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Thread: Wood River jet boating

  1. #1

    Default Wood River jet boating

    Has anyone had any experience running the Wood River, or any of the other creeks on the Fort Wainright reservation - Crooked, Willow, Clear, McDonald, or Bear Creeks and the Tanana in between to access the mouths of said?

    If so what are the conditions like? Narrow, skinny, rocky, etc? Seems like it might be a fun way to get to the Rex trail for some wheelin'.

    Launch ramps in the area?

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Palmer, AK


    Add the Gerstle to that list if you don't mind? I am trying to learn a bit about the waterways up there as well. I knwo that those squigly lines on the map are far different in person!

  3. #3
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Fairbanks Area

    Default Wood River

    The run from Nenana to the mouth of the Wood is not bad. However, the trick is getting in the mouth. After the first 1/4 mile or so it is runable for a long way. You will see others, lots of others.

    Good Luck


  4. #4
    Member Crumm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Fairbanks, AK


    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    the trick is getting in the mouth.
    The mouth is a fun place to set up a lawn chair and watch the show come hunting season The Wood is mainly silt for a long ways and the silt is like super-glue when you get stuck on it. A bit hard to read the first stretch but entertaining. If you are planning on going as far as the Rex trail you will get up out of the silt and into the braided channels filled with rocks.

    Clear creek is plenty deep but it is very narrow. I only went up it once and found that meeting anyone would be bad. There are hairpin turns every 100 yards and in places it is too narrow to even turn around. I am sure it would be a dangerous place to be come hunting season.

    Only launch is Nenana or Chena pump into the Tanana.

  5. #5
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Last civilized place on the planet


    We went up the Wood late sept/ 1st of oct, last fall (anterless hunt).
    Late in the year the water starts to drop, we were in a 17 Wooly w/ 115/80 Yamaha. 2 guys, gear and some 60 gallons of fuel.
    I had heard the horror stories about guys getting stuck w/ big inboards at the mouth and been warned not go unless had a ext shallow running boat.
    The wooly did fine, the tricky part of the wood is it can be hard to identify the channel or there may not be a channel for the first 1/2 mile or so.
    We sat out in the Tanana and eyeballed it for a while to plot our course, when we finally went it was wot, never got stuck but did touch in a few places, it was a thrill and my knees were knockin when we got thru.
    After the mouth, it is ez going, the lower part of the river is very sandy w/ a good channel, somewhat twisty. we went up about 30 miles and at times we went slow, in the sand it is ez to dislodge yourself if you get hung up.
    I have heard it is possible to get to the Rex trail, have not been that far myself.
    we didnt see any game, and in my opinion its not a ez hunt as the terrain is relatively flat, so there is very few high spots or bluffs that you can get on the get a vantage point, (on the lower part anyway) there is plenty of old sloughs if you can identify them they could be productive for moose.
    As crumm said the creeks are skinny, and I have been up them only a very short distance ( I cant remember if it was willow and clear, maybe crooked as well?) The creeks may be doable in a small flat boat. we launched at the campground on Chena pump. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006


    Bear and McDonald go through the Ft Wainwright bombing or impact range. We used to hunt up there but the MPs stretch a cable across the mouth of McDonald now and if you are caught on either Bear or McDonald they will write you a trespass ticket.


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