He has been out to the rive a couple of times to look it over and found several gravel bars which were big enough for us both to get in on (Champ & Pacer). We flew the river Sunday and the water is VERY high. All of the gravel bars we were planning on are flooded. We are planning to hunt 9-21 Sept due to work schedules. The questions I am hoping for help with are;

    1. Has anyone been on the upper Nowitna recently and in your opinion is it above "normal" levels? If so by how much?

    2. Historically do the water levels in the area fall in September?

    3. If you were to use an air service to fly in who would you recommend?


    We are looking at shifting from wheel planes to hiring a air service to fly us in, but that is going to put a huge dent in my son's college fund.

    Thanks for the help,
    Drew
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

  2. #2
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    We are boating up there soon. I would love to hear some peoples perspective on this as well. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    If it ain't raining, the water level will drop. If it rains, the water will rise. Doesn't matter what time of year...........well, of course it don't rain much after Nov. 1. Water can drop pretty fast during dry spells.
    Andy Greenblat, Shadow Aviation, has flown folks in there before. Also Willow Air..................I think.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
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  4. #4
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    Water on the Novi either drops gradually, or jumps up quickly. We've seen it rise a number of feet in a few days in mid September. Guys have parked planes on gravel bars and come back to either very short strips or, in rare cases, to planes swept downriver. No, that is not the norm, but the Novi, even though pretty placid, can catch you by surprise. I'd be hard pressed to park my plane and leave it unattended as some guys do.
    There has been a few years that the water was so high there were no gravel bars. The water came up to the edge of the willows, making for tougher hunting. Again, that is not the norm, but a guy has to be prepared for both low and high water up there.
    If it quits raining the water can easily drop 4'-8' in the next 20 days until your hunt. We've also seen it so low that large boats could not get above the Sulatna. Since you are a pilot, you are likely aware of good places to get WX daily to check on rainfall for that area. I'd just keep checking so I had an idea what to expect.
    You might call Dale Erickson at Tanana Commercial in Tanana and see if he knows anybody flying floats out of there or maybe even Ruby. If so, you could fly into one of those places, park your planes, then take a float plane out of there. Would not be too long of a flight from either place.
    Good luck,
    ARR

  5. #5
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    You might call Dale Erickson at Tanana Commercial in Tanana and see if he knows anybody flying floats out of there or maybe even Ruby. If so, you could fly into one of those places, park your planes, then take a float plane out of there. Would not be too long of a flight from either place.
    Good luck,
    ARR
    There are no licensed transporters flying out of Ruby or Tanana............unless someone new has set up this year. As a hunter, you need to use a licensed transporter, unless you can talk someone in to dropping you off for free.
    The upper Novi is not that far from McGrath. You might see if any transporters are flying out of there on floats.

    If my info is helpful.........I would like one agate of the many you should be bringing back.............haha!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  6. #6
    Member mit's Avatar
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    You probably won't get Shadow if you haven't booked him yet, he is probably booked up. I flew out to the confluence with the mud once to help fly moose in. The guys where stuck on the bar for a few days after the water came up. They got a bit concerned, and were greatly relieved when the water stopped rising. They had to move the planes on the bar a couple times to stay ahead of the water. They would have loaded up and left if they had to do it again when the water started coming up. This was years ago before Sat phones and cell phones and Spots.....
    Tim

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