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Thread: Floating the Kasilof from Tustumena

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    Default Floating the Kasilof from Tustumena

    I have floated the lower section of the Kasilof several times, but I have never floated the upper section from the headwaters at the Tustumena Lake. Does anyone know if that section is floatable in a drift boat? How long it might take to float down to the Sterling Highway Bridge and what the rapids on the river are like? Also, my map shows a campground at the end of Tustumena Rd. Does any body know the name of the campground and whether or not you can launch a boat from there?

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Smile Floating the Kasilof River

    The Kasilof River from Tusumena Lake to the highway is a gental float. The campground and boat launch at the lake are free. At least they were free the last time I used them two years ago. The first mile of the float is really slow and you will be rowing to get to some flowing water. There wasn't any real rapids. The river is no more difficult than the upper Kenai River. I remember the entire float time to be about four or five hours. The hardest part will be finding a parking spot at the bridge. It will be a fun, gental day.

    Dennis

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default kasilof river

    The float from tustemena to the bridge takes only a few hours, you can paddle it in canoes, kayaks or rafts, the water does pick up speed after the mentioned slow start. The kids like this river because it is just about the right amount of paddle for the youngsters. in Kayaks we did it in less than 2 hours. Its a great float, and you will see few people along the way,, very few people do this float,, and I am not sure why.. it is a lot of fun..
    Some years ago, I paddled a canoe from the lake down to Cook inlet in a day,, I could have made good time all along the trip, but I hit the lower river on an incoming tide and had to paddle against the tide the last several miles... I got out on the Kasilof beach at 1 am in the morning..
    I will from now on take my tide book if I plan on going to the inlet.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MVA View Post
    I have floated the lower section of the Kasilof several times, but I have never floated the upper section from the headwaters at the Tustumena Lake. Does anyone know if that section is floatable in a drift boat? How long it might take to float down to the Sterling Highway Bridge and what the rapids on the river are like? Also, my map shows a campground at the end of Tustumena Rd. Does any body know the name of the campground and whether or not you can launch a boat from there?
    yeah its very floatable...i've always called the campground tustumena lake campground...

    unfortunately one of the last free campgrounds on the peninsula...

    there is a nice double launch concrete ramp to put your boat out into the river...go upstream one mile and you hit tustumena lake...

    or float downstream 9 miles and you reach the highway...

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    Default

    reviving this thread in case anyone is interested in current water levels. paddled from the tustumena lake campground to cook inlet on saturday in a tandem sot kayak. left at 8:30 am in a 5/4 wetsuit but stayed dry the whole way (except for my butt). the first couple of miles were very slow, finally hit a couple of class I rapids (and a couple of barely submerged rocks). the upper river was low and empty except for the birds, very quiet and peaceful, ice shelves lining both banks. felt good to be paddling in the sunshine! cruised under the bridge and past a dozen folks with flyrods at crooked creek. last section of the river felt endless, it was dead low tide so the only view for the last few miles was of the muddy banks of the river, huge meanders, very little flow, started to get a bit monotonous as my shoulders started to burn when suddenly a huge flock of cranes (over 100 birds) took off squawking, circled above me in a massive arc and landed again. made it all worthwhile! takeout at kasilof beach (12:30 pm) was fun at lowtide: had to haul the boat across 100 yards of shinsucking mud (at least it was slippery). should have parked on the cohoe side, gravel over there...it was a fun 4 hour trip and a great start to the season.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    Its a great float, and you will see few people along the way,, very few people do this float,, and I am not sure why.. it is a lot of fun..
    You must have hit it on quiet days, because a lot of people do this float. Especially later in the fall.

    Oh and Jim....I've always called the campground just...."Slack water".....lol

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Default

    I floated it Memorial Day last summer at low water. I remember it's a long, long row until you find moving water and there are other sections where the wind will stop your forward progess unless you get on the sticks. It would be more fun at higher summertime flows.

    I hid a bike in the woods at the bridge on the drive in, biked back to the put-in after the float, picked up the truck, and arrived back at the bridge about an hour later....just after my wife had broken everything down and packaged it for loading. Perfect timing on my part. Lol

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    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    i saw some kayakers camped out at the river when I walked out from tustumena lake and said hi last friday.

    here's a short video of taking my packraft down the kasilof from a couple years ago.


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