Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 29

Thread: Chulitna info

  1. #1
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    122

    Default Chulitna info

    I'm considering a trip down the Chulitna this summer...any info that anyone has is greatly appreciated.

    Timing, duration, put-in/take out, what kind of fishing along the way, water/rapids, bears, stories...that kind of stuff.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, AK
    Posts
    122

    Default Great Float

    I've floated it twice now from the East Fork put-in at the Parks Hwy to the take-out at the bridge near the Denali Princess Hotel. Its an awesome float under the right conditions. If the East Fork is at low water then its a maze of rock but with a little water its pretty easy with some tight maneuvering at times. It can be done in 2-4 days, depending on what you want to do.
    Once it dumps into the Middle Fork, it becomes a scenic Class 1 float. The East Fork and Middle Fork are clear water, the West Fork is glacial and cloudy. Fishing for rainbows, kings and silvers can be had until you reach the West Fork.
    After you reach the west fork, the channel becomes braided a few miles downstream and the views of Denali can be awesome.
    Finding camp spots is pretty easy. I have seen only 1 black bear along the river but if you poke into the stands of cottonwood along the braided sections, you will most likely see a plethora of grizzly trails. There is usually a good supply of firewood in the braided sections. Staying out of the wind can be a bit problematic.
    Read the following article for one story of potential hazards.
    http://www.fairbankspaddlers.org/ go to Rivers Section and click on Chulitna "To boat or not to boat"
    Enjoy your float!

  3. #3
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Rifle River MI
    Posts
    1,835

    Default Great Trip

    Not a bad option. If your looking at Fishing it go in Late July the begining of August. The place use to be more fun but if you look at the last 4 years it is now a Commercialized Wilderness Adventure at best. If I am not mistaken your looking at at least 6 outfits running trips down both forks on a regular basis out of Princess Lodges etc.... Not that there is something wrong with that just a bit crowded compared to just a couple of years ago.

    Expect to spend 4-7 days depending on your take out. Water there is a funning thing! On the East Fork late in the year without a ton of rain great little class I / II river for a short distance after that not bad! After you get out of the Clear Water you should do some home work first then pick a channel :-)

    Water I suggest you bring filtration is a pain in the Ars and requires the old bucket and cheese cloth prior to pumping.

    Fishing is good to above average for Bow's, Silver's Sockeye ( check the regs on Reds the system various from year to year) Pinks, and Chums late July Early August!

    Fish the Confluence of All Creeks on your way down.

    Lots of Bears just keep a clean camp and your fine! Take out options will be Troublesome Creek, Bridge on the Parks by Princess Lodge however I do beleive that is owned by the people from Talkeetna, and of course the town of Talkeetna. I am sure there are other options hidden away to inlcude one side trail.

    ;-) Hope the info Helps! There are some sites out there with good information and pictures.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    I've done it a few times for a local rafting service when they were needing an extra oarsman. We generally did 3 day trips from East Fork put-in to Princes Lodge. At the time, the private takeout driveway on the upstream side of the bridge was gated and closed to private boaters, as well as competitors to the owner. So we dragged our boats to the down stream side where a public access is available. This was horribly steep, and we had to winch everything up the hill. A real pain. I understand the private drive is now open for use by others. I hope it's still true for this year.

    It took us three days & two nights to do this section, but later we offered 4 day trips with a take out at either Talkeetna or below that at the Parks Highway bridge (Sunshine area - river right just past the bridge). I preferred this option to the Princess Lodge ending anyway, but there is no good fishing except at the mouths of side streams. Take out is on river right just below the bridge.

    If the water is high the upper section can be quite rough and campsites are very difficult to find. Once you meet up with the Middle Fork (just a few hours from the start, the river gets somewhat silty, but not bad. In mid summer it gets siltier than springtime (naturally), and from here on the only good fishing is in the side streams. Also, the river enters several canyon sections with interesting geology, and after each it flattens out to become braided river channels. Then it goes back to becoming a canyon, etc. I liked the diversity, but braided rivers become annoying real quick.

    I think adding an extra day from what my commercial schedule dictated would make a nicer river trip.

  5. #5
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Thanks guys! All of that helps.

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Eagle River,AK
    Posts
    1,494

    Default

    Water is REAL low on the east fork.Hers are some photo's from last weekend.Oh yeah,there is one less bear for you to worry about.My 11 year old daughter took one out of the population.



  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    493

    Talking

    If you do the float ,keep your eyes open for Big Foot.Ive heard it's been seen in that area.

  8. #8
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Bait Station, Alaska 99801
    Posts
    861

    Default

    For $25.00 the SOADF&G says I can tag a bigfoot as long as I have the hide sealed.

  9. #9
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Thanks for the update and congrats to your girl!

  10. #10
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,008

    Default

    Tubes,
    There are two major braided sections where if you're not careful about picking your route you could end up dragging a loaded boat downriver. While mostly inconvenient it can be dangerous. Braided, glacial river bottoms are "alive" and in constant motion, building sand/gravel bars in one spot and washing them away in another. My point is your skinny water can turn suddenly deep with a quicksand-y bottom--one second you're on firm gravel, in two inches of water, leaning into your bow line with all your weight and the next, you're in over your head, hanging on for dear life with all of your might. I learned that one the hard way.

    Then of course there's the midday upriver winds. Common on most rivers but on big braided sections like the Chulitna's, you have sand blowing in your eyes as well as winds stiff enough to stop you in midstream. (another hard-way lesson)

    That said, I love the Chulitna! I would say its my pet river, although I haven't been on it in a few years--since the parkies took over the take out at mp132 bridge). In my 5 trips from the East Fork Bridge (2 to mp132, 2 to Talkeetna, 1 all the way to Deshka Landing) I have always seen at least 1 black bear but never a brown despite plenty of tracks on nearly every gravel bar.
    I would carry water if space/weight isn't an issue--but there's plenty of silt free creeks to draw from and I echo the other's advice about fishing all confluences--the pool at the East/Middle confluence is a great King hole in July though they're a bit red. I also like the mouth of Ohio Creek but watch for the whirlpool off the rock face just upstream.

    You can gut this float out in one looong day if you're into abuse but I would recommend 4 days in early to mid July as an optimum trip(to Talkeetna or Big Su bridge). You can take your time and fish every likely hole down to the West Fork on day 1. Cruise through the palisades section and through the first big braid on the morning of day 2. Hike up the west side bluff overlooking the river...or sleep..or camp at creek mouth and fish. Morning of day 3 run big braid #2 and fish Troublesome Creek and then camp on an island nearby. Also in this section you have a great view of Denali if its out (BTW Troublesome is not readily apparent from the Chulitna--I would check google earth for current channel info and preload some key waypoints in my GPS. You may have to row up the slough or walk.) Day 4, easy cruise to the take out. If you go to Talkeetna hold left and be very careful--lots and lots of washed out trees in that section--root balls and deadmen galore!! If you choose the Big Su bridge stick to the main channel and relax.

    Oh...keep a camera handy

    It's a great river--you get the feeling of being in the MONW and never get farther than 4 miles from the Parks Highway (if there's an emergency and you need to walk out)

    Cheers

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    Erik, you're making me want to go back! I also liked it because of its easy access logistics -- as long as we don't have to pack the boats & gear up the bank at the Princess Lodge take out. That was a pain!

    You have cell phone coverage in most non-canyon areas, and even then you can climb the bank and call home, or call for help. Nice touch on a wilderness float.

  12. #12
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Ak
    Posts
    579

    Default

    are there many moose in the area? i know talkeetna has quite a few but do you think it would be tough to find one or two during moose season?

  13. #13
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Now there's an idea...Moose.

    There's a take out at Talkeetna?e

  14. #14
    Member Heg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Girdwood
    Posts
    233

    Default

    I floated it a couple of years ago, putting in on the East Fork and taking out on the Susitna (by the bridge on the Parks). It took me 2 days-one long one. The fishing on the East Fork was pretty good for rainbows, but there were not a lot of big ones. I would try to spend as much time on the East Fork as possible, if you enjoy fishing for trout. Once you get into the glacial water, the fishing was over. I tried to find the clear water streams that dump into the Chulitna but was unsuccessful; if you have a GPS, with the locations of these streams, you should be able to find them. The rapids were not of any significance at a low flow. A guy from Backcountry Safaris helped me out with the shuttle (can't remember his name).

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    Backcountry Safaris = Ron Clausen -- http://backcountrysafaris.com/

    I believe they still do this shuttle, and have a bus service to Denali Park as well.

  16. #16

    Default 4th week of July?

    I"m planning a float with my brother in law and looking at east fork down to talkeetna on the 4th week of july. What kind of salmon at that time and which locations? All of the above info was great about fishing the creek mouths along the way but most talked about going earlier in the month. This is the only window of time we have.

    thanks

    Rick

  17. #17
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,008

    Default

    King fishing should be very good all along the East Fork. There is a nice big pool where the East and Middle Forks join.

    Enjoy!

  18. #18

    Default bears?

    Thanks Erik for the heads up. I think it will turn out to be a fun trip of fishing and floating.

    How thick are the bears in the area and what parts of the river are still open to grizzly? When I looked over the regs blackies were open pretty much everywhere.

    thanks

    Rick

  19. #19
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    122

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick in Fairbanks View Post
    Thanks Erik for the heads up. I think it will turn out to be a fun trip of fishing and floating.

    How thick are the bears in the area and what parts of the river are still open to grizzly? When I looked over the regs blackies were open pretty much everywhere.

    thanks

    Rick
    A guy I work with told me that his boss flies over the area a lot and has seen A LOT of brownies roaming around...check the regs, I bet there's at least an 8' rug walking around out there.

  20. #20

    Default Great Thread

    Super helpful. Many thanks to all who participated. Am considering this float (first time) with family next week. Maybe see some of you guys out there. Thanks again for your willingness to share.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •