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Thread: Perfect boat for 95% of Alaskan rivers

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Default Perfect boat for 95% of Alaskan rivers

    What is the perfect boat for 95% of Alaskan rivers? Why? I am looking into a different boats for the river systems. I currently have an 18' sylvan deep v. Thanks for the info.

    Ron
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    That's a pretty broad criteria. It would help to at least have an idea of what the boat will be used for i.e. number of people, gear, hunting, fishing, transporting materials to build a cabin, day trips, multi day trips, expeditions. There are valid arguments for a freighter canoe, arguments for jet boats, et al.
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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    No such thing. Many would argue in favor of a Jetcraft XS, which can run most rivers, but would not be considered perfect by any measure.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as a "perfect boat" for more than one thing. You can get a boat that is "nearly perfect" for one thing and "pretty good" at a bunch of other things, but never a boat that is perfect for almost all things.

    And 95% of Alaskan Rivers not only have nothing in common with each other, but a single river will have a dozen different types of water on it. You can't even find a single boat that is perfect for a single river.

    So, pick the river where you're going to spend 51%+ of your time. And then pick the section of that river where you'll be spending most of your time. Start with a boat that can do that. Then consider the other rivers where you plan to spend some of your time and see if there are slight variations on the base boat that will improve use on those without notable compromise on the main piece of water.

    Or plan to buy more than one boat.
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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    So two boats then? Hunting,fishing, 500 pounds of extras.... from the lower su to the yukon and everything in between.

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    If you had said Lower Su and the Yukon, there might be a right-ish answer, but the "everything in between" part throws in the monkey wrench.....see previous posts....

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    I'd say "Your Friends Boat" that lets you get away with buying the gas it the best boat. Notice Friends is Plural! Anything short of that is more like 50/50. There are so many factors in play with the diversity of river conditions that continually change with depth/current, distances traveled, load requirements to go from a fishing trip to a hunting trip. etc.....

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There are two ways to go about it, either narrow down your use, or buy a boat that fits your budget and your idea of what you want to do, and then tailor your use the abilities and limitations of the the boat you end up buying. The reason there are freighter canoes, jon boats, jet boats and airboats with inboards, outboards, mud buddies, prop and jet drives is that each excels at a certain task, and falls within a certain budget.

    If you get a boat you can't afford to run due not allow for opperating costs, then it's not very useful. If you get a boat that is very frugal to opperate but won't handle the tasks you're interested in, then it is not very useful. If you want to explore every back braid of every tributary, the boat you choose will be less than ideal for running the larger rivers. A boat that is good for a couple of guys fishing for a day likely won't be suitable for a week or month long expedition.

    Ultimately only you can answer this question as your use will be unique to you.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Anyone want to tell this to my wife? I would love to get a 16' tunnel with a little 50 horse jet to compliment my 21' inboard for running shallow.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    So the rivers are that variable? My current boat draws 14-18". So most rivers are more shallow then that? So around Anderson or Fairbanks would I need something else?

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Ron,

    I've never boated in Anderson or Fairbanks but I've seen rivers really high one week and low the next. Sand bars move, etc.... Been to the Deshka once in such low water from the launch that I thought I might not get back one time. I was running a prop with a Hydraulic Transom Lift. Running a jet helps drastically but fuel burn etc can become issues for long runs. Last fall the rain we had rose the rivers so high and currents became vicious in places that it was never really an issue. I heard of guys looking at maps, planning trips, using google earth and when they get there, there is little to no water. Its a funny animal. Thats why I play in Ocean now. I just have to worry about Small Boat Advisories

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Gotta get off the "most" idea. There is no "most" have this or that. And it's not all about depth. It's about width, current, curves, bank type, bottom structure, rocks, trees, dams, and regulations. You might be pluggin along in a hundred-yard-wide and 2-foot deep section of a river one minute, and a mile one way or the other is a narrow, churning rapids between sheer rock cliffs. But that's just one river of hundreds and you wanted to be able to run 95% of them all. That's a huge order. Some can only be run by canoe or kayak. Some can only be ridden by white-water raft. Some can be run with jet boats. Some can handle a sea-worthy semi-vee with outboards. Some have motor or size restrictions. Some don't.

    And then you have to account for your purpose and the limitations that come with any particular boat: Fishing? Hunting? Recreation? Camping? Carrying passengers? Private or commercial? Range needed? Availability of fuel? Cargo capacity? Speed? Draft? Freeboard? Steerability? Chop handling? Durability? Weight? Trailer-ability? Noise level? Weather/temperature resistance? etc.
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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    I do thank you guys for helping me work through this... here is my thinking and why; for the last 38 years I have been where a 14' semi v boat could run all but the shallowist stream. An 18' could put you on the biggest lakes and even the great lakes. 95% of the lakes would be handled by a jon boat but in big waves that would be a no go. The number one and two boats being towed here is are a 14' alum row with a 9.9 or a 16' lund rebel with a 25.

    With that said, what is the most towed around boat in the interior? Is it truly a crap shoot on every river? What do you use where you hunt the most? What do you use where you fish the most? I like to explorer but if it is to shallow then no dice.

    Ron
    "Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science"

    Edwin Hubble

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    An XS or a sportjohn will get you most anywhere that you want to go. They are pretty fuel efficient. They can both be used in the salt for close in silvers or bear hunting and such (come on now guys - don't beat me up on this one - we all know that they can). I have a couple friends that have these types of boats and they really are pretty versatile - don't see how you could go wrong on a river with one of these.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Ideal to me would be an outboard jet on an 18-20 foot either sport Jon or fairly flat v-nose. Gotta have a power lift on the motor so switching to a prop is a quick proposition. Then lakes, Yukon, and nice days in the salt are available with a prop. And shallower rivers with the jet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    Ideal to me would be an outboard jet on an 18-20 foot either sport Jon or fairly flat v-nose. Gotta have a power lift on the motor so switching to a prop is a quick proposition. Then lakes, Yukon, and nice days in the salt are available with a prop. And shallower rivers with the jet.
    What he said! a 20' jon with a 85jet would be skookum. That is as close as a person could get IMO.

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    I got a 20' wooly sport with a 150 opti jet, with the prop option when needed. I take it all over. Have I got stuck? Oh yeah, I call it checking the limits! When on skinny rivers, somedays I wish I had a smaller boat. I am super cautious when I take it on the ocean. You just have to know your limitations with what you have. Be safe, but have fun!

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