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Thread: Matanuska River Tips

  1. #1

    Default Matanuska River Tips

    Has anyone spent any time on the Mat. River with a river boat? I would like some general information. What was your experience? Is it a river that is going to need a higher skill level?

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States

    Default Matanuska

    I've been on it one time, accessed it in my jet boat from where it meets with the Knik. It isn't necessarily difficult to navigate, only dangerous because of so much floating junk. If you are in a jet boat there is a real danger of sucking up something that will disable your motor and you will float into and then under one of the bazillion log jams. The river changes so much that it is always knocking over trees which then lose big clumps of leaves and other debris. If you were in an air boat, no problem. Even a large inboard jet would probably do all right if it can suck up the leaves and run them through the grinder. The river is very mild for the first mile or two then picks up speed rapidly. I ran it in September during moose season and got a little spooked after about 3 miles then turned around.

    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3


    I have ran the lower section in an airboat many times. There are sections where the Knik River meets with the Mat river. For the most part the main section of the Matanuska river flows directly into Knik, maps show otherwise. I visit this are to fish. The lower section is very easily accessed by atv or truck too. As far as the river description AKmud nailed that one.

    If I had a small jet boat and was skilled to my liking I wouldnt have a problem running the lower section.

  4. #4


    I'm looking at running select portions further up river during low water in early October for surveying purposes. After driving the river today and talking to a couple locals i'm hedging toward using a zodiac style boat. I talked to a local around Chickaloon who told me that she has seen a few tipped boats during her years on the river. Hopefully the lower water and smaller boat will back the navigation safer?

  5. #5

    Default Matanuska

    I have lived near the Matanuska River since 1969. Used to cross it by raft for black bear hunting and others.

    The big issue on the Matanuska is if you lose power and lose steerage. You have to be under control because of all the rocks and logs.

    Why can't you get a good raft and drift it with oars? Are you required to run up and down a lot?

    Lower water means shallower water and more exposed rocks...

    If I were you I would take a few trips with Nova before deciding exactly how to do it.


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