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Thread: Walker Lake rapids to Kobuk River

  1. #1

    Default Walker Lake rapids to Kobuk River

    Has anyone floated from Walker Lake down to the Kobuk River? If so, was it a long distance to portage around the rapids? Google earth does not look like there is a trail either?

    Also, was the fishing in Walker any good? Supposedly Walker Lake is the only place South of the Brooks that has Char?

    Thank you for any info.
    Brett

  2. #2

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    Aviator, Walker Lake has lake trout...same genes but different fish than char and Dolley varden. The bigger the lake trout the older, so be cautious eating them. Old lake trout store unbelievable levels of heavy metals (namely mercury). I read a study on aging lake trout and it was stated that a 30" laker could be 30 years old.

    As for the rapids, it depends on the season and water level. There are plenty of places to line and portage around the rapids if necessary. You wont see trails on Google Earth, the veg is too thick, but you'll see game trails and foot trails on the sidelines, but rafters usually line around any tricky spots with ease.

  3. #3
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    It is a boulder patch on the outlet of Walker. Plan on the portage...Not sure about your Char statement, are you saying "Arctic Char"? Lake trout & Dolly Varden are both Char. There are many places on the South side of the Brooks that have Char in them. Arctic Char are on the North Coast and East into Canada....

  4. #4
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Arctic char and Dolly Varden are both found north and south of the Brooks Range (as are lake trout). Because Arctic char and Dolly Varden ranges overlap, and because they both have many physical similarities, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between them. Walker Lake has Arctic char, lake trout, grayling and northern pike. It's possible that Dolly Varden are in there too. The Kobuk river has all these and sheefish. If you want to read more about these species, we have writeups on our site AT THIS LINK (haven't gotten to Arctic char and Dolly Varden yet) and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game discusses Alaska fish species AT THIS LINK.

    As a side note, Arctic char are also raised in hatcheries in Alaska, and are routinely stocked even in some Anchorage lakes. I believe these fish are triploids (they cannot reproduce), a common practice with the Department, as they are reluctant to establish breeding populations if there's a chance they could escape into neighboring river / lake systems and establish themselves. You can find the lakes in the Anchorage bowl and on JBER that have Arctic char in them AT THIS LINK. Note that some local lakes have Dolly Varden, and some have Arctic char.

    Another side note that might be of interest: The DVD "This is My Alaska" has some pretty amazing footage of large lake trout being caught in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range. Very large fish, taken back in the day when nobody realized how fragile the lake trout fishery might become. It's a great snapshot from a bygone era. We carry this one in our store, and if you call our office at 1 (907) 895-4919, we can get you on the order list. We should have it turned back on soon.

    I echo what the other guys said about the Kobuk Canyon. I would advise extreme caution with those rapids downstream of Walker Lake, unless you have experience running Class IV whitewater. It can be done, and many have done it. I know Brian Richardson has done it a number of times, so if you want some really good intel on that section, I would call him. His company is Alaska Raft Connection, and you should be able to find him at the number listed on his site. You can portage it, but it's a bit of a bushwhack. Karen Jettmar's "Alaska River Guide" has a writeup on it, as does my book, "Float Hunting Alaska's Wild Rivers". HERE IS A LINK to our Master Rivers List, which shows all print and DVD resources we are aware of for over 500 rivers around the state. Bookmark it for future reference.

    Regards,

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aviator13 View Post
    Has anyone floated from Walker Lake down to the Kobuk River? If so, was it a long distance to portage around the rapids? Google earth does not look like there is a trail either?

    Also, was the fishing in Walker any good? Supposedly Walker Lake is the only place South of the Brooks that has Char?

    Thank you for any info.
    Brett
    The portage is on river left. There's some game/social trails so you shouldn't have a problem picking it up. It's ~1/2 mile and goes over a small hill. I had to carry a pro pioneer and didn't find it too arduous. The rapids looked runnable, but I'm cautious way out back of beyond and prefer to portage. I tried to attached photos of the rapids and the start of the portage, but I'll have to resize my images.

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