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Thread: Travel time from Skwenta area to Big Su confluence?

  1. #1
    Member 7mmstalker's Avatar
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    Default Travel time from Skwenta area to Big Su confluence?

    My son and I are putting some ideas together for a hunting/fishing trip on the Yentna river this fall. Although I have some time in a cataraft on rivers and creeks , and canoe in lakes, this is quite a bit longer trip than we are experienced with. The average distance for a day on a river will be very different from place to place and, maybe even one day to the next. Seems like the low snowfall of this winter will lower the flow of the rivers some, but I can only guess.

    Considering all of the variables, maybe some of the guys on this forum familiar with the area could offer an educated guess for time required.
    Thinking that we will go sometime after Sept. 15
    We will be renting a Pro Pioneer and chartering an air taxi to drop off a few miles up the Yentna around Donkey creek. Spend a few days there, try to find Bullwinkle, and hopefully have some time left to enjoy some fishing stops on the way down.
    The first choice for take-out would be to float down to the Big Su and get a power boat ride up to Deshka Landing. I really have no idea how to estimate the time needed to cover a that many river miles! Of course the hunting and fishing time is flexible, but I don't want to cut the time in the field. I don't feel very confident that we would find a bull conveniently waiting for us along the river bank on the way down.
    He is still in school and I need to know we will have enough time to have our fun and still scoot down the river to get back to town by Sunday night!
    Am I crazy to think that this could be done in a week - 7 days?
    The second choice would probably be to beach our gear and hump it up to the airstrip at Skwenta. That doesn't sound like fun at all! The river float would also be cut really short.
    We have plenty of time to figure it out, already own all of the gear we will need, other than a good sized raft or airplane.
    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Back in the 70's, I lost the lower unit on my 35HP Merc (on a 16 ft Monark). 3 men, all our gear and a 36" moose, it took us 4+ hours to drift from Donkey Slough to Lake Ck lodge. I have no estimate how much further we drifted that day, but We camped somewhere below the Big Bend that night. It took all of the next day to drift from that camp, down to the mouth of the Big Su. I remember we had a little wait at the Power line for the Tide to start coming back in and then some friends towed us across to Anchorage. Provided there's going to be any water in the Yentna next Sept, you should be able to drift from Donkey Slough down to the lodges at Lake Creek, or the Yentna Station for a pickup in one day. 2 days you should be able to drift to the mouth of the Yentna..

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    You could shorten the trip considerably by taking out via floatplane at Riversong Bar, just across from the mouth of Lake Creek. Used to be easy floatplane access there, from Lake Hood. It would increase your hunt time substantially. Though you could find moose below Lake Creek, there's a lot of powerboat activity in that area, so you would have competition to be sure. Something to consider, anyway.

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  4. #4
    Member 7mmstalker's Avatar
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    That's good info. thanks for the response guys.
    My boy got lucky and drew a tag for all of 16B west of the Kahiltna.
    I expect the river will be have a lot of bears and hunters, though we may tag one - (bear)-, I am hoping to avoid them both! The plan is to focus our time as far upriver as reasonable. Expecting to see people up there, but maybe less than further south. The lower half of 16B has 150 any bull permits out there, so we won't be competing with one large group of hunters.
    Not sure if there is any way to limit bears in our area, so we will plan accordingly.
    Most of our hunting has been on foot, from river or road, packing in a small camp, and packing out caribou, deer, sheep and goat a couple of times. Using charter service is the only way to do this one, so planning this trip is somewhat new territory. Did a couple of short raft trips on the big Su and Montana creek, but they were road access, and almost 20 years ago! Chartered a small floatplane back then as well, but a very short trip across Kachemack bay from Homer.
    If he fills his moose tag, and either of us put a bear in the boat, the haul-out by airplane would bust our budget. The transport costs seem reasonable, but a moose moves us up to a whole different level.
    A buddy has an 18ft skiff that would be useful, but it has a prop, neither of us trust that I could get that far upriver. I have a lot of time running that boat, but not so much over low water, and he is on the sidelines, not likely to be able to come along.
    The "payoff" for a nice week on the river with my son, in the foothills of the mountains is well worth it. On the other hand, I have been happily married for 25+ years, my wife hunts and fishes with us, but her involvement this time is limited to advisor.
    That can be a delicate situation!

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