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Thread: Kayaking Tustumena and SKilak Lakes

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    Default Kayaking Tustumena and SKilak Lakes

    Hi Everyone,

    My husband and I would like to kayak Tustumena and Skilak lakes this summer. I have kayaked Skilak before, but never been to Tustumena. I have a few questions I can't seem to find answers to anywhere else and I thought perhaps y'all could help me. We plan on driving to both lakes with our boats trailered to the jeep.

    Is there another place to put in with kayaks other than on the Kasilof River? I don't know much about the Kasilof River and I'm trying to determine if we will be able to paddle upstream to the lake from the river launch. Anyone know about how fast the current is flowing around there? I suppose we could always portage.

    thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmitchell View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    My husband and I would like to kayak Tustumena and Skilak lakes this summer. I have kayaked Skilak before, but never been to Tustumena. I have a few questions I can't seem to find answers to anywhere else and I thought perhaps y'all could help me. We plan on driving to both lakes with our boats trailered to the jeep.

    Is there another place to put in with kayaks other than on the Kasilof River? I don't know much about the Kasilof River and I'm trying to determine if we will be able to paddle upstream to the lake from the river launch. Anyone know about how fast the current is flowing around there? I suppose we could always portage.

    thank you!
    Just take Tustumena Lake Rd. up to the end where we call it the "slack water". Very easy for you to paddle up to the lake from there. People do it in canoes all the time....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Yes I have seen a few Kayaks on Tustumena.
    Paddling up from slackwater on the upper Kasilof is really the only way but should be relatively easy.
    Just use caution and be prepared for the weather and water to turn for the worst at a moments notice as winds can pick up rapidly and funnel in off the glacier.
    It is a beautiful area and the refuge has rental cabins there you might consider staying in.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    Yes I have seen a few Kayaks on Tustumena.
    Paddling up from slackwater on the upper Kasilof is really the only way but should be relatively easy.
    Just use caution and be prepared for the weather and water to turn for the worst at a moments notice as winds can pick up rapidly and funnel in off the glacier.
    It is a beautiful area and the refuge has rental cabins there you might consider staying in.

    Thank very much, that is very helpful. Yes, I have heard that Tustumena is a lake to be respected. I plan on staying close to shore and keeping an eye out for white caps close to the glacier. Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

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    Staying close to shore is a good idea, but white caps aren't the only thing you need to watch out for. Bring a shotgun.

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    The paddle up from the campground shouldn't be too bad most of the year.

    Do NOT attempt to cross the lake, don't even try and cross bays, stay close to shore, I mean 50 yards close.

    A very good friend of mine was killed about 5 years ago crossing the small bay near the outlet of the lake.

    Its a really neat place, have fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    The paddle up from the campground shouldn't be too bad most of the year.

    Do NOT attempt to cross the lake, don't even try and cross bays, stay close to shore, I mean 50 yards close.

    A very good friend of mine was killed about 5 years ago crossing the small bay near the outlet of the lake.

    Its a really neat place, have fun!
    Sorry to hear that. Was that the guy with his daughters and their friends? The one girl didn't make it either?
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Sorry to hear that. Was that the guy with his daughters and their friends? The one girl didn't make it either?
    Yeah it was, I didn't know the girl that passed.

    Haven't been back on the lake since that happened, not sure if I'll ever go back up there, too bad it's a neat place!


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    Stay from the lower end of Skilak esp. in afternoons lake is Shallow from Island to West end, waves build and shore line is shallow causing big waves and no way to get to shore safely.

    Tustemena has shallow shore lines also people try to go to shore to late boat hits bottom then wave action cause it to capsize, deeper water is safer if you can handle a boat. Both lakes you need to know what you are doing and take no chances.

    Look how far the logs are thrown up the lake shore to give you an idea of the extreme wave action, both lakes have little distance between the waves when it rough. I stay away from the West shallow end of Skilak and watch the weather. Both lakes can be deadly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Yeah it was, I didn't know the girl that passed.

    Haven't been back on the lake since that happened, not sure if I'll ever go back up there, too bad it's a neat place!


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    Again, so sorry that you lost your friend. I lived in Kasilof for many years so was out on the lake as often as I could. I think you may remember me telling about one of the last times I was out there off Windy Point. I've been on Tusty before when I probably shouldn't have, but that was the worst.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Again, so sorry that you lost your friend. I lived in Kasilof for many years so was out on the lake as often as I could. I think you may remember me telling about one of the last times I was out there off Windy Point. I've been on Tusty before when I probably shouldn't have, but that was the worst.....
    Thanks, he was from Kasilof and spent a lot of time up there, it was shocking.

    The only time I've been in the lake it was beautiful going in and scary coming out, beach my boat twice to pump it out.

    Makes me nervous when people talk about going up their for the first time.


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    I think kayakers will be fine on Tustumena since their craft are so beachable and shallow draft. Stay close to shore- a wind comes up and you go ashore and wait it out. Don't try any long crossings. Be prepared to camp for a day or two. Do lots of traveling in the morning. Should be fine. It is wise to have a healthy respect for that lake, but it has been safely navigated by thousands without loss of life, and folks still do frequently.
    I don't believe Ashley made any mistakes; it was just an unfortunate accident. The amazing thing is that the girls even survived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    I think kayakers will be fine on Tustumena since their craft are so beachable and shallow draft. Stay close to shore- a wind comes up and you go ashore and wait it out. Don't try any long crossings. Be prepared to camp for a day or two. Do lots of traveling in the morning. Should be fine. It is wise to have a healthy respect for that lake, but it has been safely navigated by thousands without loss of life, and folks still do frequently.
    I don't believe Ashley made any mistakes; it was just an unfortunate accident. The amazing thing is that the girls even survived.
    I agree , kayaks are likely much safer than a power boat on that lake when used appropriately.


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    Well... I said that Limon, but I don't go past the island myself! I am scared of that lake, and not just because of the wind, but because I like water I can see through! I take my powered boats up a little past the island and along the northwest shore, but I'm constantly watching the fathometer and watching the water surface. I paddle my kayak up along the southwest shore of the lake, but always within eyeshot of the river mouth. I've never been relaxed on that lake (except when it had a good ice cover for ice fishing). And I figured if I got shore bound, I'd better be prepared for bears.

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