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Thread: Middle Fork Chena River

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    Default Middle Fork Chena River

    So 1st time posting here, and just looking for a little assistance with a moose hunt this year. This will be my 4th trip in the last 5 years to moose hunt in AK. I have been pretty fortuntate that the last few years have worked out perfectly with my work schedule, but as an active duty Marine I will be moving next spring, and this may be my last trip up for a few years. My uncle is retired AF, and lives in Eagle River, and in the previous trips we have hunted in either GMU 13 or 14. This year my dad and another uncle are coming up, and with none of us getting drawn in 13 we have decided to try something a little different this year. Our current plan is to go up the middle fork of the Chena and hunt primarily for moose, but if there are any caribou coming through then possibly go after a bull bou as well.

    Our hunt will start on 1 Sept. We will be using a duck boat with a surface drive motor to get up the river. First and perhaps most important question is will water depth allow us to go up river with that set up? On step the boat can run in just a couple of inches of water, but that doesn't mean we want to miss a large rock sticking up and go all Titanic in the middle of the river.

    Should we go as far E as the Van Curlers landing and the gold mine or is that too far plus too much pressure due to fly in hunters in that area?

    I have been looking at topo maps and imagery trying to get a feel for the terrain around the river. Some of the imagery is from winter so it's difficult to get an idea of vegetation coverage in the area around the river. Is our best bet going to be climbing the adjacent hills and glassing or maybe doing a combo of glassing/calling near the water and some sloughs/oxbows?

    I don't want to steal anyone's secret spots or anything just want to make sure we can get up river safely and don't waster a ton of time going too far up river. I am definitely open to PMs, if anyone wants to discuss some details off of the open forum. Thanks ahead of time for any assistance!
    Last edited by Singleyck; 08-12-2015 at 16:16. Reason: did not complete post first time

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    I'venever been up that river so I'm not giving you firsthand knowledge! I knowpeople take river boats up that river so you should be fine with your boat. BUTI would want to bring a chain saw to help clear any trees that may be in theway. Not sure about pressure but I do think it gets hunted. itís hard to accesswithout a boat or plane (no ATV access and its a pretty swampy hike into thearea) I did know a guy who shot a bull up there a few years ago during the bowonly season ( Sept 20-25 I think). Good Luck! hope you have a great hunt!

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    Thanks AKducks. We are definitely bringing along a chainsaw, and the boat has a winch on it as well. I have heard that a lot of the pressure is farther up because people can get flown into a gravel bar, and hunt on foot from there or float downstream. Thanks again for the information every little bit helps. You know more about it than do right now the AL gulf coast is a long way from the Chena River!

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    I just flew over a section of the middle fork, up the middle fork a little ways on a training flight for the Army out of wainwright and didnt see too much blocking the river. The depth didnt seem too bad, and it looked like the only obstacles would be gravel bars and maybe a couple log jams blocking part of the river. The furthest I went up the river almost due north of eilson. River looked good from what I saw, and there are a ton of ponds and marshes in the lowlands surrounding the river. I did see a cow up there, but then again my crew wasnt looking that hard and we were only 100 feet off the trees, so we couldnt see a lot of ground. With the terrain up there, and all the water/marsh surrounding the river, I would think it would be a decent place to hunt if you didnt limit yourself to just the river, but got out and hiked around.

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    Thanks Dan PM sent.

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    Just wanted to bump this to the top just in case anyone has any info on the current water levels of the middle fork.

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    It's not a secret spot anymore. Air boaters association combined forces about 6 or 7 years ago and cleared that 1/2-mile log jam near the confluence with the main chena, so all kinds of motorboat access has been facilitated.

    Success rates are about 25% overall in that area, sue primarily to the volume of large parties going in by boat and air.

    The river gets skinny and shallow near Van Curlers bar, and upstream of there is hunted pretty hard by supercub service. The best hunting is the lower 15 miles where the swamps and ponds become more prevalent, and the upper 40 miles is better for ridgeline bulls crossing randomly from ridge to ridge.

    I would go as late as possible in the season and hunt very slowly...and hope you get a new bull crossing the area, because anything shootable will have been downed by the 15th.

    larry

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    The last time I went up the Middle Fork was in 2005, and we were there 10 days through the end of the hunting season. A buddy and I lined canoes a few miles up river, as we had annually, to a favorite camp site. The parade of airboats up and down the river was continuous. The hunting that year was poor, but the weather and fishing were very good.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    Water is expected to rise rapidly to flood levels in the coming days.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

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    Thanks for the info everyone. We definitely won't be going too far up the river so hopefully we avoid most of the Van Curlers and supercub crowd. No changes to our dates at this point due to flights up to AK, but hopefully by hunting during the week we avoid a good bit of the other traffic. Thanks again, and I will let you guys know how we do.

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    Be careful on the Chena right now. The river runs right behind my house and it is sitting a couple feet high. I expect if we keep having this rainy weather, the upper river could get interesting.

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    I imagine right now you would be able to get a prop up that river quite a ways! Give it a couple days and you'll be stuck though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDan View Post
    Be careful on the Chena right now. The river runs right behind my house and it is sitting a couple feet high. I expect if we keep having this rainy weather, the upper river could get interesting.
    The Chena upriver of the dam had a flood advisory yesterday and the gates were down to regulate flow downstream. Given the weather, one could assume the Middle Fork is very high if not flooding right now too.
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    After the wet summer last year, there was water in places I had never seen water up there last moose season. If I had to guess, I would say the ground water levels remained high through this spring & summer after break up and that the rain over the past month has probably not had the opportunity to soak in much with the ground water levels already being high. I know that at the beginning of July the spot that I normally take out was under about 3' of water. That was before our wet August.
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