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Thread: Headed to the Brooks, need a little advice

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default Headed to the Brooks, need a little advice

    Once again I drew a big goose egg for tags this year so decided to cook up something else. I have a couple of uncles who have been talking about hunting caribou in AK for about 30yrs and I finally told them it was time to make the motion. There will be 4 of us, my dad, myself, and Dad's two older brothers. I am honestly glad now that I didn't draw anything because I live for trips with these three guys and cannot wait for go time.

    We got our deposits payed and contracts signed with Dan Sailors of Husky Aviation and are slated to leave Happy Valley on the 26th of August and return on the 3rd of September, weather willing of course. I have heard great things about Dan and Brett and after talking with both of them am confident in my decision to fly with them.

    Even after picking both of our pilots' brains I still have a couple questions. First is footwear, I've never been up to the Arctic and am unsure on which boots to pack. We will likely be somewhere around the Canning river or the Hulahula. The notion of tundra tells me that hipboots are in order but I've heard the north slope referred to as an arctic desert and I'd hate to be stuck out there in hipboots for no reason. Thinking maybe my Lacrosse Burlys would be a good compromise, but I'm just not sure.

    Next is a tent. I'll be bumming a buddy's 8x8 bombshelter which is my favorite tent I've ever used. Unfortunately we will need 2 tents for the 4 of us and I cannot afford a bombshelter unless I find a smoking deal on a used one and believe me I'll be looking. So I'm looking at buying a tent that we can rely on should the winds get crazy, but I'm just leery of less expensive equipment that I don't have experience with. Suggestions would be welcome.

    Third and I guess not so important is fishing opportunity and ptarmigan hunting up there. One of my uncles is first and foremost an upland bird hunter, though he is looking forward to shooting his first bull caribou. I promised him I would toss in a lightweight shotgun and a box of shells so he could chase some ptarmigan around if we all tag out. Season won't be open until the last couple days of our trip but that's how we planned it. Hope we can get him into a few birds, he'd be more likely to get a pair of them mounted than a big bull caribou! I always take a fishing rod along on my flyout trips, some times we've used it sometimes not but it's light and great to have if there are fish to be caught. Helps wile away the midday warm hours and is fun after the tags are punched and the meat is taken care of. Is there fish to be caught in these river systems this time of year? If so what kind of tackle should I pack?

    Thanks in advance guys

  2. #2

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    Hunted sheep in the brooks once. Got dropped off on the upper Sheenjek, I can't recall needing waders at all. The terrain was kind of tougher than expected but the tundra was pretty dry. If you are crossing a river obviously you'll need something. I wore a pair of Miendl's for 10 days and feet were always dry. Good luck

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    Member babyblue7's Avatar
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    I would def take hipboots we were dropped near a river and all the bou were across it. We had 8 inch boots and the water at the lowest crossing's were up to knee deep on that river. You could always take both better to have them to not. Weight isn't much of a factor what type of plane do they operate? We also saw numerous birds about 50 roosted on the gravel bar every evening so you shouldn't have trouble finding any to shoot take some spices to cook them.
    As far as fishing didn't get to fish left pole at airstrip and I seriously regret that because I really wanted to do some fishing. I'm gonna go on a limb and say most of the rivers up there at least hold grayling and artic char. You will have a great hunt back for the worst and hope for the best. We were there about a week into Sept. Cold,snow,rain,sleet,fog. But great hunting saws hundreds of bou. We flew 70 North with Mike. Had a great hunt.

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    I would purchase a Cabelas Alaskan outfitter tent in either the four man or six man if you are looking for a strong tent!

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    Member ramhunter's Avatar
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    You don't need hip boots on a sheep hunt, grow ya some tough!....my sheep hunting buddy crossing the Kongakut River in September, breaking ice on the edge of the river with his bare feet!....

    "Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous" ~ Reinhold Messner

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Yes, bring the rods. The fishing can be fantastic up there! Loads of grayling, and if you time it right, the char can be excellent as well. Some of the most beautiful char I've seen have come out of those slope rivers.

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    good boots and a good pair of gaitors works for me about 95% of the time.

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Back in the 60's while still living in N.H. I was hunting DEER with a buddy with no luck for several days. One evening we ran into town for some good eats. Ran into a F&W officer and asked for suggestions where we should go the next day. He said you know where the Androsroggin(SP) rifle gun range is,then he said if you have hipboots, cross the river and go uphill from there. That's a good wintering area and you might find some DEER.
    the next morning, about 15 degrees we park at the range and head for the river. Shelf ice about 30' from the bank to open water. Dick says, too bad we don't have hipboots. I say, that wont stop me. I remove my boots and socks and says let's go. Well, he chickens out and goes across the highway to hunt. Wow, gotta hurry as my feet were sticking to the ice. The water was shy of knee high and by the time I got to the other bank I couldn't feel my feet.
    I put on my dry socks and boots and headed up the hill. Soon I found tracks. Then a nice spikehorn showed up and one shot thru the spine and Roland was a happy camper. Another crossing, this time with my boots on and waited for partner to help load the DEER on top the Bronco. Mind over matter, just gotta do what you have to.
    Quote Originally Posted by ramhunter View Post
    You don't need hip boots on a sheep hunt, grow ya some tough!....my sheep hunting buddy crossing the Kongakut River in September, breaking ice on the edge of the river with his bare feet!....


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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Crossed a few glacier fed creeks with crocks on - works okay. I'm a tenderfoot - so don't go barefoot. In the brooks we took wiggies waders - worked pretty good if you don't have to do much but cross the creeks in them. Pretty fast to throw them over your boots, then when you get across - put a rock in them and throw them to the other guy.

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    I've been on the north side of the Brooks twice, although in a different drainage. Plan on hunting in boots but take something (hip or chest waders) to cross the water with. Plan on some snow and cold during your trip. I've only used my 6 man Cabela's Guide tent in early August and less than 25mph winds but I would not hesitate to take it again. Try to borrow a friend's tent with a stove. You'll appreciate the warmth after a cold day. Take a small saw to cut willow driftwood.

    You'll have a great time. The drive up & back is a great part of the adventure. Showers in Coldfoot on the way back are worth whatever they are charging now.

  11. #11
    Member mtnclimber's Avatar
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    I use crocs and barneys glacier socks for crossings. Im not a fan of cold feet

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info so far guys. I would have never guessed there would be enough wood available to run a stove. I'll also check up on the cabelas brand tents. Any other info you guys would part with would be appreciated still more.

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    One suggestion: take a pair of camp shoes. It's a great feeling to have dry footwear around the camp.

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    Member frosty31's Avatar
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    I second the crocs, it's nice to let the feet breathe! Take a pole for sure...I am having a replica made of a 20" grayling and a 30" char from last years trip. With our trip last year we had plenty of wood for a fire while in the mountains, not so much when we floated out. No help on the tent. Good luck man, beautiful country up there!

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    What were you using for tackle up there last year Frosty? None of us are any great shakes as fly fisherman, just a bunch of spincasters we is!

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    What were you using for tackle up there last year Frosty? None of us are any great shakes as fly fisherman, just a bunch of spincasters we is!
    My hunting partner brought a fly rod, and I believe he hooked up a 6 inch arctic char using what ever he had, they were not big at all. Char will eat anything so spinners and spoons will work, I was fleshing my cape by the river and tossing pieces of fat and flesh and the char ( they were very small) were taking it as it hit the water, was pretty cool to see.

    To say the least, I would leave the rods home, it does make a hassle to bring them and situating them on the plane, plus thats added weight. Theres other critters to kill up there once you get your ram, and some will venture fairly close to base camp. Spend your time behind the glass and keep hunting. If not, bring some alcohol drink responsively and make some friends up there, because you will have company in those areas...good times.

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    I have done several fly in hunts up north and have always used Cabelas Guide tents with no problems. The 8-man Guide tent has a lot of room in it and I use a Mr. Buddy heater to knock the chill off if needed.

  18. #18
    Member frosty31's Avatar
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    You will be fine with the spin casters! We hammered the char on spoons....can't remember off the top of my head what we used but will find out. Caught the grayling on the fly rod and by no means am I pretty with it! Also caught them on small spinners with normal rod and reel. Wish I would have shot my caribou sooner so I could have fished more! Also, saw more ptarmigan out of the mountains vrs in them.

  19. #19
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Yea, leave the rod at home. Standard spinning gear works, use vibraxs. For drop hunts I use a travel rod, good way to pass down time.


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  20. #20
    Member frosty31's Avatar
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    Caught on spinning gear! I also used the fly rod to kill time in Happy Valley, we had a couple days due to weather.
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