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Thread: Good Beginner Rivers

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Good Beginner Rivers

    Yeah I know this is my third new thread this week but I am just really excited about my new boat and can't wait to take it out this summer. I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions on what rivers I should start to learn on in my new(to me) 04 21' North River. I know you guys know rivers and what boats you should take on them and was wondering what you would suggest for a beginner with this type of boat. I want to make multiple trips with it and get used to it before this hunting season and the powerful Yukon is underneath me. I was thinking the 20 mile but have read some things on water depth and difficulty that I might not wan to challenge on my maiden voyage. Any suggestions?

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    Default River Experience

    If your are looking for 1st time experience with your boat, I would take her out on the Big Su. Drop in at Deshka Landing and head down to, and past the Desha confluence. There are several miles of varied river conditions that would teach you alot. It might make it a little easier if you waited at the boat launch until another boat heads downriver and follow them down. There should be plenty of traffic come mid-May. I would stay on the big water and off of creeks like the Deshka and Alexander until you are more familiar with how your boat operates under different conditions. Those places can get pretty skinny real fast. Good luck!

  3. #3

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    If you are new to boating I would go to a lake first and get the hang of your new boat without the concern of current, snags, and rocks, not to mention learning how to launch it on the ramp and recover it without drawing crowds to watch the circus. Finger lake is usually the first open water that is fairly close to town. If you can't wait for that, Whittier or Seward should be ice free in the next couple weeks (if they aren't already).
    Stay Safe!

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    Lightbulb Alaskan Fly Guy is right

    In my previous post I forgot that step 1 should be unloading and loading on a lake. Lake experience is also a plus before hitting the current.

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    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    Hit the lakes first, put a couple of hours on doing some tight turn and at speed stops. (using the reverse bucket). Take an afternoon and put it on and off the trailer 20-30 times, makes a world of difference at the launch

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    Default dont wait for the lakes to thaw

    it will be well into may if you wait for any fresh water. head down to whittier and get the feel for your boat in passage canal. lots of room and you could go this weekend if you really wanted to.

  7. #7

    Thumbs up don't learn by making mistakes

    I got started into riverboating 3 seasons ago and the best thing I (and my wife) did was take a riverboat safety class from Ron Wilson up at Susitna Landing. One day of classroom and one afternoon on the water. Ron was a standup comedian in a previous life and the day goes fast. He's got tons of experience on the Su and surrounding tributaries. He will teach you to read the water rather than learn it the hard way by beaching on every sandbar you don't see. Best of all, it'll save you some money on your insurance premium.

    Well worth the time and effort. Give him a call at 907-495-0077.

    The lake idea is a good one as well.

    Stay safe so that Ron doesn't have to come out and pull you out of a sweeper or strainer.

    Tom

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    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    You could follow me when I run the Su, Yetena and Deshka with my 21' NR.

    It's nice going out early on the Su and Yetena to follow/see the channels at low water. As the summer draws on I still run the same channels even though I know I can short cut because of higher water.

    The Deshka on the other hand can get a little tricky early.....but usually around Memorial day you can run the river to a hole or two below the weir area. I know last year I was one of the 1st inboards to run above the beaver hole, as I was trenching the channel with jet wash. Caught two nice Kings that day........ Two more months and counting.......

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default Following a guy, riding with a guy, having a guy ride with you... all good ideas

    Following a guy, riding with a guy, having a guy ride with you who have been there and done that are some of the best ways to learn the ropes.

    Get in the mode / mindset of constantly trying to figure out why they are running in that particular part of the river, and where you think they'll head next, and why... then you really start picking up stuff...

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    That's a great point Chriso, "get into the mindset...". If you only follow a guy, ride with a guy, or have a guy ride with you, it's real easy to get dependent on "a guy". But if you pair that with always thinking about the whys of where you're going, you learn where you should go.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akboatchick View Post
    That's a great point Chriso, "get into the mindset...". If you only follow a guy, ride with a guy, or have a guy ride with you, it's real easy to get dependent on "a guy". But if you pair that with always thinking about the whys of where you're going, you learn where you should go.
    Meaning I blew it with my chauvinistic subconscious? Ooops! I do know some of the "fairer sex" that read water real well and handle a boat exceptionally as well! But anyway, I think you know what I mean, it's all too easy to shift the mind to neutral and follow someone or let them drive and then on the day when you have the helm you have no concept for what and why they chose the lines they did.

    You know, theres some rafting tapes that Northwest River Supply sells that talk about reading the water. I think the one is called "Lets Get Wet" and then there's one called "Whitewater Self-Rescue" (which should be mandatory reading for everyone on the river, wives, kids, neighbors... anyone who could feasibly wind up swimming in flowing waters by chance someday.) Anyway, I believe they do a really good job of explaining in plain english terms some of the basics.

  12. #12

    Default Read The River !

    We had a guy riding with me for almost 8 years , he new the way on the river just did not know how to read the river. This fellow got a new boat and sent some time on the bar !

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    [quote=chriso;226759]Meaning I blew it with my chauvinistic subconscious? Ooops! I do know some of the "fairer sex" that read water real well and handle a boat exceptionally as well!

    No chauvinism taken! I didn't even think about the "guys" part. Anywhoo.... I used to work on boats and took great pride in my ability to read water. Then I got out of that line of work & got a little boat... Then I got a husband. The first year it was My boat, the 2nd year I could feel his manly need to drive & he started driving my boat. I got lazy & enjoyed beer while he drove, I stopped paying attention got out of practice!!! The 3rd year, he got his own boat & I got mine back & it took a little while (and some trips without him) to get my confidence back. Now we're on track with both boats most of the time.

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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for letting me off the hook like that!

    Now you bring up the "following" topic... and more points for consideration right?

    Like: Follow too close and have the boat in front of you wash the water out of a shallow spot and you get stuck.

    or: Follow too closely and the rock normally so easily seen due to the ripples or vee it makes in the current, is invisible due to the first boats wake.

    or: Follow all the time and the mind shifts to neutral again and you never learn to read the water yourself.

    or: If you are new to the game, following so far that you have no chance to see where the experienced driver is lining up at, and where the channels and obstacles are. (One of the key factors in compenent river running it pre-positioning to make the cleanest, simplest moves around the obstacles or shallows right?)

    Thanks again, Chris

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    Thumbs up New to rivers

    Lots of good advice here for sure. I've always recommended to folks to go get a cheaper (inexpensive) boat (preferrably w/ stand up console for better visibility), learn the rivers, make mistakes, tell yourself "OH S**T" a couple of times, push it off a sand bar or 2, dent it and bang it up; THEN go get an expensive 21' NRiver...
    Not to dissuade you, but I know quite a few guys who did just what you did, they jumped into a nice boat first and trashed it due to inexperience.
    Just remember, if your running a jet and you plan on running shallow waters, YOU WILL HIT!! It's just a matter of time....
    If all you do is run down to the mouth of the Deshka, fish the peanut gallery, and then head back to the launch, that my friend is not jetboating... You most likely won't hit bottom.
    You've asked some good quality questions, that's good. Always respect the water your on and never get complacent. Being a pinch apprehensive when running is a good thing, keeps ya thinking. The glare on the water, the channels, debris, etc all change during the summers. Some a little, some alot.
    Just keep the butt end of that boat in the deepest water available and when you see gravel and feel the back end start to rise, stay in it! Good Luck!

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    Default

    I have to agree with most of what has been said. Ironically, I have seen more boats on the gravel between the landing and the Deschka. More than likely newer boaters or those that just didn't pay attention to how much the river had dropped. More than likely its due to the fact that that stretch is traveled by more people than anywhere else.

    Far as the guy to take, ride with, etc. If he tells you about beaching many times you might want to concider finding another boater to get advice from

  17. #17

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    In 06' I ordered a brand new boat. Top of the line Customweld. I had every option on it that was offered except the engine($58,000). ( I went 6.0p.f.i). I am brand new to jet boating but I thought I would rather get what I want now rather than later. Well to make a short story long, I wrecked my truck in the fall of 06' and I canceled my order in December. I was so mad In June that I did not have the boat. Any way I found a good fairly clean inboard jet boat and bought it. I put it on the beach 4 times and I can't count all the dents I put in the bottom. I am going to run it 1 or two more years than get the boat I want. By the way the used 1 I bought is still worth the same as I paid for it, But I bet the new one would be worth far less now.
    Learn to read the water before spending to much money.

  18. #18
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBighorn View Post
    I have to agree with most of what has been said. Ironically, I have seen more boats on the gravel between the landing and the Deschka. More than likely newer boaters or those that just didn't pay attention to how much the river had dropped. More than likely its due to the fact that that stretch is traveled by more people than anywhere else.

    Far as the guy to take, ride with, etc. If he tells you about beaching many times you might want to concider finding another boater to get advice from
    I've seen that same thing on the stretch between the landing and the Deshka, and I've got to admit I don't think thats the best place to learn on, unless you have someone with you who knows the way, or are following someone. I mean, you dump some 30-40 bucks on the launch, get in the water and make a boner decision, are drifting downriver in deep, fast water and its all upriver to get back on your trailer.

    One trap I got myself lured into right off the bat with my first boat, was the driving need to go fish all the cool spots I'd dreamed of. Some of these places require navigating some potentially dicey stuff and you really ought to have your boating skills and personal relationship with your boat well dialed in before you attempt them, especially with family and friends along. I learned a similar lesson when I got my first airplane, you don't just hop in and go to these places. You need to practice to get your proficiency level up where it needs to be so that you dont endanger someone in your boat, or in the boats you encounter. (the logjam on the lower Talkeetna comes to mind here).

    I think the Knik is a great one to learn on. Launch on the upstream side of the old highway bridge, run upriver so if you get in trouble you have a fighting chance to pole, paddle, whatever, back to your rig. Virtually no rocks on the lower river to worry about damaging your boat. No big water and ripping currents, lots of shallows and braided channels so you can learn to read cuts and textures and get the feel of your boat on moving water. And, you save those launch fees and apply them to more gas to burn while you are getting familiarized with your boat. For what its worth anyway.

    And, you make a great point about the beaching stories as well. I think theres a few different mindests associated with getting stuck on the river. One in particular is when I'm in the exploring mode with the guys. For instance, this was a "great stuck" in my book, and I don't hold it against them guys one bit for me having to push a bit on this day!



    However, load the wife and kids in the boat, and maybe even my brothers infant, and its a whole new set of rules that apply (personal rules anyway) In my book, you have no business packing treasure like this around exploring and hopeing you can make it through without launching the little ones forward from running aground.


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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    +1 for the Knik. It is a great place for beginners. You can launch at the river access near the New Glenn as well and run up past the Old Glenn. Nice thing is there is very little gravel in most places due to the slow moving glacial water...so...if/when you misread the water and find the "skinny" stuff, you won't ding up the hull, only park it on a soft sandbar.

    If you want something more challenging, just find the mouth of the Matanuska (off the Knik between the Old and New Glenn) and head up. There are usually lots of log jams, fast water, and some tight corners. The Mat can be dangerous though so be careful.
    AKmud
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    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default Meanchicken.net Jetboating forum

    There are a bunch of great jetboating videos loaded on their site. One in particular on the Palouse River where he has his buddy riding shotgun and filming. He picks some really great lines on some not too challenging water but is riding up just along the current seams, lining up on the high side of the shingles, cuts across somewave trains without getting too bouncy, then up the seams alongside them. I thought it was worth studying anyway.

    http://meanchicken.net/webmain/forum...php?f=17&t=967

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