Gulkana River Mid June
I am planning on floating the upper Gulkana during the middle of June (2-3 week.) Does anyone have experience with the river that time of year. I am wondering if the river will be clear, or if there may still be run-off issues. I floated it the first week of July a few years ago and it was fine.
We know that we will be early for the salmon, but we are looking for a more peaceful time on the river, and that time works well with our schedule. Any comments or resources on river flows and clarity would be appreciated. We could move our float to late July if we have to, but we already have the time off in June. Any suggestions?
Also, where have you experienced the best grayling / trout fishing? We found it best in the middle fork above and below the canyon. After that it seemed to taper off and not much was going on below the west fork.
Thanks for your help. (Send me a PM if you want)
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Water will be fine concerning how Clear it will be. IMO no distinct run off issues for the most part. Depending on the weather i.e. flood stage is the only time I have seen the water off color from the Middle Fork Down and there was still fishing to be had just not the normal every three to four cast you get with the Grayling up there during normal water levels.
You will find Salmon fishing even the thrid week of June they will not be stacked however fish will be moving into the lower upper river with fishable numbers mostly Kings. 2nd week of June and your pushing it some for Ice Out. Last year was a very odd year however you have limited water coming out Paxon and the other lakes that support the Middle and East Forks.
Fishing for Bows has been improving over the past several years below the falls. Problem is most people tend to float over some very productive fishing to make time after running the Canyon once they put the thrid day behind them. Fish Deep in all the obvious places and you will be rewarded. IMO the fihsing only improves on the lower upper river i.e. 6 miles above the forks as the 2nd run of Reds enters that section August / Sept time frame.
Enjoy your trip.
Is there an outfit that will shuttle your car from Paxon to the take out? I had heard there was an outfit doing that several years ago.
Sourdough Lodge & BMR
There were and more than likley is three the main two being Sourdough Lodge Todd is great guy and does a great job I do not believe SDL is current in state however they might be. We also accomplish the task if we have pending trips and normally we have pending trips after the 15th of June.
What we do is bring a truck and trailer load your gear and boat at Sourdough leave your car and accomplish a drop service.
I believe tod takes our spare keys and goes and spots after the fact.
I have run the Gulkana many times over the years from early June through freeze up. The Gulkana is very run able by week 2 in June and many times earlier than that depending on breakup. It will be swift and clear but as was said by Blue Moose no secrets on fishing. I have always found that the grayling and rainbow is great fron the rapids below the falls up to Paxon and tapers off the farther down river you go. The section just above the Middle Fork is/has been very productive for Trout and good king fishing early on. I find the fly-fishing to be fantastic in that section near any cut bank. Go slow except for the ox-bows, in that section just hammer the oars!
Have a great trip!
Northwest Alaska Backcountry Rentals
Your best bet in Rafts and camp rentals
33 miles north of the Arctic Circle
Thanks for all the advice and tips. I will check back here and re-read it all when the trip gets closer. It sure helps with the cabin feever to think about summer and plan trips.
I'm looking foward to some great top-water fishing and relaxing along the river.
Can you say.............BUGS!!!! Bring a headnet and lots of bug spray, once you put the headnet on you might not take it off until your trip is over.
You asked about grayling fishing. Don't blow right by the area where Paxson lake dumps into the Gulkana river. That first mile of so of river is some of the best grayling fishing around. Most people just blow right through there as they have just finished rowing 6 miles accross the lake and are finally in some current to float. We like to spend the first night right there just down from the outlet of the lake.
and don't forget the Lake Trout too, they are there in good numbers in the rapids where the lake dump in the Gulkana.