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Thread: upper mulchatna vs. chili

  1. #1
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    Question upper mulchatna vs. chili

    i am planning a trip for the first of july, 17 days on the mul starting with either the chili or upper mulchatna and ending at the koktuli. we are experienced rafters (previous trips to the tal x 2, lake creek, alagnak,kanektok ect. all trips lasting 10 days or more). i'm looking for info on what river is the best, or primary goal is rainbows. we dont care about how much work it is we have plenty of time and we are well equiped. if there is a difference in the fishing either because of numbers or pressure we would like to know.
    thanks
    fighting fires and fish

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    When I floated it, we started at Twin lakes, went down the Chilikodrotna (sp?) and then down the Mulchatna. An 8 day trip and we finally got picked up along the Mulchatna. I don't remember how many miles we covered. It was a beautiful trip, lots of animals and huge grayling/rainbows. Floating through the middle of 350+ caribou was awesome and one of the rainbows we kept for dinner one night had a baby muskrat in it's belly!
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    The chilikadrotna is much smaller (widthwise) than most of the Mulchatna, which will be rather large towards the end of your float. Neither is known for "Huge" rainbows but the mulchatna will have many many fish in the 15 to 20 inch range and up to 24 once in awhile, the chili will have nearly as many but smaller fish. If you've floated the Alagnak and Kanektok, you will have to lower your idea of large for both of these rivers. Both have plenty of rainbows, grayling, a few dollies (more in August) good camping, low to medium pressure. IF this was your first trip to Bristol Bay I'd suggest other rivers, but since you have seen a few others, these rivers offer very rewarding floats, lotsa fish, lotsa wildlife, nice scenery, lotsa quiet water. IF going in early July, you will see few if any salmon up there and thus look for the rainbows in more classic waters, (cutbanks, woody debris, deeper holes, riffle-pool seams) but don't expect to be catching them on open flats like you would behind salmon in August. That said, nearly anything will work at that time of year, fleshflies, muddlers, leeches, etc. but don't discount beads, they know what eggs are and despite small braincases...their memories last at least a year Bring some dry flies too, for grayling and even some rainbows depending on the hatch. That time of year these fish are looking for anything in expectation of the glut of salmon based food soon to come. Nymphs work well too SO, no. 10-12-14 brassies, copper johns, and black stones are very effective for all, but especially for the grayling if they aren't rising. Not sure about that baby muskrat thing, as muskrats are pretty rare out in this area, but either way, mouse patterns are always a fun way to try, and on the right waters, are downright deadly. IN conclusion, don't expect lots of big fish pictures on these rivers, but DO expect lots of fish, quiet camping and a very rewarding and truly Alaskan experience. Have a great time and pm me if you want any more information.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    We floated it in the late '80s and never saw another person during the 8 days. I hear it is getting quite a bit of pressure these days though. The rainbow we found the muskrat (positive ID) in was just over 26" and weighed in around 6-8#'s (no scale). It did come from a small creek mouth running into the Mulchatna. Also, that trip was the one and only time I have seen a wolverine in the wild. He was loping along the riverbank about 50 yards in front of us. Beautiful creatures.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    thanks for the info, we also heard the mul has some difficult sections,sweepers, log jams, ect. any truth?

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    nearly any river out here is gonna have some sections that are gonna require some good rowing to avoid sweepers, but this changes nearly every year as to how much and how bad. The upper stretches of each have a chance to be plugged with timber but these will be few and most require a short portage or maybe just a short drag to get around the offending logs. From my knowledge, neither one is choked or a real pain in the butt. If you have done some floating (which you have), you should have no major problems.

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    We only hit one bank to bank sweeper (a 2' diameter spruce about 1' off the water)that sucked one of our boats under. Two guys jumped up onto the spruce and my dad (the captain of the ship) went down with it. The boat didn't capsize, but 90% of the gear in that boat went floating down the stream. We spent the next 4 days finding canned goods with no label and picking up misc. gear along the way. Just be careful about new channels with lots of water....It looked like the best channel to take to us, but it was very new and got really ugly quickly.

    We also put the other boat into a sweeper that slit one chamber about 6". No big deal, a patch job and we were back under way.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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