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Thread: Nigu - Etivluk float hunt?

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Default Nigu - Etivluk float hunt?

    Anybody have experience or knowledge with floating these rivers? If you've done them or know of someone who has - please let me know - feel free to use PM. Trying to pick a couple of good rivers for a 2013 float hunt. Thanks!

    Dave

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    I tried to pm you. Hopefully it worked.

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    Are you flying in from Bettles? What are you hunting? Where are you planning on getting out? What kind of boats? Extremely remote and beautiful area, long way to travel with meat and lots of bears and bugs....

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    After reading the 1977 Bureau of Outdoor Recreation report (http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/boa...gu_etivluk.pdf) on this system, I've come to the conclusion that the bulk of this trip would be more dragging and less floating, perhaps not the best for a float hunt. Sounds like a gorgeous area though and probably worthy of a visit some time.

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    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default Nigu - Etivluk float hunt?

    I flew out with a buddy to a lake adjacent to the Nigu with the plans on float Hunting it back in 04. The lake we put in at was a little over a mile away from the river, and as it turned out we took too much gear, And we didn't want to take the time or put forth the effort to pack it all over to the river for a float. We ended up just doing a drop camp hunt and we killed several Caribou and a grizzly. In 2004 we had the hottest summer on record along with a very large portion the state being on fire. That being said, the Nigu still had plenty of flow to do a float hunt. I think it is totally doable although you would probably want to pack light and take something along the lines of a Pro Pioneer. I still, very much, want to do this hunt, and in the future I will, I just wish we would've planned a little differently back in 04.

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    It's still on our list - sounds like it would be an awesome trip. Still doing more research.

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    Hello Dave,

    Very familiar with this float.

    Here's an ol' pic from a trip back in days of apprentice raft guiding along the Nigu for Sep Weber. Me by the Metz. IK.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Hi Brian,

    We're still trying to get all the info we can on this. Looking at trying to do this mid-late August if that would be good timing for caribou. Thinking about staring at Etivluk lake and floating down to the Colville - not sure where the best takeout would be. 7-8 days of floating/hunting would probably be ideal. Somewhat concerned that we might really run into some low water levels from what I've read thus far, but I really just don't know. Would this be better suited for a pro Pioneer or similar or a raft?

    Thanks for any info you can share!
    Dave


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson View Post
    Hello Dave,

    Very familiar with this float.

    Here's an ol' pic from a trip back in days of apprentice raft guiding along the Nigu for Sep Weber. Me by the Metz. IK.

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    Jaydog, that is a good choice for early to mid august. I wouldn;t suggest a late season float beyond 20 August though. water levels will be your greatest unknown. The Nigu itself is most shallow from its source, extending downstream about 10 miles. If you start from Etivluk Lake you'll be better off.

    A pro pioneer is suitable, or packrafts. If you have to drag for any distances, i've recently found that packrafts are lighter and easier to portage with.

    The packraft-style approach would save you time on the water and has less wind drag than a PP canoe.

    You can take out along the Colville in many places, but perhaps the best midway take-out would be around Killik Bend on river left side.

    Plan on 9-11 days, IMO. A week just isn't long enough to fully appreciate and deal with harvests coupled with dragging threats.

    larry

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Great info! Thanks Larry!

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    Sounds like a fun trip. Just plan the Colville as plan B incase you get up there and the water looks too skinny. If you have a plan B there will be less worry leading up to the trip.

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Just thinking this through - could we potentially be setting ourselves up for some big challenges with regard to meat care on a 11-12 day trip in early to mid August up in the Colville area, or do the temps up the ~typically~ tend to start dropping that time of year? (I know that none of you are long range weather forecasters, wouldn't trust it if you were and am pretty darn sure nobody has a crystal ball!)

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    How are you going to haul caribou in a packraft? You could raft down to a spot and then set up a caribou hunting camp. You would have to be able to communicate to your pickup pilot somehow (sat phone).... I have hunted caribou farther east of the Nigu/Etivluk around the first two weeks of August. We were always successful in the lower Anaktuvuk River. The Central herd uses that river/pass as a migration route south in August. Caribou might be harder to predict in the Western herd range farther west. You would be getting into good caribou numbers if you floated down past Umiat to the Chandler or Anaktuvuk river areas. There are plenty of good gravel bars around as long as the rivers aren't in flood.... I would use an Ally Pack canoe myself... Minimum 16.5'....

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    You would not want to shoot something early in your trip. The temps in the first two weeks of August could be all over, from low 30's to high seventies. The farther north the cooler due to the influence of the arctic ocean. Strong NE winds bring in low clouds and temps in the 30s-40s from the coast (the norm)... If it is clear with no or south winds your temps will be up in the meat spoilage range...

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    Member jaydog's Avatar
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    Thanks Pipercub - that's exactly what I was thinking - e.g. "You would not want to shoot something early in your trip." Right now I'm just trying to learn all I can about this area, it's all new and very different from SE Alaska! Everything I can learn about the weather patterns, herd migration, water conditions, etc is helpful. I know that NONE of this is truly predictable, but advice from folks who have been there and done that is invaluable. As to how to carry a caribou in a packraft? Larry Bartlett has a couple of rigs that he's been working on (the Big Rig and the PR-49) that are 9' x 43" that he's designed to do exactly that (and more). I like your idea of the Ally Pack canoe too. I have a lot more experience in canoes than packrafts. Appreciate your questions and insights. Every bit of info I can gather at this point is a big help. Are the river temps cold enough up there that a fella could use submerged cooling to counter high daytime temps if they happened or would the associated moisture problems outweigh the cooling benefits?

  16. #16

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    yeah, the right packraft is easy for caribou:

    big rig loaded with 1 bull and camera.jpgbig rig loaded with 2 bulls.jpg

    water temps on the nigu will fluctuate depending on depth, but last time i was up there filming Project Bloodtrail, i tested water depths along the feeder streams like the Nigu and also the Colville. Ranges i saw in late august were 44-49 degrees F, with the highest temps on the edges of the Colville (49 degrees) and lowest temp up higher rivers at 44 degrees (fast currents and shaded bends). My focus was to find the coolest water depths for meat submersion therapy...Hope this helps.

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