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Thread: Matanuska River

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Question Matanuska River

    I recently purchased a 13ft NRS Otter. My buddy has a 16ft cat

    We are thinking of taking our rafts down the Matanuska to moose hunt this year.

    I am pretty green to being on the sticks. I have been in rafts a lot and he has been rowing for a few years but 99% of our rafting has been down the parks streams and the Kenai.

    Wondering what kind of expertise level is needed for doing the Matanuska. We want to put in somewhere below Lions Head as I hear that is for no rookies like us and we want to take out near Kings River area or maybe Chickaloon.

    We want to do this for a 5 day hunt. Stopping and hunting a few areas. We don't know the areas well but we figure we will burn the 5 days and check it out.

    Can anyone on here guide me in the right direction of floating this river and if it is over our heads for the experiance level we have?

    We don't want to do something stupid as I said most of our rafting is the Willow and Montana and we have those down but I am thinking those are easy and they are a different type of water.

    I will throw in before this trip I am doing the Ivishak for Caribou with another friend who has been rowing for quite some time but from what we hear it is easy. We hired Randy at Alaska Gold Rush to run us up 40 miles or so in his airboat and drop us off.

    Thanks in advance for any tips or advice.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    The Matanuska below Lion's Head is just about all class I-II. Pretty easy, but fast water none the less. Since it is so full of silt you can't see rocks, so you will have to learn to read the water by looking at the ripples & waves. Their shape & frequency reveal what the bottom is like, and how close it is to the surface. If you make mistakes you may end up in shallow water.

    However, there are some rocks and a few holes to avoid, so keep an eye out down stream at all times. You will be able to see them coming if you are looking. Also, there is one short section called Nova Bend that at some levels may be considered a class III rapid. You can see this from the highway at about mile 74-76. It's in the Chikaloon area, about a mile or so before you get to Nova River Runners and King Mt Lodge. The river takes a sharp left as it runs up against the road. Anyway, stop and take a look at it, as it is the worst spot you will face, and you can get around all the fuss if you stay left. Personally, I try to hit as many waves as I can, but I'm not usually packing a moose through here.

    There are a few creek valleys on the left side that could hunted if you walked in far enough. I doubt you will see many moose close to the river though.


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