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Thread: Lower Little Su

  1. #1

    Default Lower Little Su

    This past weekend a friend and I took his jetboat across from Anchorage to the mouth of the Little Su. I'm curious to know other people's experience with this trip -

    If we got stuck, which was easy to do, the boat would not come off the flats. The guy I was with had a story about this happening to a friend of his.

    Anyone run Anchorage-Little Su often? Anyone experience a boat stuck in the silt?

  2. #2
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    so you didnt get stuck huh? i was just asking questions the other day about getting there. one guy said it was easier to get there from anchorage. but to plan on going and returning on the high tides. warned me about the mud flats out there. personally i run up there from burma landing -pt mckinzie- . i was also told it would be questionable to get there launching from -end of knik rd- and running the ocean around to it (said it was closer to get there launching from anchorage). seems to me the best way is running the river.

  3. #3

    Default Little Su

    No, we did not get stuck but...okay, so I got different advice on when to do. One guy said to go on high so you have more water, but the guy at B&Js said to go at low so you can see the channels and if you do get stuck the water will lift you off as it comes in. Personally, I like that also because if the wind comes off the sea, which is usually does, any outgoing tide is going to oppose the wind and create larger waves...

    Once we got into the mouth and up river a ways things were fine with our jet. The problem came trying to get out because the wind kicked up and we could tell there was no way we were getting out. We held up overnight in a pretty heavily tidal section of the river. The tide dropped out from under us fast, we kept having to move and reset the anchor and test the water depth as we ended up staying there all night. We could even, when we got out of the boat, see anchorage from the flats and get cell coverage in places...

    We at one point drifted in the night to the opposite side of the river and woke to find ourselves slowly being dragged down river through some riffles. My fear was always getting stuck. There is a lot of glacial silt, even up river, that you or your boat might not get out of. Its soft, like jello, and your foot goes right into it.

    When the tide finally went all the way out, the banks on either side were about 10 feet high berms of silt. We called my buddy's wife and headed for Burma.
    Last edited by dixiedog; 05-29-2007 at 21:43. Reason: grammar

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    woah! that was me last weekend, silt and all. stayed overnight across from the cabin (what people call it). i bought a new used boat and the motor went wacky right there. first trip out in it, besides the lake test. everything was fine ran great decided to go for a ride, got all the way up there and shazam! motor siezed up. it was a long cold night. funny though, when the tide came in it pushed me 3-4 miles back upstream. never experienced anything like that. i kept pinching myself thinking i was losing my mind, drifting up river....i fish that river alot, its close to home.

  5. #5
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    Default Lower Little Su

    I used to head across to the Little Su from Ship Creek 30+ years ago when I ran a Harvey dory with props which could take me up above Ward Gay's camp (do they still call it that? Jim Weeks bought it years ago and still has it last I talked to him). Always ran across on the incoming tide about 2 hours before high tide since Ship Creek boat launch wouldn't work at lower tides but with the new launch, leaving earlier is possible and the advice from BJ's makes sense, just be sure you're on an incoming tide. I ran aground several times up the Little Su in the soft stuff but could always get off with the incoming tide. This is not a trip for the wife and kids, too many things can go wrong so if you do it, go with another boat and never, ever go if it's blowing out Turnagain Arm.

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    Coming back to the Anchorage launch once I arrived too late, only to find the lauch ramp about 50 dry feet from the water's edge. I decided to drink a beer and take a nap and wait for the tide to come in. In the meantime, the water dropped while I was on the anchor and eventually it left me completely high and dry in the silty muck. Although concerned about the stuck-to-the-silt stories, when the tide came back in my boat floated without any special effort from me.

  7. #7
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    The bigger danger in my opinion is getting into the shallows and bouncing off the bottom in chop or swells. That's dangerous. And on the Little Su side of the inlet it can be very easy to get into that situation. I've pumped mud with a jet while I was about a half mile off shore. I never would have guessed I was in only about 12" of water.

    Running into and out of the Little Su mouth at low tide is not a wise thing to do. The chances of grounding are pretty high. If you stick it and the incoming water, wind, and waves are on your stern? No thanks. And as I said above, the Anchorage launch isn't an option at low tide. Besides, the wind and chop lay down at high slack. Smooth running beats listening to your jet cavitate while you pound the chop.

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    "Ward Gay's Camp," haven't heard it called that in years. I lived next door to him when I was a kid, and my grandfather built some of the old buildings around his airstrip.

    We always tried to get to the mouth of the Little Su an hour or two before high tide. Especially if it is a +30' tide. All the banks disappear at the top of a big tide. You think you're in the river and all of a sudden you're stuck in 3" of water. Then the tide goes out, and the next big tide isn't due till next month. Bummer! If you get there an hour before a 28' tide, or two hours before a 30' tide you'll be able to see the banks and follow the chanel. And if you do get stuck the tide is still rising to get you off. An hour or two a head of these times can still be good with a jet boat. Prop boats may need to ride the tide swell to get as high as Ward Gay's Camp, and above.

    Looking at the Inlet from the A/C street overpass you can see if the chop is too much to go. Too many whitecaps, and it's best to just turn around and go home. The rough stuff out of Turnagain Arm picks up at high tide, and for a couple hours after. You don't want to be there when it's rough. Also, Anchorage area winds are generally faster in the aternoon, so morning tides usually work better.

    A greater issue is in trying to get back after a day of fishing. Always be prepared to spend the night in the river. Even in nice sunny weather the wind will pick up from the southeast and raise a ruckus all the way back to McKenzie Point. If you have to wait out a tide, in the mouth at low water the mud banks will be +25' high, and you need to keep from going dry on the edge of one. You'll be fine stiiting there at a 45 degree angle until the tide comes back in and your boat floods before it floats. You don't have to worry about the boat getting stuck in the mud, just getting sideways on the edge of a mud bank. So keep your boat in the middle of the chanel, or find a flat spot to settle on. However, this river is noted for producing tidal bores that charge up the river with the incomming tide. So if you're going to stay at the bottom of the riverbed for the night, try to get your bow pointed downstream. There have been several boats lost this way. Also, this is a very bad time to get drunk. Some people are just so stupid! And yes, I'm still mad, 15 years later.

    Leaving the Little Su to get back to Anchorage used to be a real trick, you had to start going down stream before the tide started lifting the water level (all prop boats back then), and get to the mouth in time to get back to Ship Creek before the tide dropped. With the current small boat harbor this is easier as you have a several hours on either side of high tide to get in & out.

    Crossing the Inlet is easier than going downstream from Burma Landing, especially considering the drive to Burma, but you do have to plan ahead to be safe.

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