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Thread: Swanson River Conditions

  1. #1
    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default Swanson River Conditions

    Has anybody been on the Swanson recently? I'm curious about the water height between the launch at Swanson River Road and up river to the McLain Lake area? How are the weeds this year?

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Swanson river to McClain cabin

    The river is up this year, as we have had an abnormal wet season.
    you will encounter lily pads and grass along your way as normal, and weeds will mess with your progress as you are under power.
    I used an electric motor to go up a few miles just to see if it would do the trick, and then floated back.
    It had plenty of water and made it easy to travel along, although those pesky hidden black rocks come up suddenly..
    Since the new cabin was built on the lake up river, there has been a bit more of a surge of visitors to the area, but plenty of great moose hunting along the way..
    Max
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    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default

    Cool, thanks for the info. I was up there about 5 miles the year before last, this year I reserved the cabin.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default popular place

    The first year they made the cabin on McClain lake, there were several groups that attempted to take over the cabin. ( even though it was reserved )
    The lake had several groups that did not have plan B in place when they found others in the area so they just camped around the lake, and then nobody got anything... Anyway. I have not heard of problems last year, but do not be surprised if you get visitors.
    You may want to take a paper plate and make a sign on the trail from the river to the lake and nail it to a tree that says. "( McClain Cabin is occupied and we have a group of 5 staying there all hunting the area hard)"
    that way, you may keep a few from making the portage to the lake. lol
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default

    Good call, thanks. Do you think we'll be able to get there by motor, or does it get too skinny and narrow? We've been as far as the beaver dam about 4'ish miles up and I don't think that stretch will be a problem.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default rocks and shallow

    you are going to get into stretches of that little river that you think, " where did all the water go?"
    and then suddenly there will be plenty,, its a strange thing that upper swanson. seems like part of the river goes underground or something sometimes,,lol
    you will need to assist with paddling, but will some places the motor will work,, do you have a rock hopper?
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default

    No, my buddy has a scanoe and I've got an ancient Evinrude 6 horse. Do you rent any?

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Rock hoppers

    I don't have any for rent. I need one though,,lol
    I have a 8.9 hp that I take up river, and the prop is toast..lol
    heres a link to a website, you could make one if you had to
    http://www.rockhoppermotorguard.com/
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member Sterlingmike's Avatar
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    Default AlaskaCanoe

    How it the lower end of the Swanson? I'm planning on floating it out next week or so while moosing. No motor on my canoe. I've made the trip a few times, but it seems to be different water each time I do it. Once it was VERY rapid towards the end. Appreciate any info you can give me. I usually see a lot of moose, but none legal yet on this strech. ONE OF THESE DAYS.......................

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default people out today

    We had a group come out today.
    They said that the lower portion was moving along pretty good and that was fun. Swamped a canoe in the last mile of the trip.
    But they were in good spirits as most folks are that float and paddle the swanson..
    The fishing was pretty good for rainbows, and some silvers scattered along the way. No reports of bull moose though.
    But they did see a few black bears.
    Water leve is higher than normal for the whole river.
    we have good rains for the past two days and so the levels should stay up for a while.
    Silvers should be coming in strong down in the lower end.
    As you know there are only a few good campsites near the river.
    Have a fun trip,,
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member DrB's Avatar
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    Default Silver alert

    Just back from several days up on the Swanson River, it was a blast. The weeds are thick in any areas of slack water but not a problem for a canoe without a motor. We did it the old fashioned way; we paddled it.
    It is a moosey area but not much activity so far. 3 and a half days and only one moose spotted. We paddled beyond the upper fork just below the beaver dam.
    If you go, do not neglect to take a fishing rod. The silvers are incredible up high. They make roaring sounds like thunder when they move in shallow water. The water was churning like rapids just from the fish moving at times. Use a large spoon such as a Vibrax. The best spots seemed to be in deep water near beaver lodges. It is amazing to pull big fish from such a small stream. Large lures will help target the silvers, although the rainbows are very tasty over a campfire.
    Don't forget your headnet, you'll need it.

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    Default Alaskacanoe

    Thanks for the report. I used to use a 14' Radisson, which was very lightweight, but sold it a couple years ago and bought a used Scout from your place last year. I usually spend 2-3 days on the lower part of the river so I look forward to the trip. Silvers surely are fun to watch when they are moving in there thick. Thanks for your help. Hope to see you around town.

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    Default NEwby to Swanson

    I woudl like to take my 8 year old daughter on the swanson. lokoing to get a chance at a moose. I want her to catch silvers and have a blast. I saw a post saying the bugs are really bad????
    Anyways we will have a canoe no motor. Will I be able to make it up stream far enough to have a chance at a moose or should I go down stream????


    Thanks for any advice
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by motorboatn View Post
    I woudl like to take my 8 year old daughter on the swanson. lokoing to get a chance at a moose. I want her to catch silvers and have a blast. I saw a post saying the bugs are really bad????
    Anyways we will have a canoe no motor. Will I be able to make it up stream far enough to have a chance at a moose or should I go down stream????


    Thanks for any advice
    That depends on your situation.
    Down will require a shuttle back to the luanch site (or the reverse).
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    Member DrB's Avatar
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    Default

    Going upstream would not be difficult at all for two adults. With a kid along it depends on their ability with the canoe. The water is flowing but not difficult to paddle against. The main challenge are the boulders, some of them hidden just beneath the surface of the water. Be sure and have good PFD's and secure all your gear.
    The nice thing about traveling upstream is that you can go as far as you are comfortable with and return rather easily to the takeout point. There are boulders starting at the canoe launch and riffles at about 1 1/2 miles. It would be a reasonable trip to go upstream as far as you are comfortable with, moose and silvers available as soon as you get started. I was on the river tonight and the bugs were not bad at all. A few days ago they were a bit more aggressive.
    Have fun.

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    Default Thanks for the info guys

    Sounds like we should have fun. I think going down the river with a shuttle back up would be a good choice for us. Whats the trip length if I launch at the "normal" starting point and go down to the bridge off of I think oil well road.


    Thanks again.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    Default

    It's a good 2 day float from the launch down Swanson river road to the mouth. Be careful to not end up in the inlet.

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    Default So if I end up with a scanoe

    Would it be worth taking up the swanson?? Or should I head north to red shirt lakes??


    Thanks again guys
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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    Member bgreen's Avatar
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    Default

    There are likely going to be several hunting parties spread out over better parts of the 10 miles of legal motor use on the upper swanson this weekend. Tyrex13 and I will be one party, and I know of at least one other. Odds are there will be others as well. Where is red shirt lakes area?
    The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.

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    Default its in the valley area

    Apart of the nacy lake area.
    Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

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