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Thread: Chisik Island and Tuxedni Bay

  1. #1
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    Default Chisik Island and Tuxedni Bay

    Well I've been playing with Google Earth and started looking at this area again. I've always wanted to check out the cannery, island and Fossil Point. I have some questions that hopefully some of you can answer.

    I live in Soldotna and won't beach-launch my boat. I would prefer to go to Chisik from Kenai instead of Homer as it's far more convenient for me and water distance is a bit shorter. I was thinking of leaving Kenai a few hours before high tide and making a run for Tuxedni Channel where it's pretty deep. Is that doable?

    I've seen conversations on here about bad tide rips in that part of Cook Inlet. Where might I run into them? Mostly south of Kalgin Island on that big bar?

    Is the cannery over there still in operation and could I maybe tie up to the dock? I don't see many places to anchor my boat at all. There is a small cove across Tuxedni north of Chisik that looks like it goes dry but might offer some protection. I think there are some camps there and believe it's where they did some logging a while back. My boat is a Wooldridge Deep Water Plus and does well with beaching and fairly big water. Could I duck in there for the night?

    What's the best way to access Fossil Point?

    What is there to do in Tuxedni Bay? I know there are a lot of bears over there to see. How far up the bay can I safely go? My boat drafts about 2 feet.

    Is there much fishing and clamming to be done over there? I'm not asking for your "hot spot". Just wondering if it's worth trying.

    Also, I'd love to hear about your good or bad experiences over that way and would love to see some photos.

    I've got spring fever bad and have the itch to see some new country. Here's a photo of my boat and I appreciate your advice. Thanks.

    Dave
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2

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    I've been over there a bit back when decking on a gillnet boat; good friends of mine (who I fished with) used to live on Chisik back when there was a house on the beach (they setnetted & gillnetted from there). Great place to explore; the cannery has been closed for years now and the last time I was there only the winter watchman lived there, although we had the priviledge of using showers/facilities (we fished for Ward's Cove who ran that cannery). I didn't have the opportunity to explore most of the places you mentioned, we just stayed on the boat on weekends and took a dinghy to shore for campfires. Be advised, the tides can and do crank pretty well through there, as it is a channel. Make sure to anchor well and have a anchor alarm set up on your GPS, as we used to drag anchor there more often than not. Check the weather forecast and tidal predictions, make that trip with minimal wind and minimal tides to avoid heavy rip action. I heard there was great clamming off the Kalgin beaches/bar, but that would suggest you make the trip on adequate minus tides although I think the clamming pressure there is minimal so maybe no need to go for a big minus tide (which can mean rough going out in the middle as mentioned above). We were over there quite a few times but in 34' heavy gillnetters, I would go with a buddy boat for sure as help is a long way away. We caught small halibut on the hook in the channel but nothing huge. Great place but has serious water. I can't remember the tide timing differences, but it's best to find that out prior to going (example: low tide at the Kenai dock at 6:00 pm does not mean it's low tide out in the middle of the inlet at 6:00 pm). I can talk to my buddy who still gillnets (has been for over 25 yrs now) and get some more accurate info on tides/timing & such).
    Jim

  3. #3

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    There are three main rips in the Inlet and they can get ugly at times. When acting up they are every bit as bad above the Island as below,probably worse (due to stronger currents). When planning the tides remember that the tide turns up to 3 hours later in thedeep offshore water compared to the river entrances. The Kalgin bar is fully exposed in places at low water but charts will show crossings that can be made even at a minus tide.
    The Porter family own the old cannery. It is no longer operating. They are very nice people but I can't say whether they would welcome visitors .
    No real access to the beach from the old oil dock to my knowledge. Bring a tender.
    Both sides of the channel afford good anchorages(hence the name snug harbor) but I have seen williwaws blow through which can make things uncomfortable.
    It's a beautiful area- poke around fossil point, clam dig at polly creek,bear view up on the grass flats around Iron Mt. Catch the occasional halibut and if the regs allow there are a few tanner and dungies.
    Your boat looks pretty skookum but I don't know what kind of water it will take. I've only been down there in commercial gillnetters.

  4. #4
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    Default Looks like some new info.

    I wondered about this many years ago, and not too many people Knew the areas. I have played out in front of kenai and deep creek in fast tides and wind and found it to be wild, and I crossed the first major rip tide on a calm day once and it was interesting to say the least. TV's trash, 50+ foot trees, and who knows what else, plus incredible currents and swirls. I don't worry too much about the currents, waves, or debris when encountered on their own, but if all the the nasty elements mixed at once, such as a northbound current, a southbound 40 knot wind, mid tide on a big minus tide, I can just picture the deadheads, violent breaking waves, and swirling water in those rips, and the picture is a bit grim. But, in good weather and good halibut tides (small difference in highs and lows) I would think the crossing would be tame, and you might be able to shop the rips for a bedroom set or a connex full of nike's. Go slow through them and check your props when clear of the debris to make sure nothing was left in them. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing this year as far as trips go, but I might be interested still if I can get someone that wants to go see bears and camp out.

    Chris

  5. #5

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    I've been over to snug harbor a few times, mostly clamming and crossing on big minus tides, you need to leave an hour before the change of the tide (Ninilchik area time) and do the same on the return. Its only 37 miles across at Ninilchik launch a 1 1/4 hour ride in good seas.
    Frank
    Alaska Wildrose Charters and Cabins
    www.wildroselodge.com

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    Default Chisik Island......

    Thanks for the advice guys. It sounds like it is something I could pull off with my boat, if I get the right weather window and if Redoubt stops being so moody.

    Do you think I could launch my boat at either the Ninilchik or Deep Creek ramps? Launch it myself, not with the tractor. Ninilchik would save me about 20 miles of boat travel if I could launch there.

    Are these 3 tide rips shown on the nautical charts anywhere? The chart I looked at didn't show the bad spots.

    So the only way to access Fossil Point is to anchor the big boat and run the dinghy to shore, eh? What kind's of fossils do you see over there?

    Do you know if they are still logging over there on the north side of Tuxedni bay? Do you think the folks in those cabins would be open to me pulling in there for the night if I needed to?

    I getting excited about this trip now.....anybody want to go with me?

    Dave

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by standdup View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys. It sounds like it is something I could pull off with my boat, if I get the right weather window and if Redoubt stops being so moody.

    Do you think I could launch my boat at either the Ninilchik or Deep Creek ramps? Launch it myself, not with the tractor. Ninilchik would save me about 20 miles of boat travel if I could launch there.

    Are these 3 tide rips shown on the nautical charts anywhere? The chart I looked at didn't show the bad spots.

    So the only way to access Fossil Point is to anchor the big boat and run the dinghy to shore, eh? What kind's of fossils do you see over there?

    Do you know if they are still logging over there on the north side of Tuxedni bay? Do you think the folks in those cabins would be open to me pulling in there for the night if I needed to?

    I getting excited about this trip now.....anybody want to go with me?

    Dave
    I have crossed from kenai river to kalgin island more times than I can count, we commercial fish on Kalgin. I have noticed that the rips seem to happen where there is a change in depth on the chartplotter. You need to watch really close for logs and other debris when around the rips, and with windy weather this can complicate things when you are trying to drive your boat in big waves and also trying to watch for logs. But on nice days, the rips can go unnoticed, except for the floating crap

  8. #8
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    spend the 50 bucks, launch at deep creek and go for the day, just to check it out. the best knowledge is of course your own. As PFG said its only an hour plus run over there. We have launched several times and gone and spent the day. It is like bieng in another world over there. You would be more than safe anchoring for the night, but do a test run see for yourself. clamming is great if youdont mind letting your boat go dry, just anchor off the bow and back in. we usually take a couple of 2x4 8-10' to help push us back to the beach. pretty fun exploring the beaches. Fossile point is cool. dolphins, whales,birds and bears everywhere.
    you can easily make a day trip as we do out of it but will find several places to anchor if that is what you are thinking.

  9. #9

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    Do it with a buddy boat & survival suits on board. Also, 50 bucks is a whole lot cheaper than a new truck. Don't skimp where it counts. I love it over there but the most scared I've EVER been on the ocean is been in the middle rip but we did have 900' of net out making things interesting. Had 6-8 foot steep breakers busting right in the back of the boat. Never seen so many sockeyes though! Plan accordingly and I'd think it's a great place, wish I was still going over there!
    Jim

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    A college friend of mine and her husband (one of the Porters), have started fixing up some of the buildings at Snug Harbor for people to stay in. I stayed with them last summer for a few days and it was an amazing taste of the real Alaska. They also offer bird/bear tours, so you might find their website helpful (and they have photos):

    http://porterswildalaska.com

    Hopefully I don't sound like I'm pitching too hard here, but just thought you might find the information useful. They have info about Fossil Point (mostly bivalves but some ammonites and other fossils), and also contact info if you want to check in about staying the night.

    Also, the small island on the northeast side of Chisik has tons of Kittiwakes and Puffins, always fun to see! Best of luck on your trip out there!

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    Exclamation Stick to the main channel

    The cove north of Chisik is surrounded by Private Property and not the best place to moor for the night. The north shore has tides second only to the bay of Fundi. The tides go out for miles and can leave you stranded for hours, days, weeks, sometimes months depending on when you go dry. Because of the shallow water, the current, and the surf are very dangerous, and the channels are hard to find and navigate. I would not recommend putting up for the night. There are also some very large boulders, sand bars, boat wrecks and other navigational hazards.
    Also beware, the locals there are not always friendly.
    I would recommend staying with the deep water and the main channel. Most boats anchor up in the south channel by the cannery or off of the northern point of the island.
    And if you want to find button steamers and razor clams, go dry on the Crescent river bar, not on the mud inside Tuxedni Bay. But some people prefer cockles and mud clams and wading around in sticky knee- deep mud. Definitely good exercize. Don't lose your boots. It's a matter of preference.
    Area 9 is closed to bear hunting of course. There is good viewing and photo ops sometimes in the spring while the brown bears eat the beach grass and goosetounge if you follow the channel up the bay.

  12. #12

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    Dave,
    Hey there... It looks like I may be a bit late on this but maybe you haven't made it over yet? My name is Abe Porter, my family and I own the old cannery in Tuxedni. I stumbled across your post while on the internet. Anyway, we have been renovating the old cannery and actually have some rooms for rent if you are interested. you can check out some pictures on line at porterswildalaska.com. We normaly do full service packages but would be happy to rent you just a room. Give me a call at 398-8007. I've been commercial fishing the area for as long as I can remember so I can give you some good details on the area and the best way for getting over there... when to leave the river, navigating the bar and the rips and what not. Also, if we know when you are going over we can keep an eye out for you to make sure you're making it all right. Anyway, you may not get this but if you do... let me know.
    Take care!
    -Abe

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    Abe, are you related to Zach? We stay at their place on Hesketh at least one time a year, great people! I may just have to talk to Dave and change up the family adventure this year and come over and see ya. Scott

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    We commercial fished Chisik from the late 60s to the early 90s and I make several runs over there every summer. The last run of fish went through the cannery 30+ years ago. If you launch from Kenai, stay south of the South can that marks the end of the bar from Kaligan then run in south end of the bay. There are lots of cool rock piles on the north end of the island that can ruin your day at mid to low tide if you dont know the area. You can anchor on either side of the bay but in the summer time most of the commercial fleet would end up on the island side about half way up the island (pretty much right in front of where our cabin was). Fossil point is cool to check out, just make sure you bring your bear deterent. There are some VERY big brownies on the south side of the point!

    You can run WAY up the bay if you have a skiff. If you take the big boat, follow the tide up the bay and get back out before it goes out too much of there are some bars that will keep you there till the next high tide.

  15. #15

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    Hey, that's a great boat! Remember too, ya need water to get back into the mouth of the Kenai. Not all tides work. Thanks for the help this week getting the boat ready. Talk to ya when we both get back home.

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    Scott,
    Hey there! Yes, Zach is my Brother. It's a pretty nice place they have over there isn't it? We would love to have you! There is definitely no shortage of "adventure" across the Inlet that is for sure . Let me know! -Abe

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    Dave,

    It was nice chatting with you on the phone the other day. My brother and I came up with those numbers you were interested in. For a two person room with a common bathroom and common kitchen area we charge $150.00 per night. However, we also have a suite with its own kitchenette and bathroom for $200.00 per night. This sleeps up to seven people but we tag on an extra $25.00 per person after 4. It really is a remarkable place with lots of wild country to see, and lots to do. Especially if you have your own boat! And like you said, its always nice to come back to a hot shower and warm bed after you've been mucking around all day! I'll be looking forward to hearing from you Dave. -Abe

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