Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Gulkana River Float Hunt

  1. #1

    Default Gulkana River Float Hunt

    Okay, I got a caribou tag for this area, so I am thinking about doing a float trip on the Gulkana during hunting season. I know there river fairly well. I have been floating it from Paxson Lake down to Sourdough every summer for the last 5-10 years. I have never floated it in the fall though. I have heard that caribou migrate through that area in the fall. I was wondering if anybody had any advice on places along the river that are known for having caribou pass through. I'm not asking for GPS coordinates, just a general vicinity. For example, Paxson Lake area, Canyon Rapids area, the area between Paxson Lake and Canyon Rapids, the area below the Canyon Rapids etc. I checked out Mike's book and it had one little paragraph of information about caribou. It just mentions caribou frequent the Alphabet Hills, which is about 10 miles west of the river. So I am guessing the area below Paxson Lake down to the Canyon Rapids area is probably a fairly good area to focus. Any advice would be appreciated. I know there will be lots of traffic on the river. But I think I would prefer the light traffic on the river compared to the heavy traffic along the Denali Highway. Plus I can get a little fishing in as well. Thanks and rep points available to anyone with some useful information.

  2. #2
    Member cod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Kenai Peninsula, Ak.
    Posts
    2,214

    Default

    I've floated it for fishing in the Aug 15th range a few times and had nice lone bulls (twice) walk right into camp while the wife and I were having our morning cup of joe at the fire ring. Once right above the Canyon and once right below the canyon. We never encountered large groups but fairly often saw small family groups anywhere from the lake all the way down to Sourdough. So its certainly possible for you to get one and in the process you'll have an awesome fishing/camping trip. Sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy and good luck
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    I've floated it for fishing in the Aug 15th range a few times and had nice lone bulls (twice) walk right into camp while the wife and I were having our morning cup of joe at the fire ring. Once right above the Canyon and once right below the canyon. We never encountered large groups but fairly often saw small family groups anywhere from the lake all the way down to Sourdough. So its certainly possible for you to get one and in the process you'll have an awesome fishing/camping trip. Sounds like a lot of fun. Enjoy and good luck
    Awesome report. Thanks Cod. I tried to give you a rep point but apparently I have to spread some around first.

  4. #4
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Rifle River MI
    Posts
    1,835

    Default

    I am sure Walt will chime in from Gulkana Raft Rentals always as with Cod willing to share great data. You might also wish to Contact Todd Sourdough Lodge I am sure you could fill your ears a little about the area in question. I have been floating the river my-self for a couple of so years and have often seen tracks on the middle fork from the confluence from the East Fork through 9 miles below the Canyon however never actually witness animal movements. However from Dickey Lake down which of course is a much more of a commitment that story would have to change as it has more Bou traffic IMO.

    Good Luck!

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    fishhook, ak
    Posts
    1,124

    Default

    Near the canyon i've seen several loners as well. There's also a big wide gravel bar further downriver with a fairly open view called caribou bar...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoose View Post
    I am sure Walt will chime in from Gulkana Raft Rentals always as with Cod willing to share great data. You might also wish to Contact Todd Sourdough Lodge I am sure you could fill your ears a little about the area in question. I have been floating the river my-self for a couple of so years and have often seen tracks on the middle fork from the confluence from the East Fork through 9 miles below the Canyon however never actually witness animal movements. However from Dickey Lake down which of course is a much more of a commitment that story would have to change as it has more Bou traffic IMO.

    Good Luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    Near the canyon i've seen several loners as well. There's also a big wide gravel bar further downriver with a fairly open view called caribou bar...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks you guys. Bluemoose, yes I have already thought about Walt. I usually see him at freestyle wrestling tournaments which are coming up very soon. My son and his son wrestle, so we get a chance to talk hunting in person. I will be sure to pick his brain. Also, good advice about floating the middle fork down from Dickey Lake. I hadn't thought about that, but that is another great option for that hunt. Thanks for the idea.

    Andweave, I am not familiar with caribou bar. Are you talking about the west fork confluence? That is a huge gravel bar with good visibility.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gakona Ak
    Posts
    1,493

    Default

    That float always produces but it can be hit or miss for sure. I floated down the west fork and saw a number of nice bulls and smaller groups. The area above the west fork is always nice for moose as it has lots of marshy ares that produce early morning moose. Keep in mind that you will have less pressure above the sign for the wild and scenic section. Stay away from the few jet units that make it that high.

    Good luck.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Rafting

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gulkana Rafting View Post
    That float always produces but it can be hit or miss for sure. I floated down the west fork and saw a number of nice bulls and smaller groups. The area above the west fork is always nice for moose as it has lots of marshy ares that produce early morning moose. Keep in mind that you will have less pressure above the sign for the wild and scenic section. Stay away from the few jet units that make it that high.

    Good luck.

    Walt
    Gulkana River Rafting
    Thanks Walt. Rep sent your way.

  9. #9
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,159

    Default

    Please, please float the West Fork. I'd love to read a trip report.

    I had had a buddy and his partner take a bull near the outlet of Paxson A couple of years ago. They waited until he exited the lake, shook himself off, and then they dropped him. Motored back to the ramp and they were done. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time. They didn't think it was a major migration route. Just a few stragglers.

  10. #10

    Default

    I've floated the Gulkana and the only thing I can tell you is to bring a head net and lots of big dope. A Thermacell might come in handy too.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    Please, please float the West Fork. I'd love to read a trip report.

    I had had a buddy and his partner take a bull near the outlet of Paxson A couple of years ago. They waited until he exited the lake, shook himself off, and then they dropped him. Motored back to the ramp and they were done. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time. They didn't think it was a major migration route. Just a few stragglers.
    That's encouraging, although certainly not expected. Thanks for the story Birdstrike. Rep sent.

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I've floated the Gulkana and the only thing I can tell you is to bring a head net and lots of big dope. A Thermacell might come in handy too.
    I've floated the Gulkana many times in the summer. I know what you mean about the bugs. Never really bothered me all that much, but they drive the wife and kids crazy. Hopefully not is bad in the fall.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gakona Ak
    Posts
    1,493

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    I've floated the Gulkana and the only thing I can tell you is to bring a head net and lots of big dope. A Thermacell might come in handy too.

    Hay.....Quite scaring the tourist away with that kind of talk! I live out here, have floated the river too many time to count and have never even seen a biting insect.....And there is a pretty girl behind every tree!!

    Have fun!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13

    Default

    You telling me they aren't bad?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdstrike View Post
    Please, please float the West Fork. I'd love to read a trip report.
    The only problem with the West Fork is I would only be allowed to shoot a bull on the left (North) side of the river. But I agree, I would like to float that section some day as well.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gakona Ak
    Posts
    1,493

    Default

    When on the West Fork, bring a small buck saw! Famous for dead fall!

  16. #16
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    782

    Default

    Walt,
    Could you PM me your email address. I have a couple questions for you and you box is full.
    thanks,

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    fishhook, ak
    Posts
    1,124

    Default

    Bushwhack- I was mistakenly remembering the name caribou island, which is up above the canyon close to the paxson outlet, and mixing it up with the wide bar with lots of willow and alder shrubs and animal trails we camped at much lower down in the river just above the W fork.

    The spot I'm recalling is likely the stickwan bar at mile 31 (from the lake). The river was fairly easily crossed right there, with an old channel on the far side and some islands in the middle. Good visibility across all of this area and a large bluff just downriver (on opposite shore) made for an obvious pinch point. Caribou are where you find them of course, but I recall this location got my predatory senses going. Of course the river traffic floating through would potentially be a downside.

    I'd probably focus more up near the canyon, but if you choose the mainstem, and get that far downriver without success, it'd be worth a couple days exploring i think. I'd say you should go west fork! And give a report! And be prepared for wood from what I hear.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by andweav View Post
    Bushwhack- I was mistakenly remembering the name caribou island, which is up above the canyon close to the paxson outlet, and mixing it up with the wide bar with lots of willow and alder shrubs and animal trails we camped at much lower down in the river just above the W fork.

    The spot I'm recalling is likely the stickwan bar at mile 31 (from the lake). The river was fairly easily crossed right there, with an old channel on the far side and some islands in the middle. Good visibility across all of this area and a large bluff just downriver (on opposite shore) made for an obvious pinch point. Caribou are where you find them of course, but I recall this location got my predatory senses going. Of course the river traffic floating through would potentially be a downside.

    I'd probably focus more up near the canyon, but if you choose the mainstem, and get that far downriver without success, it'd be worth a couple days exploring i think. I'd say you should go west fork! And give a report! And be prepared for wood from what I hear.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Hey Andweave. Yes I am very familiar with the Stickwan bar. Camped there many times. Last year when we floated it, the Stickwan bar was completely littered with debris, roots, trees etc. from last spring's flood. Unfortunately not a good place to stay anymore. Thanks for the advice though.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Gakona Ak
    Posts
    1,493

    Default

    northwestalaska@yahoo.com

    My box has only 5 posts in it?

    Walt

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    fishhook, ak
    Posts
    1,124

    Default Gulkana River Float Hunt

    Mistaken post meant to pm

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
  •