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Thread: Deshka to Swkentna?

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    Member FishAk123's Avatar
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    Default Deshka to Swkentna?

    About to get a new boat 21' 200 hp inboard jet and am looking at some property up the yentna a little past skwentna. Was wondering approximately how long it would take to get there from deshka landing and how many river miles it is. What's the water like down there as I haven't been down past the deshka it self.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Not sure about river miles off the top of my head but it is a good run. The river is hit or miss on water conditions.
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    I would not want to invest in a property on that river if my transportation was reliant on a 21' inboard jet boat. That river is too often too skinny for such a boat, in fact, I think it a rarity that one could get such a boat up that river without risking far too much, be it damage to the boat, or life and limb.

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    Not sure on the miles myself but in an 18 foot boat with a 65hp jet loaded with enough gear gas and food for a week long hunting trip it took my dad and I about 3 hours to get to just below the mouth of the Skwentna the last time we did it. Definetly can be hit and miss on the water levels too though. I'ld imagine with a 200 and not packing a ton of gear could be a lot quicker run.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishAk123 View Post
    About to get a new boat 21' 200 hp inboard jet and am looking at some property up the yentna a little past skwentna. Was wondering approximately how long it would take to get there from deshka landing and how many river miles it is. What's the water like down there as I haven't been down past the deshka it self.
    Not sure about the actual miles, but in my 18 ft SeaArk, with an 80HP yamaha jet, 3 men 40 gallons of gas, and our gear/grub for a weeks stay, I can make it from the Deshka Landing to the mouth of the Skwentna in 4 hours. (provided I don't hit that skinny spot at the confluence of the Kahiltna.)

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    Member FishAk123's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input guys!

    338WM, what type of boat would you recommend to get up there safely?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishAk123 View Post
    Thanks for all the input guys!

    338WM, what type of boat would you recommend to get up there safely?
    Airboat is the only reliable method.

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    Anybody that is a reasonable jet boat captain can run up there with no issues.....seriously!
    BK

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Airboat is the only reliable method.
    Quote Originally Posted by FishAk123 View Post
    Thanks for all the input guys!

    338WM, what type of boat would you recommend to get up there safely?
    A jon boat with an outboard jet, or as stated by Limon, an air boat. I have been on that river enough to know that a big heavy inboard will, at most times, only get you a couple miles up river from the mouth. The next concern is the amount of traffic, with such a small river and a large HEAVY boat, if you meet oncoming traffic, you have little to no options in terms of avoidance or slowing, to let another boat pass without bottoming out, pumping gravel, getting stuck, or godforbid, colliding.

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    I do know some people having limited success with 20' Jon boats and surface drive motors.

    But the still don't go up at low water levels and it seems the ground one every trip.


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    seriosly guys?
    a 21' inboard jet is going to be one heck of a lot more comfortable than any skiff, in fact once you are running one you will never want to get back in a skiff again. i have run the river many times, though i do not personally have a river boat now, I do personally know at least ten individualy with cabins above and up the Skwentna and they all run inboards, several of the LARGE inboards in the 26' range.
    there are going to be times that the water will be low enough that you wont be able to run the scary tree short cut and have to go down to the mouth of the Yentna. Once you learn the braids above Moose creek and the couple of other skinny spots, you should have no problem at all.
    if Eric Johnson can run his barge "mamouth" which is 30 some feet long with 4 - 250 yammy props most of the season, dont think you will have an issue with the inboard.
    good luck on the boat purchase.
    you will probably have as much fun going up there in the winter as youo will in the summer, and for building your cabin, it is much easier (cheaper) hauling freight in the winter than in a boat or barging it in during the summer.

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    Although Inboards with a cabin are nice for staying out of the weather, If you live here on the Susitna as I do, I prefer my 24" River runner with a ramp and 2 props so I can haul supplies to the homestead. Saves a lot on fuel and when you live out here the less fuel you have to haul the better. I could put a roof over my head but for some reason being in the elements running the river feels good to me.

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    My experience of making that run several times a year spring through fall with a 18 foot Smokercraft Alaskan / 200 hp OB jet loaded to max has
    never a problem. Generally takes us 2.5 hours, (or less), to the Skwenta / Yentna. That is with stopping for a couple stretch breaks.

    Never had any problems getting stuck. Just have to stay in the channels and know how to read the water a bit.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I don't know exactly how many Big Barges with 2 to 4 big 250 HP outboards pushing them, run out of the Deshka landing anymore. and then like Pole Bender stated, there is that big 30ft Mammoth.. all of them running up to and above the Skwentna, through out most of the Summer and up into Sept and sometimes Oct before the water gets too skinny for them to run. My advice to someone buying a new boat and not too familiar with the Big Su and the Yentna should follow a couple of those barges to learn the channels they use. Lots of old timers ran those rivers with outboard/props before Jets started showing up in this part of the world in the mid 70's. In fact, access to the Big Su was via Willow Creek. Now that was a fun ride, jumping log jams and dodging airboats. The lady that owned that campground, used to charge $1 to Launch and park. Or you could always cross Upper Cook Inlet and hit the mouth of the Big Su and running up to Alexander or the Yentna or the Deshka..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    Lots of old timers ran those rivers with outboard/props before Jets started showing up in this part of the world in the mid 70's. ..
    I love it when the standard for if a river is runnable is “Lots of old timers did it”. You can't compare the 50 years experience that a old timer has to a guy that just bought a boat that he will be running at 50mph. You guys are so funny.

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    The old timers can read the river, that show they can get that big barge up that far. I made my first trip up to Skwentna last summer with some one that can read the water and didn't get stuck.
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    I have been running up past Skwentna the last few summers in a 21' North River Commander haven't had any problems. I am still learning the river but down stream of Lake Creek can get a little dicey for me. I might try to fly over the area this summer and try to find a better route through there than what I typically take. It is close to 65 river miles and takes me a little under 2.5 hours to get to the mouth of Skwentna from the Deshka Landing.

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    Member jkb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    A jon boat with an outboard jet, or as stated by Limon, an air boat. I have been on that river enough to know that a big heavy inboard will, at most times, only get you a couple miles up river from the mouth. The next concern is the amount of traffic, with such a small river and a large HEAVY boat, if you meet oncoming traffic, you have little to no options in terms of avoidance or slowing, to let another boat pass without bottoming out, pumping gravel, getting stuck, or godforbid, colliding.
    I read the opening post and it said "on the Yetna" seems if you are this afraid of the Yetna above Swentna you should stick to airboats.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Another thing I think people are missing is that he said he's getting a 21' 200HP inboard jet. Hmmm Lets see, Sounds like a sportjet to me. Could it be an XJS, Sportjon, Extreme Shallow or one the few others that are that configuration? I'm sure any one of those boats will make it just about anywhere with a bit of water no how.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I love it when the standard for if a river is runnable is “Lots of old timers did it”. You can't compare the 50 years experience that a old timer has to a guy that just bought a boat that he will be running at 50mph. You guys are so funny.
    Yes you can when talking depth of water. An OB with prop requires a few more inches than anything with a jet.

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