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Thread: Ivashak float hunt

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    Default Ivashak float hunt

    I'm headed to the Ivishak area for a float hunt end of August. Had planned to fly in but just rented some pack rafts and am now considering walking in. What are the walking conditions along the Ivishak? Has anyone ever walked in from the Sag? Either up the lupine and over to the Sav then to the Ivishak, or a straight shot across the tundra from The Sag to the Ivishak?

    I have hiked in the 5 miles (7 actually) to shoot a caribou in the past. We hauled it out in one trip with two guys and I decided then that if I ever did it again I would only float it out. It looks like about 26 miles up the Lupine over to the Sav then to the Ivashak with only about 6 miles of this over the tundra. Vs. 13 miles straig across the tundra. Any suggestions?

    Also, does anyone know if the Echooka would be runable with packrafts in August? (if we got flown in?)

    Thanks a lot for any suggestions!

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    The Ivashak is on the opposite side of the Sag from the haul road. You will need a boat to cross the Sag...no way I would try and wad it. I guess you could cross using the road on the south side of Pump #2. You would have to decide if you want to be on the south side of the Ivashak or the north side. The north has flatter land, by more areas of water to cross on foot, but the last few years it has had superior hunting opportunities in August IMHO. The south side has more hills to cover, so you can get elevation. To me it makes no sense to do this on foot...but that may just be me...there are both air and boat services that can take you up the Ivashak and allow you to float out. On foot, you are competing with all the boat folks. All in all I could not recommend this plan, but I guess it is doable IF you have a way to safely cross the Sag...remember, it is easy to cross a fast moving river when your pack is empty, but add 75+pounds of meat and you are asking for big problems...
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    The Ivashak is on the opposite side of the Sag from the haul road. You will need a boat to cross the Sag...no way I would try and wad it. I guess you could cross using the road on the south side of Pump #2. You would have to decide if you want to be on the south side of the Ivashak or the north side. The north has flatter land, by more areas of water to cross on foot, but the last few years it has had superior hunting opportunities in August IMHO. The south side has more hills to cover, so you can get elevation. To me it makes no sense to do this on foot...but that may just be me...there are both air and boat services that can take you up the Ivashak and allow you to float out. On foot, you are competing with all the boat folks. All in all I could not recommend this plan, but I guess it is doable IF you have a way to safely cross the Sag...remember, it is easy to cross a fast moving river when your pack is empty, but add 75+pounds of meat and you are asking for big problems...

    HE would be carrying his packraft. SO the packraft would be used to cross the Sag.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnybou View Post
    I'm headed to the Ivishak area for a float hunt end of August. Had planned to fly in but just rented some pack rafts and am now considering walking in. What are the walking conditions along the Ivishak? Has anyone ever walked in from the Sag? Either up the lupine and over to the Sav then to the Ivishak, or a straight shot across the tundra from The Sag to the Ivishak?

    I have hiked in the 5 miles (7 actually) to shoot a caribou in the past. We hauled it out in one trip with two guys and I decided then that if I ever did it again I would only float it out. It looks like about 26 miles up the Lupine over to the Sav then to the Ivashak with only about 6 miles of this over the tundra. Vs. 13 miles straig across the tundra. Any suggestions?

    Also, does anyone know if the Echooka would be runable with packrafts in August? (if we got flown in?)

    Thanks a lot for any suggestions!
    How much time you got on your hands? Another thought would be to float down the Atigun to the Sag and Ivishak confluence. Hike up the Ivishak from there. Might get you a little further in with less walking. Just a thought. But again you would have to have a lot of extra time to accomplice all of this and still get in some quality hunting. Good luck with your adventure.

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    For about $950 (divided by 2 guys) from http://seventynorth.com/home/ you could get well up into the Brooks and have an epic float hunt vs. a slow, painful slog across the tundra.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russp17 View Post
    HE would be carrying his packraft. SO the packraft would be used to cross the Sag.
    Guess I missed that part...in that case I think the only viable option IMHO would be to go in at the road on the south side of Pump Station 2, cross the Sag and stay on the south side of the Ivashak. Getting up on the ridge line would be far easier to walk than the flats. If yo don't mind the walk, you could go a long way without having to cross any water, or swampy areas.

    An easier option in my opinion would be to go to the boat launch area and with a little ground work you can figure a way to cross this widely braided area and go to the opposite shore with your raft. Mark the spot with your GPS, then you can get a little elevation and head toward the Ivashak area. I have not done this trip, but it has always been something that looked doable to me...then again I mostly only hunt the archery areas.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    There are quite a few people running the ivishak with airboats and a few jets. 2 years ago i did the 5 mile walk, crossed the sag on foot and shot 2 cows on the hills. buddy passed up a mid sized bull for a bigger one and we couldnt get close enough. We crossed on like 3 sept 2011.

    Last year i ran a jet up the ivishak. I dont have enough experience with the echooka but it is a small river and the airboats are the only guys that can run up it very far that im aware of.

    If i was going to do a fly out float i dont think the ivishak would be my first choice. Although if you get dropped off high enough you would have water to your self. The further in the mountains i went the fewer caribou i saw though.

    There are options for what you want to do. If you were dropped off by a boat you could hunt it and then just float down. Saw caribou daily near the five mile marker and thats where the most camps were.
    NRA life Member JVJ

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    As akpride stated, getting farther up the river means less caribou. The migration route is closer to the Sag and the 5 mile marker.
    BK

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    There are heavily used migration trails all along the river in the mountains. Once you've seen them you'll think they are caribou super highways.

    I floated the Ivishak the first week of August in 2010 and we saw over 300 caribou in the mountains and none once we floated out into the hills and further onto the tundra. We had them walking through camp, swimming the river ahead and behind us as we floated, and staring at us from shore.



    We went back the same time in 2011 and only saw 7 caribou total (in the mountains again) due to warmer temps and the majority of caribou still on the coast avoiding the bugs.

    They're caribou and will be wherever they want to be. If I were to go back and money were no object, I'd spend the entire trip slowly floating the mountains and then have the plane come pick me up once just into the foothills. However, 2 more days of rowing to the road can save you a lot of $$$$.

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    Thanks a lot for the info Birdstrike. I talked with Mike at 70north. WHAT A GREAT GUY! I cant say enough. He was responsive to all my emails, very helpful, informative, not pushy, no trying to sell anything. You can tell his goal is to make sure you have a great experience and he'll do everything he can to make that happen. This is no surprise as every review I have read of seventynorth has said the same thing. It seems like so many of the other airservices I talked with were real nice guys but lacked greatly in the customer service skills... Not seventy north.

    A few more questions about the Ivashak if anyone knows:

    How far up river in the mountains can you get dropped by plane and still be able to float, at least most of the way? (some dragging is expected)
    How long does it take to float out to the road from the farthest upstream you can go (how many hours of floating)?
    Has anyone every hiked up from the river and gotten sheep?

    thanks for any info. This is a great forum.

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    When I floated it over 10 yrs ago you could get dropped just west of Porcupine lake & I am pretty sure they are still using that strip a lot. The float / dragging all depends on water levels for the season. That year it was the 1st week of Sept & we had no problems with dragging. It was the easiest sheep hunt I ever did as well, but then back then only one main transporter was working the area. Unfortunately that has since changed and the areas has probably 4x as many air taxis, air boat drop service, & more people running the lower section in personal jet boats. You could still get a sheep but there will be more people in the same area trying to do the same thing, so you will have to have some luck that there no one is dropped in before you, or if so hiking the same area looking for sheep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnybou View Post
    Has anyone every hiked up from the river and gotten sheep?
    thanks for any info. This is a great forum.
    If going from the road, it is conservatively 20 miles one way to the mountains. Flying in takes you right to the base of them from what I have heard.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Jonnybou,

    70 North will probably drop you at "the bench". After you give Mike a deposit see if he'll give you the coordinates. It's about 8 miles downstream from Porcupine Lake. Getting dropped off farther upstream will depend on the amount of water in the river.

    On both of our trips by the time we got both loads flown in and hiked the gear 1/2 mile to the river we just made camp there the first night and floated the next day.

    I think you can plan 30+ hours of floating time to get back to the Haul Rd depending on flow and how well you choose the proper braids to avoid dragging.

    Optimize your time in the mountains. It's the best part of the trip!

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    My wife and I just moved to Alaska last month, and we are wanting to do a back pack/float trip for moose and/or caribou this fall. We are experienced, fit hunters but we have never tried the pack raft adventure. Does anyone have any good no-nonsense advice as to what rivers/creeks would be good and reasonably safe for "greenhorns" that are tough and willing to learn?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcoker View Post
    My wife and I just moved to Alaska last month, and we are wanting to do a back pack/float trip for moose and/or caribou this fall. We are experienced, fit hunters but we have never tried the pack raft adventure. Does anyone have any good no-nonsense advice as to what rivers/creeks would be good and reasonably safe for "greenhorns" that are tough and willing to learn?
    Try to narrow it down and get more specific. You will get more responses to your question if you do. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of rivers and creeks that could match your description.

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    That is the problem. The enormity of a Alaska is a tremendous blessing. Nonetheless, it is a bit overwhelming for a X-lower 48 guy. Ideally, we would love to be in a place with decent size (does not have to be a monster) game, reasonable physical effort, within 4-6 hours of Fairbanks, and we could be just as happy with a moose only or a caribou only trip but figure we need to keep our options open. Among many other questions, is it necessary to fly in - float out or is it possible to hike in and float out taking advantages of the variations in river relative to the trails (if any) along the way? I can read a map and have a darn good GPS. While not in Alaska, I have doing backcountry hunting in the lower 48 for years so I am not green green just AK green. Maybe those factors also figure themselves into the picture of recommendations as well. Thanks for the reply Bushwacker Jack.

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    @rcoker

    You might want to start your own post on this question, because there are lots of ways to answer you and could easily take this thread far off topic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcoker View Post
    My wife and I just moved to Alaska last month, and we are wanting to do a back pack/float trip for moose and/or caribou this fall. We are experienced, fit hunters but we have never tried the pack raft adventure. Does anyone have any good no-nonsense advice as to what rivers/creeks would be good and reasonably safe for "greenhorns" that are tough and willing to learn?
    Like Chugiaktinkerer said, Start a new thread to get input form everybody. Also, I have heard good things about Michael Straham. He's a hunt planner that is on here. Here is his contact info. I would have sent this to you in a private message as to not get off topic here but you need a few more posts to be able to receive them.

    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://www.alaskahuntplanning.com/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcoker View Post
    That is the problem. The enormity of a Alaska is a tremendous blessing. Nonetheless, it is a bit overwhelming for a X-lower 48 guy. Ideally, we would love to be in a place with decent size (does not have to be a monster) game, reasonable physical effort, within 4-6 hours of Fairbanks, and we could be just as happy with a moose only or a caribou only trip but figure we need to keep our options open. Among many other questions, is it necessary to fly in - float out or is it possible to hike in and float out taking advantages of the variations in river relative to the trails (if any) along the way? I can read a map and have a darn good GPS. While not in Alaska, I have doing backcountry hunting in the lower 48 for years so I am not green green just AK green. Maybe those factors also figure themselves into the picture of recommendations as well. Thanks for the reply Bushwacker Jack.
    You are welcome. Although it is not Bushwacker Jack, just Bushwhack Jack, but I can take a joke. With what you are describing my best recommendation would be to contact 40-mile air out of Tok. They are reasonably priced, relatively close to Fairbanks and have decent float options for either moose or caribou. The other good option might be to float Birch Creek. Not too far from Fairbanks and free. It will probably take you a minimum of ten days to float so be prepared. You still seem somewhat vague about what you want to do though. My best suggestion to you would be to purchase some good books on float hunting and river selection. Books like Mike Strahan's Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers, and Karen Jettmar's Alaska's River Guide. Larry Bartlett has a good book on float hunting as well, but he is not as willing to share information about specific rivers. He is a real nice guy though and he lives in Fairbanks. When you get to Squarebanks you should give him a call.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    For about $950 (divided by 2 guys) from http://seventynorth.com/home/ you could get well up into the Brooks and have an epic float hunt vs. a slow, painful slog across the tundra.
    I apologize for the hijack but this seems really cheap. Are you saying $475 per person?

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