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Thread: Moose Creek and lessons learned

  1. #1

    Default Moose Creek and lessons learned

    I just returned home, Orlando Fla., from a wonderful month in the Great Land. Although this post is a little dated I thought I might share some of the lessons I learned from the float trip my 12 year old grandson and I made on July 14 down Moose Creek. Before jumping to conclusions about some of my errors please acknowledge the spirit in which I write this. "After months of planning and many check lists we departed on July 14 for our long awaited adventure. Our shuttle service, Ron of Ron's Riverboat Service, was right on time and he dropped us at the Petersville bridge. It started raining the moment he left. That was o.k. as we had decent rain gear. It took us a couple of hours to reassemble our newly aquired Fishcat 13. I am sure Ron had a good laugh when he saw all the gear we had brought along. I need to work on shortening the list! Six rods and reels was probably a little excessive. Not sure the folding chairs, two extra propane bottles, 5 gal. water, two cases of Gator Aide, enough food for six weeks, ect. was not necessary either. Although we were well within the wieght limit of 750# we simply had too much stuff and will lighten the load considerably on future trips...and we will add sleeping bags to the list. Unbelieveable how I could have forgetten them, but I did! I did load the sleeping pads and an extra small tarp which served as our blanket. It continued to rain as we finally shoved off and after floating only a half a mile or so it became obvious our load was not very well balanced. We stopped and did some rearranging which seemed to help, also after noticing all the bear tracks on the sandbar decided the guns needed to be loaded and made ready! Our targeted fish was to be rainbows on the upper end and maybe some salmon on the lower end of the float. We stopped at a few likely looking places and did o.k. when we could get past the all the Kings that were in the river. We had allowed for seven days with the thought of having lots of time for fishing particularly the first fourty miles and set up our camp after floating only six miles. It continued to rain and the river appeared to be rising. Set up a decent camp and grilled our steaks over the fire to celebrate our first night on the river. Caught a few fish and turned in early as it had been a long day. Woke up after an hour or so, cold, so we put on our extra clothes (No Sleeping Bag) and it continued to rain but we stayed dry as I had put a large tarp 12x16 over our tent area. Left the food fifty feet away from the tent and the raft fifty feet in the opposite direction. Woke up again at 03:30 to the sounds of the camp stove and pots falling off the cooler. Large male brown bear decided to check out the contents of the cooler, I gabbed the '06 yelled and fired a couple of noise makers into the air and he spooked into the bush. No damage done but a little unnerving. It was still raining and the river continued to rise and the wind did blow. We wasted little time breaking camp and hit the river again. Came around a sharp bend and were greeted by the biggest moose in all of Alaska standing in the middle of the river. A magnificent animal! We yelled and he ran. Be ready to put the brakes on at all times was the lesson I learned, as this guy was close! Floated a few more miles, rounded another bend and there was a tree that had fallen all the way across the river, the first of several to come. Had brought a good sharp hand axe and cut away a few branches to enable us to pull the raft over the tree. Fishing had become difficult as the water became clouded and high. That was o.k. we were still having a lot of fun. Lots of beavers, and of course beaver dams. Eagles, mergansers, ravens entertained us untill we came around another bend and two rather large brown heads with black eyes and pointey ears appeared at about a hundred feet away. I searched intently as I knew the sow had to be close. Jacked a live one into the chamber just for peace of mind. All of the sudden she stood up beside the cubs, I thought she saw us but the next thing I know she is in the middle of the river chasing fish. I bailed from the raft to stop its forward movement, we were already inside of the "safety zone". I yelled, she stood up looked our way, woofed and then took off with the cubs...we were thrilled with the experience and grateful she opted to leave. Set up camp for night two a couple more miles down the river on a nice sandbar with no bear tracks on it, just wolfe tracks. Woke up a little later next morning made a big breakfast, did a little fishing, repacked and hit the river again. It had finally quit raining and the sun would appear once in while, nice! The river continued to rise and became very clouded, to the point of not fishable. We decided to float on out as opposed to wasting our days waiting for the river to clear up. Still had a long way to go but thoroughly enjoying the wildlife and the river. About two or three o'clock that afternoon the sun came out and stayed. We had just come around a sharp bend and ther was a long sand and grass covered bank beside us, my grandson yelled "look Pop, there is a dead animal laying there pointing at it. Suddenly the "dead animal" jummped to its feet, and another, and another, and another wolf pup no more than 20 feet from us dashed for the bush. Then the adult wolves woke up, sat up, and stared at us with those gold colored eyes. We were in awe of the experience. All totaled we counted twelve wolves. With the exception of the pups fleeing for cover, they just sat and watched us float by! If only my camera had been ready! I look back at this moment as "making" the whole trip. I will not touch the politics of the wolf issues as I am an outsider but for us, all I can say is we considered ourselves "privlaged to see this". Continued to float another few miles before encountering the first black bear of the trip. He too was apparently laying in the grass beside the river sleeping as we startled him at close range before he hissed at us and went up the nearest tree. Made camp late that night and had a cold dinner before turning in. Got up late with only fifteen or twenty miles to go. Stopped at the wier and talked with the guys there, silvers in the river! Continued to float and accidentally ran into Ron who was on a fish finding mission. He offered to load us up and return to the Susitna Landing which we did. Wonderful float, great time,lots of wildlife, tremendous experience for a sixty year old fat guy and his twelve year old grandson. Will do it again next year, hoping for a little better fishing and less rain.

  2. #2

    Default Are you bringing sleeping bags next time...

    or going with the blue tarp again? Great story and thanks!

  3. #3
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    Default find any electronics?

    Did the same float many years ago with my younger brother. We opted for a hard side canoe so our gear selection was quite limited. But we did remember sleeping bags...

    However, we had cloudless days and blazing heat... The gear we failed to take was sun screen.

    When we arrived at the confluence of Moose and Kroto we were lucky to find a jet boat anchored up and the folks were fishing. They felt so bad for these two (now pink and red) guys they gave us their sun lotion and allowed us our fill of home brew - which they had on tap...

    Best fishing of the trip was there at the confluence. Watched as my brother tied into king using ultra light gear... Was sure worth the memories.

    By the way.. You did'nt find a vhs-c camcorder or disposable 35mm camera along the way, did you? Ya, that was a spendy mistake... Never, ever, ever canoe with the cam-corder in your hand... It only takes one sweeper to cost you an afternoon of drying stuff and $600 worth of lost electronics...

    Live and learn... there was good footage of a black bear hunt as well as some nice fishing on that tape.... Oh well...

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for being the kind of grand dad who does that kind of stuff...

  4. #4
    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    Next time you may want to consider buying a hand-pumping catadyn water filter (I got mine for about 80 bucks at REI). It's about 1 pound vs. the 5-gallons of water that I'm sure was troublesome. And maybe powdered gatorade instead of cases of it??
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  5. #5
    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    By the way, which Moose Creek did you float? I'm not familiar with this creek. What highway is the Petersville Bridge on?
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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    Default think this one...

    Petersville Rd... West off Parks highway at Trappers Creek (west of Talkeetna)... This particular Moose Creek flows south from Petersville road and dumps in to the Deshka...

  7. #7
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Default Water Flow

    Has anyone been down this river in late September? I'm thinking of floating it in search of some bears.

  8. #8
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default This year may be different...

    but in past years, September is pretty low water. You will probably do some dragging, but it is usually passable.

    Beautiful trip too!
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  9. #9
    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Default

    Is this stream floatable by kayaks (recreational-type kayaks)? Or does it get pretty rough?
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  10. #10
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Default

    That river is a pretty slow moving river. I would think a Kayak would be a nice way to float down. Could take you a couple days though.

  11. #11
    Blueberry
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    Most years late Sept. is a good time on Moose Creek--this year wouldn't have been one of them though. Everything floods very easily there.

  12. #12

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    A lot of sweepers, jams, beaver dams, some dragging on the upper portion. When we departed at the Petersville Rd. water level was at .89. It started to rain the minute we left and didn't quit for a couple days, river came up to 1.76 by the time we pulled out...nearly doubling! It was a little hard on the fishing but presented no great problems as far as the float was concerned. Kayaks...what kind of Kayak...touring, SOT? Either would work, just watch for the sweepers. Our GPS recorded 66 miles start to finish, add a few more miles if you float/paddle clear down to the Su. The upper 40 miles was very pristine, obviously well taken care of by those who used it. We hauled all of our trash out as others before us have. Trout, and some big ones, on the upper sections, silvers below the wier. Wonderful float. We saw no one untill we had passed the confluence of Kroto creek and it wasn't till we got close to the wier that we felt we had made it to civilization....cabins, and lots of them. There are no doubt better rivers to float if catching lots of fish is your priority. Lil Su, even Willow will probably yield more but if your looking for a relatively pristine float with lots of wildlife, some fish, and an easy class 1 trip Moose Creek is a good one!

  13. #13
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Question Grandson

    floridafisherman
    Has your Grandson been bugging you to go again ???

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  14. #14

    Default

    This boy, one of four grandsons, does not have a father in his life. As with my son and both daughters I feel it moraly mandatory that he be given the exposure of the virtues of an outdoor lifestyle. And YES we will be going back! In fact we are in the process of deciding which river for next years adventure. Goodnews is we will be joined by my son and two of his boys. Not to soapbox but I feel very strongly about the value of these type of trips when it comes to raising youngsters. All members of the "team" are assigned certain responsibilities and duties. We share the work and the fun! I can not think of a more meaningful thing a Grandfather can do for his offspring. Money comes and goes as do "things" but the memories of this type of trip wil be with them the rest of thier lives.

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    Amen, floridafisherman !

  16. #16
    Member ACNDHO's Avatar
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    Default float trip

    how many days did it take for your trip? i live in wasilla and have wanted to do this trip during moose season
    Al

  17. #17

    Default

    You can float from Petersville to Susitna river in three days, long days with little time to fish or hunt. If I were planning to hunt I would get ahold of the topo maps and plan on getting away from the river a little ways and allow for at least five days. We did see the largest moose I have ever seen about 7 or 8 miles down from the Petersville road. Lots of sign clear down to the confluence with Kroto creek.

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