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Thread: Upper Kenai River Advice

  1. #1

    Default Upper Kenai River Advice

    Hello, I am heading down to Cooper Landing next week to float the Upper Kenai from Cooper Landing down to Jim's Landing. I have floated that section a few times, but my question to anyone who floats it regularly is once I get past the Russian River Confluence, is it wise to stay on the main channel, or is it safe to take some of the back channels and sloughs that cut off the main river on river left. The reason why I am asking is that every time that I have floated it, I have always wanted to go down some of those back channels, to fish for big rainbows and dollies, but I have been leery because I have heard some bad stories of logjams in those back channels. Can anyone verify or deny these stories? Bare in mind I will have my wife and kids with me, so I don't want to take any chances. In my limited experience on that river, the Kenai River is not a river you want to underestimate. Even though it may only be rated a class II or III at the most, the water is very powerful and cold. Thanks in advance to anyone with any constructive and useful information they can offer.

  2. #2
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Try calling TROUTFITTERS or some other guides. I'm sure they will give you a heads up. Keep wearing the life vests even if you get hot, cold wet etc. ALWAYS stay on the safe side. HAVE FUN.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland on the River View Post
    Try calling TROUTFITTERS or some other guides. I'm sure they will give you a heads up. Keep wearing the life vests even if you get hot, cold wet etc. ALWAYS stay on the safe side. HAVE FUN.
    Roger that. I always wear the vest and make everyone on board wear them also. Maybe I'll give them a call.

  4. #4

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    I just spent the day yesterday (Saturday) drifting from The Russian (Sportsmans) to Jims Landing and I did not see a single boat going in behind the islands into the back braids. I love going back there and often do but if I don't see or hear of anyone (even the guides that are on the river every day) going back there neither do I... And I didn't, for all that's worth. And as above, ALWAYS wear your PFD no matter how well you swim, how hot you get, or how lucky you feel.
    Tight Lines & Screemin' Reels...

  5. #5

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    Some of the braids do return to the main channel and are easy floating, some of the braids are choked with downed timber making floating and navigation difficult but possible, and some of them are impossible to float. All depends on what specific braids you are talking about. On a practical basis, unless you are comfortable with close navigating through debris, and willing to portage/drag through unnavigable areas, I would not recommend it. In addition, there is a lot of bear activity in these back braids. Personally, I would not consider dragging my wife and young children through some of these braids, but I do it all the time with very capable and adventurous fishing buddies.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I always take the channel to the left after powerline. I also take the channel on the right before the rock face that comes out at the point of mile 57 hole....I took them both yesterday...Also the channel that comes out at jims/last chance is wide open...I watched may boats come through it yesterday
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    I always take the channel to the left after powerline. I also take the channel on the right before the rock face that comes out at the point of mile 57 hole....I took them both yesterday...Also the channel that comes out at jims/last chance is wide open...I watched may boats come through it yesterday
    Great! Thanks Alaskachuck. Rep point coming your way.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    I always take the channel to the left after powerline. I also take the channel on the right before the rock face that comes out at the point of mile 57 hole....I took them both yesterday...Also the channel that comes out at jims/last chance is wide open...I watched may boats come through it yesterday
    Hey Chuck-
    How was the fishing behind the islands yesterday? Were you lookin' for salmon or trout? Knowing that it is clear I'll need to head back down there next week.

  10. #10
    Member bigcox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    I always take the channel to the left after powerline. I also take the channel on the right before the rock face that comes out at the point of mile 57 hole....I took them both yesterday...Also the channel that comes out at jims/last chance is wide open...I watched may boats come through it yesterday
    I took both saturday as well. A few bows and reds coming through in schools. Not an epic day, but I got the lady to come down and raft finally. She had a good time, seen a huge brown bear right below 100percent. Good times.

    fish on!
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  11. #11
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    The reds were just that...Red but I was not chasing them....We did ok from Glory hole to last chance....Nothing huge....Lost a couple of mid 20 inch fish....Landed alot of teeners....14-18 inchers both dollies and bows....Between by buddy and I in 7 hours on the water we caught 20-24 fish....Lost another 10.....Fished a 6mm bead fresh row looking....The boes and dollies were puking them and we nailed it on the match
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Oh the slot to the right of the rock face that comes out with the main channel at mile 57 hole is tight...It always is....I have a 16 foot drifter and can get through there no problem but I have been jamming my raft and drifter through it for 10 years now.....Power line is easy......Back channel that comes out at jims is a tight entry but fine after that
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  13. #13

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    AlaskaChuck. Your description of the backchannels were spot on. I took your advice. I was cautious, but was able to make it down some of the ones you suggested. I also avoided the channel others told me about called the "point of no return". The wife and kids and I made it alright. Nothing to brag about. My kids and I caught a few dollies and reds. My wife managed to catch a pretty nice rainbow. I especially liked that last back channel that comes out right before Jim's. Thanks again for the advice.

  14. #14
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    AlaskaChuck. Your description of the backchannels were spot on. I took your advice. I was cautious, but was able to make it down some of the ones you suggested. I also avoided the channel others told me about called the "point of no return". The wife and kids and I made it alright. Nothing to brag about. My kids and I caught a few dollies and reds. My wife managed to catch a pretty nice rainbow. I especially liked that last back channel that comes out right before Jim's. Thanks again for the advice.

    Glad you had a safe trip first off. Love hearing that the wife and kids caught fish...I always say "If someone in my boat is catching fish, so am I" I work that back channel quite often but there are some good spots on the main river below that too....Its all about the "feeling" that day....Tight lines
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskachuck View Post
    I always take the channel to the left after powerline. I also take the channel on the right before the rock face that comes out at the point of mile 57 hole....I took them both yesterday...Also the channel that comes out at jims/last chance is wide open...I watched may boats come through it yesterday
    entrance till sucks... but when in it.. it opens up... entrance right of left... your better off walking it in i thin\k
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