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Thread: Wilderness Rafting/Fishing Trip Ideas?

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    Default Wilderness Rafting/Fishing Trip Ideas?

    Hi-

    I have a group of 4 men who are looking to do a 1 week (approx) river trip in a wilderness area with great fishing. Fishing is our priority. We have many years of experience with wilderness camping, so that is not an issue. We are thinking that we may want a Bristol bay river/stream for the salmon runs, but will consider other options. We figure to fly to Anchorage and go from there, so please tell us about recommended outfitters, access, etc. Thanks in advance.

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    Take a look at these guys. http://pbadventures.com/ They are in Bethel and have always done an excellent job for us. Lots of river options to choose from.

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    Well: Alls I can say is "about a week" isn't enough time. Make it 9 days on the river (or more). You will need it for most locations, and will regret it if you don't - having to move every day, and even hustle 15-20 miles rafting each day if you weathered in before or during the trip. If everything goes perfect, the extra time can be spent fishing, and relaxing, and not having to break down/setup camp each morning. I have gone with PBA a few times and would recommend them if you are going out of Bethel. There are other outfitters in Dillingham, King Salmon, and Aniak, as well. Most, but not all, of the river systems have other guided/unguided trips, and lodges with some jetboat activity low down, so expect some company. Fishing can be good for multiple species.

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    Thanks guys for the helpful replies. We are open to longer trips, with the max being about 10 days. I've been to AK several times before, but never to SW region around Bristol bay. What is reasonable to paddle/float in river miles per day? We want to have plenty of time to park and fish. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gramps View Post
    What is reasonable to paddle/float in river miles per day?
    3mph is a good, initial "rough guess". Of course your chosen river may have all/some reaches that are quite a bit slower or faster. I've found this a good average speed for me.

    Layover days without needing to breakdown, load camp, float, and setup camp are key. Breaking down/setting up is a big time consumer.

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    Depends on what you define as a "wilderness experience." Many rivers we've floated in SW Alaska fit the bill for wilderness adventure and fishing for multiple species. Conversely, the NW parts of Alaska have fewer people in July and August and allow some really beautiful trips on easy rivers. Fishing for char and sheefish is excellent then, and the scenery is awesome.

    I'd contact Wade Renfro out of Bethel for wheel and float plane access to remote pockets 545-4135

    Contact Jared Cummings out of Kotz for some great trip ideas in the NW (wheel access). 388-5968

    Both outfits have always treated us well.

    Best to tell each pilot what you're looking for within your budget and time constraints. But, I'd echo others' comments about 7 days being a little shy of best lengths. I'd go for 9 days and slow your pace for the best all around experience regardless of where you go.

    Larry

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    Quote Originally Posted by gramps View Post
    Thanks guys for the helpful replies. We are open to longer trips, with the max being about 10 days. I've been to AK several times before, but never to SW region around Bristol bay. What is reasonable to paddle/float in river miles per day? We want to have plenty of time to park and fish. Thanks.
    The main thing to know is that there ISN'T a target "miles per day". It really varies; you will want to move through productive waters slowly - or even stop for more than a day if there is a good campsite (for example, near the mouth of Klak Creek on the Kanektok), or lower down if you hit a pod of silvers (early in the runs, these school up in lower gradient areas, near or just above the limit of tidewaters); you will want to stop, get out, and work braids with spawning kings as well. And, if you're lucky, you might find a bunch of the bigger char - often associated with spawning kings....so you might want to stop and spend some time there.

    But there are gonna be areas that aren't that conducive to slow moving; like steep canyons and roiling whitewater, deeper single channel areas, and perhaps wide tidal areas with silty water - all depending on exactly what location you pick.

    I would say the general range is 6-9 miles a day; 9 days would work for something like the Goodnews - that's about 70 miles, with some serious rowing near the bottom.

    Realize that weather is a factor in this type of trip; heavy rainfall (or snowpack, and rain-on-snow events) can affect the river level, the rate of travel, and where you can camp. Water levels come down faster in some systems and not so much in others. Then there is wind and exposure - I personally bring at least 100 feet of parachute cord for guying out a tent, and have used it all on more than one occasion. Next time I will bring more.

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    Lots of good info above me. I like 7 miles per day. But I am a tall fat dude that drinks lots of liquor and generally moves slow. I like it. Some general ideas below for you to chew on.


    Goodnews in SW. Rick Grant out of Dillingham flew us, very professional. I would use Tom Schlagel as well. There is no rowing at the bottom if you get picked up on river below the lodge or have Bavilla in the village come pick you up in a motorboat. Pilot will arrange this. What you are doing is avoiding the tidal area in bottom 5-6 miles of the river, and I suggest you do. Late Aug into early Sept is good for silvers and bows.

    Kanektok in SW, have not done yet. Papa Bear is great service out of Bethel and flies there. Longer float than Goodnews at about 90 miles. Can be great fishing and is quite scenic in places from what I see. Long trip for 7 days, would want 10 river days myself.

    Rivers above Kotzebue in NW if you want BIG dollies and grayling. More solitude than you will find in most SW rivers. It is an amazing place man. I have done three float trips up there, lived there for two years, and will be going back in Sept to do two rivers again. PM if any interest in this area. The pilot to use is Eric Sieh at arcticbackcountry.com. He is very experienced in this area and recently went into business for himself. He flew us on two prior trips. Great guy. Also, Jim Kincaid and Jared Cummings are in Kotzebue and are very well respected local pilots. I have not used their services yet, but would based on what I have heard. Lots of great pilots in Kotzebue.

    Lake Creek and the talachulitna are closer to Anchorage and popular floats. If interested, PM Brian Richardson. He knows more than anyone here about these rivers I know of. There is some whitewater in places, so you need some rafting experience. Fishing can be very good I am told.

    Kobuk in mid August if you want sheefishing. Bettles Air and Brooks Range Aviation in Bettles would provide service. Ten day trip minimum for me. You can put in on Lake Minakakosa and take Beaver Creek to the Kobuk. This will let you skip the upper and lower canyon rapids you would encounter if taking the far more known route down from Walker Lake. Long lazy float on a big river. Much different river than the other suggestions. This has been on my to do list since 2004. One day.

    Kwethluk in SW, did it last Sept and got our butts handed to us. Weather was terrible. Blown out. Rained for ten days. 60 mph. Character building trip. Can't wait to go back. 120 miles of prime rainbow habitat. Papa Bear flew us and I recommend him highly. Staying at his lodge before and after was a nice idea as well.

    Rent your raft from Goo Vogt, forum member here and Alaska Sotar rep. Toughest rafts out there and I bought two from Goo. We also use our Ally pack canoe depending on the river. Goo will rent you a top notch raft and ship it to the hubtown of your choice. Much better raft than you will rent elsewhere. Mine have been to hell and back and still look brand new. Alaska Wildwater is his business name. Salt of the earth dude.

    Dealer: Alaska Wildwater
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    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Dan great post I hope you and yours have a very wonderful New Year! As my Friend from Ab-a-lama says once in a while "Not bad for a good ole boy" As always thanks for sharing your gathered wealth of knowledge. Tights Lines! Sir! First line is GREAT!

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    Great ideas guys!

    We are beginning to focus a bit. While we are experienced fishermen and wilderness campers, we have never done a rafting trip before, and most are new to AK fishing. We are wondering if there are rivers we should eliminate from consideration, due to the fact that we are rafting newbies?

    How have the king returns been lately in the Bristol bay rivers? Do you recommend hiring a guide? Do reds and silvers runs overlap? When would be the best time for kings? reds? silvers?

    I think we've settled on picking one of the Bristol bay rivers. Which do you recommend for fishing? scenery? safety?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gramps View Post
    Great ideas guys!

    We are beginning to focus a bit. While we are experienced fishermen and wilderness campers, we have never done a rafting trip before, and most are new to AK fishing. We are wondering if there are rivers we should eliminate from consideration, due to the fact that we are rafting newbies?

    How have the king returns been lately in the Bristol bay rivers? Do you recommend hiring a guide? Do reds and silvers runs overlap? When would be the best time for kings? reds? silvers?

    I think we've settled on picking one of the Bristol bay rivers. Which do you recommend for fishing? scenery? safety?
    You may want to check on the king fishing. I believe that many rivers are limiting king fishing.

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    After a ton of research on the web, and help from you guys, we have decided we would like to raft the Togiak River. We would like to be self-guided and we have all of our own equipment, except for rafts and related gear. There are four of us. Number could go up or down if it makes sense to do so. We would like to go 2 per raft. Since we are rafting rookies, we want something on the easier side and Togiak appears to fit the bill. I am drooling over what I'm seeing regarding fishing there. We are planning on late August-September time frame. We can only give 7-8 days for this. Is that enough time? Also, I am looking for someone who can fly us to Togiak Lake, and pick us up at end of trip. Do you know anyone who can do this?

    Also, we will need to rent rafts and related rafting gear. Any suggestions? We can fly from Anchorage to Dillingham, Bethel or any point served by local airlines to make this work. Thanks for your assistance!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gramps View Post
    After a ton of research on the web, and help from you guys, we have decided we would like to raft the Togiak River. We would like to be self-guided and we have all of our own equipment, except for rafts and related gear. There are four of us. Number could go up or down if it makes sense to do so. We would like to go 2 per raft. Since we are rafting rookies, we want something on the easier side and Togiak appears to fit the bill. I am drooling over what I'm seeing regarding fishing there. We are planning on late August-September time frame. We can only give 7-8 days for this. Is that enough time? Also, I am looking for someone who can fly us to Togiak Lake, and pick us up at end of trip. Do you know anyone who can do this?

    Also, we will need to rent rafts and related rafting gear. Any suggestions? We can fly from Anchorage to Dillingham, Bethel or any point served by local airlines to make this work. Thanks for your assistance!
    Give Dan's Rentals a call in Dillingham. He can outfit your camp and boats.

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    You may want to give Rick Grant at TIKCHIK AIR in Dillingham, 907-842-5841. Great pilot with the best looking BEAVER and 185 I have seen. He also has a large fleet of SOTAR rafts, and all the gear you would need. Think the TOGIAK is a great choice.
    Goo

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    Bay Air in Dillingham is another service worth checking. I used them last year and was very pleased, Tom and Janet were wonderful to deal with in all aspects. Tom flies a Beaver on floats and rents rafting equipment.

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    Tom and Rick at times work together, He is a great pilot also. And yes he has bought SOTARs and frames I built for rent. Just been working with Rick and Denise for over 20 years. Rick is a hunting guide and knows that area as well as anyone. Both good choice either way, Rick just has more equipment with boats and gear. As well as a BEAVER,185, and SUPER CUB. You will be in great hands with either.
    Good luck,
    Goo Vogt
    ALASKA WILDWATER

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    I've sent emails to the operators and am awaiting more information. THANKS!! Does anyone have pics or video of Togiak river that you would be willing to share? We're excited about this trip and can't wait. Thanks.

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    Default Try the Wulik

    Check out the Wulik River in NW Alaska. World Record Dolly's and lot of them.

    We outfit up there and it is worth a look see.

    Read this article and ask Dan

    Link: http://www.flyfisherman.com/2011/07/...s-arctic-char/

    Walt
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    "There were four anglers on our trip. We spent approximately $2,200 per angler and landed about 15 to 25 char daily. The largest was 36 inches long and weighed 23 pounds."

    One of my clients.
    Read more: http://www.flyfisherman.com/2011/07/...#ixzz30IaAEDDL
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Thanks. I think we're pretty focused on the Togiak River. Since this will be a first for us, we are wanting to do a shorter river with our focus on fishing. Which week in August would be the best for Silvers? We also would like, if possible, to get in on the Reds. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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