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Thread: Big Su & Deska rivers: current speeds and depths?

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Default Big Su & Deska rivers: current speeds and depths?

    Curious about the strength and depth of these two rivers near where they come together. In other words:

    How fast (kts or mph) is the current on the Susitna between Deska Landing and the mouth of the Deska River itself?

    How fast is the current on the Deska, between this confluence with the Susitna, upstream to about Moose Creek?

    Are either, or both, of these rivers deep enough to run in a flat-bottomed boat using a propeller-outboard?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    The Big Sue is deep enough for a prop. Late fall it can be a real chore. The Deshka is gonna be a little more tricky. I am sure if someone who knew that river well could probaly run a prop during higher water levels. I have run it during normal water to low water with a jet and it can get pretty sketchy.
    The fast current at the confluence is pretty quick but mainly below the Deshka. If all you want to do is get to the Deshka, you won't have issues with it, Just watch out for the sand bar that builds every year at the mouth. You can watch a lot of people cut the corner too much and skip the sand.

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    On "typical level/flows" one can get up the Deshka 2-3 miles perhaps with a small prop boat, water depth changes significantly from year to year on the Deshka. This year I suspect water level on the Deshka will be on the high side of normal due to the snowpack. As to the speed or flow of the Deshka it is mild to slow, the Big Su moves at about 7 knots, it is swift.

    The prop boats I have run to/up the Deshka have been a 13' Zodiak with a 25hp and 16' jon boat with a 55hp, later installed a jet pump the 55hp and went anyplace I dared with that set up.

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    Getting to moose creek with a prop would be a chore. It does not take long after the mouth for things to get real skinny. Getting to the Deshka is quite possible with normal care and basic river running knowledge. How big of an outboard and boat? The Susitna is like every other glacier river around here. Varied currents and depths, silty and cold. The Deshka river is slow. If you can navigate the currents of the Big Su, the current in the Deshka is not a problem.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Curious about the strength and depth of these two rivers near where they come together. In other words:

    How fast (kts or mph) is the current on the Susitna between Deska Landing and the mouth of the Deska River itself?

    How fast is the current on the Deska, between this confluence with the Susitna, upstream to about Moose Creek?

    Are either, or both, of these rivers deep enough to run in a flat-bottomed boat using a propeller-outboard?

    Thanx, Dave.

    The depth of the Big Su varies from 3 inches to 30 ft. If your going to run a prop there are 2 things you need to do. 1) buy a couple extra props. 2) learn to read the water.

    The average current of the Big Su is 8 kts as measured by my GPS. Never measured the current in the Deshka, but it is much slower.

    You can get way up the Deshka with a prop.. if you shut down the outboard and hand line the boat over shallow water, but your probably not going to make it all the way to moose creek. Back before Jets became popular, many of us ran 18ft Jon boats with 40hp Johnson's mounted on a "jack-ass lift".. With your boat on step, you simply lifted the motor up high enough to still be pumping water through the water pump, but high enough to hopefully not snag the bottom while slidding over the skinny spot. We used a lot of Bronze props back then too. They could be straightened out (kinda) with a hammer and a big rock.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    The depth of the Big Su varies from 3 inches to 30 ft.
    I agree on the 30ft depth and actually at the Susitna station I have read deeper going over the whirlpool. I disagree with the 3 inches. I have seen many boats on the Big Su in .000003" of water but I don't recommend it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabliss View Post
    I agree on the 30ft depth and actually at the Susitna station I have read deeper going over the whirlpool. I disagree with the 3 inches. I have seen many boats on the Big Su in .000003" of water but I don't recommend it.
    Last Sept there seemed to be an unusually high number of boats in that .000003" of water..!

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    When the fishing is good, I take my 14 foot river boat (20 hp at the jet) over there all the time. Currents, for the most part, are of little issue when under power as there are no really powerful back eddies on that river like there are on others. The lower Deska flows???? Ok, so it is not that slow, but it is very slow. I think it would be possible to run with a prop over there on a small draft boat. But, you are going to hit bottom eventually know matter how good you read the water. It just happens.... I have beached my boat on the sand bar you are talking about......You just drag it back to the river (and it aint easy).....LOL....probably not doing that with a boat much bigger.

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