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Thread: Tikchik River Float

  1. #1
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    Default Tikchik River Float

    We are going to float the Tikchik River this fall to mainly hunt moose, but also fish. Caribou will be an option if it presents itself.
    Just looking for any tips or advise for that river regarding the fishing, floating & hunting.
    How is the fishing? What types of flies should we use?
    Any concerns about the river for floating?
    How is the terrain around the river? are there areas to get up high & glass?
    Thanks for any info you can provide.

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Without digging out my notes, I can't recall if we started at Nishlik or Upnuk. Either way we saw the most moose at the start of the float. If I did it again, I would spend a day or 2 longer at the put in lake and hunt moose there.
    We saw (and caught) caribou all along the river. We were strictly bow hunting and that made it tougher to put meat on the ground. I finally hung the bow up and took a caribou off of a gravel bar. Boy, that didn't sit well with my buddies. I was there to fill the freezer. They are serious bow hunters and both have booked animals. They forgave me at dinner that night.

    The one thing I can't stress enough is meat care. Those flat landers had no idea how much work and time it takes to keep that hard earned meat dry and cool. EVERY night you need to unload ALL of the meat. Get it up off the ground and in the air. That took more time than setting up camp. More than once I had to "quit joking" with them. Take some tarps to build a tent for the meat at night. On the upper river, you will have trouble finding a place to hang meat and need to build brush piles.

    There is a lot of good trout and grayling fishing. Black gnats, royal coachman and silver Mepps. We caught a lot of older salmon also. Made some great riverside meals. Plenty of great camping spots.

    We encountered plenty of brownies. Be prepared. Taking a tag?

    In all we ended up with 4 caribou, 2 missed moose and a bunch of ptarmigan, along with all the fish that we caught. (I am not an experienced bow hunter and would not have missed with the 8 Mag!)
    It's a great float. Plan on plenty of time. Have the outfitter fly the river when getting dropped off. Punch interesting places on the gps as you fly the river. We did have a bit of sorting out on the river when the braided water got really small. Pick the channel with care and cross your fingers.

    Let us know how you do and good luck. We like pictures!
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    Thanks Bullbuster, great information.
    This will be our 4th trip to the great State of Alaska, so we are well versed on the difficulties & work it takes to properly take care of meat. This will be our first time taking bows, although we will not shy away from using our rifles.
    It's interesting though, we were told to expect the caribou at the upper part of the float & the moose hunting would be better in the lower section which seems to be different from your experience. My guess is it changes year to year & animals show up where they want to.
    Thanks again.

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    Bullbuster since your crew were bow hunters, did they use hard or soft cases to transport their bows while on the float?
    I know transporters always say not to bring guns in hard cases but I'm having a hard time with the thought of a soft case for my bow.

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    Good info from Bullbuster on meat care, one thing we do out there (caribou hunting) is we go to the lumber yard in Dillingham and buy 2X6's. Cut 2 in half in the middle and bolt them together near the tops. When we get our meat we take the 8' and put it between the x's for a meat pole. This may not work floating though as weight is probably a concern but it works great for us. Put up and take down in under a minute.

    Good luck.
    Mike
    www.coffmancoveak.com
    Prince of Wales Island

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    We were also told that the best moose country was at the lower reaches. That is the main reason we floated away from the most moose we saw. And they were coming in to calling, which they didn't do on the lower section. If you are seeing moose early, consider taking one. Then you have to deal with a lot of meat each night. (worth it to me)
    Our airplane was a Widgeon. Lots of room for hardcases, dog, rafts etc.

    When we stared the float, it was a few days before wolverine season opened. Of course we had one walk a half circle around camp. All 3 of us really wanted that big boy, but alas...

    Gooch has me thinking. If you could incorporate the lumber into the raft frame then you have meat poles wherever you are. An idea well worth considering.
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    Bullbuster thanks for the info. Did you see any wolves on your float? Are they in the area?
    I always have the debate to buy the wolf tags on these trips. I have never had the privilege to see a wolverine or wolf in the field, it would make my trip to see either one.
    I do like the idea of bringing the meat pole with us, good idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoingtoAlaska View Post
    Bullbuster thanks for the info. Did you see any wolves on your float? Are they in the area?
    I always have the debate to buy the wolf tags on these trips. I have never had the privilege to see a wolverine or wolf in the field, it would make my trip to see either one.
    Not bullbuster, but here's my answer - if there are huntable pops of moose AND caribou, there ARE wolves in the area, somewhere.
    You may be redefining the term "CHEAP" if a $30 tag is the subject of debate, on top of what is an adventure that's already gonna cost you over $3000 (just guessing, pprobably way north of that figure).
    You do have the right attitude though; seeing either of the 2 is a good reason to rejoice.

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    Yes Gary, I am "cheap" but I prefer to call it thrifty.
    Why spend an extra $30 if there is no reasonable chance of using it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoingtoAlaska View Post
    Yes Gary, I am "cheap" but I prefer to call it thrifty.
    Why spend an extra $30 if there is no reasonable chance of using it.
    Wolves cover a vast territory. You can spend days (weeks, months, maybe years) inside the area a pack calls home and never see hide or hair - you'll probably see tracks (lots) and maybe hear them, but an actual sighting is something else. I've been fortunate and have seen 12-15 wolves in the past 15 years. That may be more than others have seen in a lifetime of living in AK. I've also seen around 6-8 wolverines, in the same period. Never pulled the trigger on any of them, but as you said earlier, just seeing one is a thrill.
    Save the $30 and keep your camera close, cause you never know.
    Good Luck on your hunt.

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    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    If your internet speed is good, look at your route using Google earth. I just checked searching on Tikchik River. The resolution isn't fabulous, but it gives you an idea.

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