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Thread: Ivishak River Float - raft choices

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Default Ivishak River Float - raft choices

    I have done a bit of research on the forums regarding this subject and so far am enjoying reading up on opinions regarding raft choice.

    My boyfriend, his adult daughter, and I are planning a float trip next fall. We are thinking about the possibility of purchasing a zodiac type inflatable (or two) because we would like to be able to use the boat we purchase for other types of water - rivers in unit 14, etc. However, I do understand that sometimes when you try to use an item for other than it's intended purposes you sometimes run into issues. Possible issues I see with a zodiac type boat are
    1. lack of d-rings for strapping things down - possible to add those?
    2. load capacity - we would like to each be able to shoot a bou -
    3. ability to put a rowing frame of some sort on it, and also for holding things off the floor.
    4. durability (not sure if zodiac type rafts are tough enough for dragging)
    5. clearance in the water

    Has anyone here ever put a zodiac type boat down the Ivishak? Our neighbor did this fall with three such rafts and said they made it down ok, but they had to drag quite a bit. This may or may not be a one time deal for us. So using the raft in the future will most likely be for motoring up and down rivers and in lakes.

    I have floated the Kisiralik in a super leopard (probably the most beautiful trip I have been on, in AK), and also the kenai river and little su...Have used the aire traveler to haul a 68" moose out a slough, and also fishing on lakes and smaller rivers. I like the possibility of taking a cat on the Iv., and the fact you can put a motor on it if you want... but, again, it is not really the type of boat you'd want to put a motor on and take up and down the deshka.

    thanks a bunch
    Juli
    Last edited by JuliW; 09-29-2013 at 10:02. Reason: adding stuff
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffboots View Post
    I have done a bit of research on the forums regarding this subject and so far am enjoying reading up on opinions regarding raft choice.

    My boyfriend, his adult daughter, and I are planning a float trip next fall. We are thinking about the possibility of purchasing a zodiac type inflatable (or two) because we would like to be able to use the boat we purchase for other types of water - rivers in unit 14, etc. However, I do understand that sometimes when you try to use an item for other than it's intended purposes you sometimes run into issues. Possible issues I see with a zodiac type boat are
    1. lack of d-rings for strapping things down - possible to add those?
    2. load capacity - we would like to each be able to shoot a bou -
    3. ability to put a rowing frame of some sort on it, and also for holding things off the floor.
    4. durability (not sure if zodiac type rafts are tough enough for dragging)
    5. clearance in the water

    Has anyone here ever put a zodiac type boat down the Ivishak? Our neighbor did this fall with three such rafts and said they made it down ok, but they had to drag quite a bit. This may or may not be a one time deal for us. So using the raft in the future will most likely be for motoring up and down rivers and in lakes.

    I have floated the Kisiralik in a super leopard (probably the most beautiful trip I have been on, in AK), and also the kenai river and little su...Have used the aire traveler to haul a 68" moose out a slough, and also fishing on lakes and smaller rivers. I like the possibility of taking a cat on the Iv., and the fact you can put a motor on it if you want... but, again, it is not really the type of boat you'd want to put a motor on and take up and down the deshka.

    thanks a bunch
    Juli
    Perhaps the biggest issue you'll run into with an inflatable sport boat (besides the ones you mentioned) is the risk of transom strikes on the river bed. The transom is the lowest point of the boat, and in shallow water it will strike the river bottom, and eventually you'll spring a leak. Not to mention an expensive repair bill.

    If you were operating on deeper rivers with no chance of hitting rocks, it's a different story.

    You'll find more information on this on our Sportboats Page.

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    -Mike
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    I have floated the Ivishak. It is a great river. You will have lots of fun. In response to your questions, I will tell you my personal opinion and you can take it for what its worth. I personally would not float that river with anything but a round boat or a cataraft and I would not go with anything larger than a 14" watercraft. And here's why, that river can be very shallow and very braided. You would also be wise to pack very light. It is almost guaranteed that you will have some dragging. You will also have to be very maneuverable because channel selection is critical and you have to be able to make quick decisions and maneuver quickly. One minute you will be in six feet of water in the main channel and the next minute the main channel will divide into six different channels and there will only be about 6 inches of water. I would think the zodiac will be hard to maneuver in these situations and I personally would not choose this type of watercraft. That's my .02 cents worth. Good luck.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Thanks to you both for your input. I appreciate it a lot.

    Mike - I was looking and looking for a writeup on the zodiac type boats and did not think to look at the 'sport boat' link. Thank you for sharing.

    It does sound like the zodiac type might be better for deeper water where a motor can be put to use. The last thing I want to do is worry about repairing the bottom of a raft or rafts on a regular basis. Or worse yet, having the trip ruined because we have no boat to float in.

    BJ - I appreciate your 'lightweight' approach...it is definitely a priority for this trip.

    thanks again!
    Juli
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    Posted a reply in the Rafting Forum. All of the above is solid advice.

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    Hopefully I have not posted the same thing three times..the last two attempts left me with a blank reply box...

    Thanks to all for the advice! It looks like a round raft will be the best choice.
    We are currently looking at a nearly new condition Saturn, 15'. The current owner filled the bailing holes on the bottom of the raft with shoo goo, in order to keep water out. Is this helpful or not? Does closing up the holes add to floatation? Does anyone know if the tubes in Saturn rafts have 'air bladders', like the Aire cat and canoe I used? Any other opinions on Saturn rafts?

    thanks a bunch!
    Juli
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    I had this same question last year on this exact issue. And I would really listen to bushwack jack on this as he has done this float a few times. We choose to use one 14.5 foot round self bailer and a two man canoe self bailer. We used the big raft as a gear hauler. There were quite a few times those braids dipped to three inches or less, and we had to get out and drag. I will also say that the big raft with all the gear drafted what seamed to be 2.5 inches of water and the canoe with way less gear drafted about 3.5 inches of water. The people in the canoe got out and walked a lot more than the big raft. I believe that if you went out in a zodiak in the last two weeks of august or later you would have not made it. Hell after five bou and a grizzly we bearly made it, once the wind started blowing we stopped moving. haha PM me and I will tell you more. Outfitters we used, boats, how far we went, good spotting knobs excetra. let me know, and good luck planning it is half the fun.

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    Tuffboots

    all I can say is wow on filling the holes with Shoo goo. The reason most of us use self bailing boats is because most of our likes and requirements lean towards self bailing boat. I don't know why someone would buy a self bailing boat add the additional weight to the floor and boat and then fill the holes. Yes in Theory no holes higher lift IMO. Saturn boats do not have bladders like AIRE or Quadcatts. Saturn Boats are more akin to ZEBECS, Maxxon, Alaska Series etc... nothing wrong with them just different etc...... your looking at 156 lbs at 15ft.

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Question on the raft. It comes with tube like seats. .. three pig them. .. these can be replaced with a rowing frame?
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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuffboots View Post
    Question on the raft. It comes with tube like seats. .. three pig them. .. these can be replaced with a rowing frame?
    I think you are referring to the thwarts. Those are the inflatable cylinders that run across the floor of the boat, from side to side. If that's the case, most of us simply remove them. If they cannot be removed (some are glued in), simply deflate them. The primary purpose of thwarts is to provide structural rigidity in white water in side-impact situations. For rivers under Class III, they're really not needed, unless you are running the boat as a paddle raft and need the seating. The term "paddle raft" refers to a boat that is paddled, rather than fitted with a frame and rowed. Most folks rafting in Alaska use a rowing setup.

    The alternative is to use a rowing frame with seats. Seats can be either mounted directly to the frame or you can use a "cooler frame", which is a frame that has bars allowing you to cradle a cooler. The cooler becomes the seat for the oarsman. Alternatively you can rig an oarsman's seat in the back and cradle the cooler up front for your passengers, similar to THIS FRAME.

    Lotsa ways to rig boats.

    Not to bash them, but Saturn brand boats are not considered near the top of the list in terms of quality. Probably one of the most common affordable brands on the market are the Otter series made by Northwest River Supplies. If you're in Southcentral Alaska, you might stop by Alaska Raft and Kayak and have a look. They're the dealer for this area.

    Did you already check out our Inflatable Boats pages?

    -Mike
    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://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Hi Mike,

    I did briefly looked over the raft page a few days ago, along with others you have written. They are full of great info and I need to read them more thoroughly.

    Sorry about the pig typo..swype wasn't quite accurate on that one...lol
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    My raft of choice for trip has been the Sotar Radical, I have done this trip three times in the last six years and this raft works great... Length of the raft isnt as important as the width, most of the braids are narrow on the Ivyshak... Going earlier is better for rafting ex. 1st week of August the later one waits it seems there is less and less water as the temps begin to fall so does the flow rate... Feel free to PM me if you have questions, good luck

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    You should be very xareful using a boat with a transom. I have floated several rivers with a Zodiac and the transom will hang up and cause you to flood the boat or come to a stop. The Ivishak gets very shallow in the fall and you will likely tear the bottom out of your Zodiac if you float it. Take a look at a 14 foot plus raft with an inflatable self bailing floor. The cat rafts are good although they will not haul the gear that a round raft with a self bailing inflatable floor will haul.You should be very careful using a boat with a transom. I have floated several rivers with a Zodiac and the transom will hang up and cause you to flood the boat or come to a stop. The Ivishak gets very shallow in the fall and you will likely tear the bottom out of your Zodiac if you float it. Take a look at a 14 foot plus raft with an inflatable self-bailing floor. The cat rafts are good although they will not haul the gear that a round raft of the same length with a self-bailing inflatable floor will haul. You need to haul 1500 to 2000 pounds in 4" of water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post

    You'll find more information on this on our Sportboats Page.



    -Mike
    Hey thanks for posting that, Mike. I didn't even know that page existed. Of course, I saw the term "Sportboats" and immediately thought "Grumman" and got all excited. The saw it was inflatable sportboats.

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