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Thread: JetBoating to Nowitna River

  1. #1

    Default JetBoating to Nowitna River

    Hey All. Im in the planning stages for a trip to the Nowitna river down the Yukon. Im looking for any advice you can offer. How long has it taken you to make the trip, what boat setup did you use, how much gas should one bring, what extras did you bring, etc. Any help and/or advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
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    What kind on jet boat? Inboard v8, sport jet, outboard (hp?). Where are you leaving from? The new landing just up from Tanana or the bridge? This a summer fishing trip or fall hunting?

  3. #3

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    The boat is Wooldridge 20ft Alaskan XL with 200 Etec HO hanging off the back. We will be leaving from the Yukon bridge and it will be a June fishing trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by ykrvak View Post
    What kind on jet boat? Inboard v8, sport jet, outboard (hp?). Where are you leaving from? The new landing just up from Tanana or the bridge? This a summer fishing trip or fall hunting?

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    It’s basically 192 miles from the bridge to the Novi. I’m going to assume a fuel burn of about 12-14 gallons per hour with that setup unless you’ve got a really heavy foot, and a speed of about 30-35 going down river. So, I’d figure on an actual burn of around 85 gallons to the Novi coming down. Personally, I’d leave the bridge with 2 30 gallon drums in the boat and the 50 under the floor just for the trip down. Then make sure to have enough additional for your running around on the Novi and getting back to Tanana or down to ruby to top up. It’s basically 45 from the Novi to Ruby and 75 from the Novi back to Tanana. Ive made the trip a bunch of times, and I’m never disappointed to get back to my house or the bridge with an extra 20 gallons sloshing around in a drum.

    Remember to top top up at Tanana on the way down. Never hurts to have the extra and itll let you leave the bridge lighter.
    Last edited by ykrvak; 01-19-2018 at 21:20. Reason: Additional info

  5. #5
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    Fuel is your friend. You can't use the fuel you left behind. Everything hinges on fuel.

    Holy guacamole that is a long ass ways to go for a fishing trip. It is a long ways to go for an anything trip.

    I give this advice to everybody. POLISH the fuel you buy from the bush. Meaning, double or triple Racor filter it (not a Mr. Funnel) before it gets to your tank and add some octane. We set up a system with a fuel pump and a filter using a 12v plug. You can transfer fuel on the go much easier and can see if you got water our gunk in your fuel if you drain the filter after a couple barrels of bush gas. In a pinch, you could set up a double filter system before your motor, but you will be putting gunk into your tank.

    We stop off in Tanana and buy as much fuel as we can safely haul down to the Nowitna. It is very temping to load the boat to the gills at the bridge. I say every year I am not going to do it and have done it every time. Try not to. Your set up should get you down from the bridge to Tanana with 80 gallons. Obviously, have more in your boat. Like 120 or so. Show up in Tanana with your tank already full from fueling on the go. Fill the rest of your barrels and marvel at how you got on step. There is a secret time that Tanana commercial will let you fill up without charging extra. Call them for the times they are open. If they are not open, you can go upstairs and knock and they will come down to open up the pumps and get you gas, but it is extra. Pay in cash, small bills and rolls of quarters if you have some. They never have enough of that stuff out there. Don't drink in the village. It is not illegal, but a sure way to find some trouble.

    You will be coming back about 15% slower than when you went down. Plan on 15-20% more gas on the way up. Also, the wind can super suck on the way back up really slowing you down. So. 80 gallons to Tanana, maybe 35 to the Nowitna. Decide how much you are going to goof around there. You can go 100 miles up river if you want. 45 gallons for the trip back to Tanana. By then you will REALLY know your burn rate and can decide how much you need to get back up river. That is a FAT estimate. If you are stupid heavy I bet you can still do that easy.

    Wooldridge has some load testing numbers for that boat. I wonder how you match up to them. Good place to start for estimating fuel use comparative to your laden weight

  6. #6

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    Thank you both for he information. Filtering fuel seems to be the number one thing. Time to put my Macgyver skills to work and make a quality pump/filter system.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    Fuel is your friend. You can't use the fuel you left behind. Everything hinges on fuel.

    Holy guacamole that is a long ass ways to go for a fishing trip. It is a long ways to go for an anything trip.

    I give this advice to everybody. POLISH the fuel you buy from the bush. Meaning, double or triple Racor filter it (not a Mr. Funnel) before it gets to your tank and add some octane. We set up a system with a fuel pump and a filter using a 12v plug. You can transfer fuel on the go much easier and can see if you got water our gunk in your fuel if you drain the filter after a couple barrels of bush gas. In a pinch, you could set up a double filter system before your motor, but you will be putting gunk into your tank.

    We stop off in Tanana and buy as much fuel as we can safely haul down to the Nowitna. It is very temping to load the boat to the gills at the bridge. I say every year I am not going to do it and have done it every time. Try not to. Your set up should get you down from the bridge to Tanana with 80 gallons. Obviously, have more in your boat. Like 120 or so. Show up in Tanana with your tank already full from fueling on the go. Fill the rest of your barrels and marvel at how you got on step. There is a secret time that Tanana commercial will let you fill up without charging extra. Call them for the times they are open. If they are not open, you can go upstairs and knock and they will come down to open up the pumps and get you gas, but it is extra. Pay in cash, small bills and rolls of quarters if you have some. They never have enough of that stuff out there. Don't drink in the village. It is not illegal, but a sure way to find some trouble.

    You will be coming back about 15% slower than when you went down. Plan on 15-20% more gas on the way up. Also, the wind can super suck on the way back up really slowing you down. So. 80 gallons to Tanana, maybe 35 to the Nowitna. Decide how much you are going to goof around there. You can go 100 miles up river if you want. 45 gallons for the trip back to Tanana. By then you will REALLY know your burn rate and can decide how much you need to get back up river. That is a FAT estimate. If you are stupid heavy I bet you can still do that easy.

    Wooldridge has some load testing numbers for that boat. I wonder how you match up to them. Good place to start for estimating fuel use comparative to your laden weight
    Everything you say is spot on, especially about the wind! Brings back fond memories of being dumber and younger. We would put in at Manley and do the 'Squaw Crossing Challenge.'

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    I have not braved the Tanana yet. I have always gone the long way to the Nowitna. I would love to knock off a bunch of driving and put in at Nenana. It is a much longer boat ride and not nearly as easy of a run so I hear. I am pretty sure most of the river would be fine. Down near the mouth is where I worry. Maybe one year I will take a "quick" summer trip from Nenana to Tanana just to see how it goes. We are always overly heavy with our boats during hunting season, and one is a 24ft inboard. We always opt for the safe and easy route from the bridge instead.

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    It's a relatively easy run. I have done it quite a few times but loaded and going hunting. If I was running with just fuel and some fishing and camping gear I could make that run easy. I have actually debated on it myself to be honest on a fishing trip. I am running a 22ft Seaark with a Yamaha 150 on the back and jet. I have also done it with prop and you save a lot on fuel and can run faster if you can go that route. Either way I burn around 11 GPH and it's 4 - 5 hours to Tanana and another 3 down to the Nowitna if I am figuring right. I know I can run the bridge to Galena in 10 hours and that is another 90 miles roughly down stream. Fuel up in Tanana and if you want to burn up your fuel on the Nowitna its a quick run to Ruby for more fuel if you need it for the run back up. Good luck and PM me if you have any questions. It's all big water and easy to navigate accept in front of Tanana. You need to know that channel there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 375ultramag View Post
    It's a relatively easy run. I have done it quite a few times but loaded and going hunting. If I was running with just fuel and some fishing and camping gear I could make that run easy. I have actually debated on it myself to be honest on a fishing trip. I am running a 22ft Seaark with a Yamaha 150 on the back and jet. I have also done it with prop and you save a lot on fuel and can run faster if you can go that route. Either way I burn around 11 GPH and it's 4 - 5 hours to Tanana and another 3 down to the Nowitna if I am figuring right. I know I can run the bridge to Galena in 10 hours and that is another 90 miles roughly down stream. Fuel up in Tanana and if you want to burn up your fuel on the Nowitna its a quick run to Ruby for more fuel if you need it for the run back up. Good luck and PM me if you have any questions. It's all big water and easy to navigate accept in front of Tanana. You need to know that channel there.
    Thanks for this info. I am kinda in same boat as OP, looking to plan a trip out that way. Three questions:
    1. How much fuel did you leave Tanana with?
    2. How far up Nowitna did you go?
    3. Any advice for the channel in front of Tanana?

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by a2thak View Post
    Thanks for this info. I am kinda in same boat as OP, looking to plan a trip out that way. Three questions:
    1. How much fuel did you leave Tanana with?
    2. How far up Nowitna did you go?
    3. Any advice for the channel in front of Tanana?
    I left Tanana with 100 gals., went up the Novi as far as I could go (can't remember the name of the fork where it gets rather shallow) and all the way back to Manley with about 20 gals. left. This was in an open 21' set-net skiff. Sometimes the crossing is marked, sometimes not but that was twenty or more years ago. I don't think one is advised to try and BLAST through the crossing as you might spend a day or so kedging off shallows. I even had to do that once on the upper part of the Novi. I had a transom jack and that got me into trouble more than once. I have more than several stories about seeing big-hog jets getting rather dry on the Tanana. One time, from camp, just below the Zitziana we watch some poor *******s spend a day packing everything to the beach and busting ass to get off after cutting wrong on a bend. Water level is HUGE, pay attention to that as you being new. One time, the locals told us the crossing was nearly impossible for water level. Call the Manley Road House and they will tell you what the T is doing. I would give you the number of Al Hagen in Manley but alas, he paddled over the bar. He was our guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by a2thak View Post
    Thanks for this info. I am kinda in same boat as OP, looking to plan a trip out that way. Three questions:
    1. How much fuel did you leave Tanana with?
    2. How far up Nowitna did you go?
    3. Any advice for the channel in front of Tanana?
    What? What kind of fuel?

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    I believe I left the bridge with 158 gallons. I had 58 gallons on the boat and then drums to get my total. We are always loaded way too heavy though on a hunt really. If I was going on a fishing expedition I would figure out my fuel burn and I would add 25% and that's all I would haul to Tanana so I could run faster down the river. We are always going for a couple weeks below Tanana so I usually haul around 250 gallons and stash fuel in spots. We have ran I'd say 40 miles or so up the Nowitna.

    The channel in front of Tanana going down river we always go FAR left like right off the bank by the islands. The newer GPS we used 2 years ago showed that as the channel as well but it worked and we didn't hit any shallow spots. That is how I have ran it the last 7 or 8 times ad haven't had an issue.

    Back to fuel I am all about spending money in Tanana on fuel versus hauling a ton. I prefer to go fast and work the boat less with less weight on board.
    Quote Originally Posted by a2thak View Post
    Thanks for this info. I am kinda in same boat as OP, looking to plan a trip out that way. Three questions:
    1. How much fuel did you leave Tanana with?
    2. How far up Nowitna did you go?
    3. Any advice for the channel in front of Tanana?

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