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Thread: River Running

  1. #1

    Default River Running

    How hard is it to ride on a river? I have never done it before and was wonder is there any books or guides that can teach ya?
    What do you recommend prop or jet?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default

    To run most of the rivers in Ak you really need a jet but you should first determine where you spend most of your time. If the Kenai is the only place you will go than a prop will work just check the regs because you must have a 35hp or less. A jet unit is Ideal for just about every other river around, it might take some getting used to but once you learn how to read the rivers that it is a lot of fun. You should take someone with you who is familar with the river if you plan on going to new water (at least until you get an eye for the water) and if you buy used have the motor checked out top to bottom. Good Luck

  3. #3
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Best teacher...

    is experience. If you get a jet boat, run it on the lakes until you are comfortable with how it handles. Then, move up to an easy river like the Knik or Big Su even. After you have experience with moving water then progressively get more technical. Before you know it you will be running the shallow water like a pro.

    Running jets is not particularly hard, main thing to remember - You have NO steering unless you are under power! You can crank the engine as hard as you want to either side at an idle and the boat will keep going straight. Give it some throttle if you want to turn.

    A prop will really limit what rivers you can run around here. I'd go with a jet.
    AKmud
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  4. #4
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Running rivers is an entirely unique discipline of boating IMO. While there are constants with regards to flow dynamics, rivers, by their nature change constantly. In AK many of the rivers are glacial which means fast currents, heavy silt, loads of debris, continuously shifting sand and gravel bars and very, very cold water. Of the constants here are a few: On all rivers your boat is more responsive running upstream than down which drives the rule that boats running downriver have the right of way; The water is deepest at the outside of the bend; Small, tight surface chop means shallow water; NEVER EVER anchor anywhere but the bow on a river.

    Personally, I love exploring rivers--they're a great way to see new country.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the sound advice

  6. #6

    Default

    Yaggle;

    I'm in the same boat as you, literally and figuratively. I also have a Hewes River Runner and am looking to start exploring the rivers. I've been operating almost exclusively in Skilak Lake, which makes my trips very weather dependent. Any significant chop is really uncomfortable with the shallow vee. Deshka Landing seems like an obvious place to start, although I'd like to find someplace less crowded and without a fee. I'm considering putting side guides on my trailer as it is difficult to recover the boat from a flowing current without them. If you find a good river for someone just cutting their teeth, please let me know.

    Mayonaze

  7. #7
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Cutting teeth....

    Knik river is the place. No fee, slow (yet shallow in many places), and a nice sandy bottom for the most part so you won't destroy your boat if you do misjudge the water. Just launch at the Glenn Hwy bridge (If coming from Anchorage take the Knik river access exit, go under the hwy, and back to the river). When you launch, I'd recommend doing it downstream a ways from the bridge. Right up next to the bridge is a serious drop off about 3' into the water. I thought I lost my trailer the first time I did it there. Downstream 50-100' is a much more gentle slope.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK
    The water is deepest at the outside of the bend

    Don't bet on this. I can show you places out here where the deep water is on the inside of the bend.

    Jets are like 4 wheel drive. 2 wheel drive will get you stuck, 4 wheel drive will get you stucker.

  9. #9

    Default

    I have my safety course this next month. But to get a jump on it running a river is just like running the road but with your car? meaning you stay to the right all the time or do you cross from side to side?

  10. #10
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Yup...

    Stay to the right, boats coming down stream have the right of way, non-motorized boats have the right of way, and always be ready to put it in the bushes when someone who doesn't understand the rules comes blazing around the corner on your side!
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  11. #11
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayonaze
    Yaggle;

    I'm in the same boat as you, literally and figuratively. I also have a Hewes River Runner and am looking to start exploring the rivers. I've been operating almost exclusively in Skilak Lake, which makes my trips very weather dependent. Any significant chop is really uncomfortable with the shallow vee. Deshka Landing seems like an obvious place to start, although I'd like to find someplace less crowded and without a fee. I'm considering putting side guides on my trailer as it is difficult to recover the boat from a flowing current without them. If you find a good river for someone just cutting their teeth, please let me know.

    Mayonaze
    I ran Knik as my first "virgin" area. It was a decent place to break in my motor and learn a few basics.

    There is a creek at Big Lake that is awesome for learning cornering etc... It has grass banks, many turns, low brush and is fun as heck. You can also practice your cornering by doing boxes etc in the lake.

    Side guides help. I have the short ones that protect the fender. They work well. Also you can park with your trailer pointed downstream to lessen the effect of the current. This is really helpful at the Little Su. Just jack knife the trailer downstream as soon as it touches water.

    You will get stuck!!! Be ready with waders for all to lighten up the boat and push it off. If really high you may need a come-a-long and an anchor system or even a parachute.

    I was on Lake Louise and it was rough. Worth it, but at times 10 MPH was fast enough.

    Remember "When in Doubt, Power Out".

    Mike

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