Upper Kenai Float
Im looking for some advise for floating the Upper Kenai with a canoe. I have a 17ft Gruman. Any advise would be appreciated.
** Always wear a PFD on the Kenai. **
Canoeists die in here when they don't.
There are two sets of class II rapids between Kenai Lake and Jim's Landing. Fisherman's Bend is right at the tail end of the lake, and is easily scoutable from the highway, since there is a large turnout there. It's right below the Princess Lodge. You can also scout it from the river on river left.
The second one is Schooner's Bend, which is right next to the Russian River Campground access road. If it's a busy fishing weekend the Park Service may not let you enter to look at it without paying for a campsite first. You can also scout this from the bank if you take out on the right. The area you are looking for is about 1/4 mile after you go under the bridge (not the one at the lake, the next one.). The river makes a hard right turn, and you want to get to the inside to take out and scout it.
They are both before Sportsman's (Russian River ferry), and both can be lined if you don't want to run them. Otherwise the river is swift flat water or class I.
After Jim's Landing there are several class II+ or III- areas going through the canyon before it opens up near Skilak Lake. A good river canoeist can do this section, but you will want to pick your lines carefully. Once on the lake there are 7-8 miles of paddling to the nearest take out at Upper Skilak Campground. The lake can be really nasty when the wind comes up, and it can come up very quickly. The complicate matters, there are long sections where you can not get out due to the cliffs. Pick your weather carefully.
Thanks for the advise. We are planning on floating from the bridge down around Kenai Cache. We figure we will take it slow and steady and pull off as much as possible to fish.