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Thread: Up the Talkeetna

  1. #1

    Default Up the Talkeetna

    I'm planning to run up the Talkeetna this weekend with my North River to scout an area for a possible September bowhunt. I don't plan to go farther than Sheep River. I'm used to running the Yetna but haven't run the Talkeetna. Any words of wisdom from the experienced would be helpful. I've talked to folks that say it's easy and then I've had others look at me like my nose was upside down. Will there be enough water to run down river with a heavy loaded boat in late season? Is it a Sunday drive or NASCAR?

  2. #2

    Default Talkeetna River

    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    I'm planning to run up the Talkeetna this weekend with my North River to scout an area for a possible September bowhunt. I don't plan to go farther than Sheep River. I'm used to running the Yetna but haven't run the Talkeetna. Any words of wisdom from the experienced would be helpful. I've talked to folks that say it's easy and then I've had others look at me like my nose was upside down. Will there be enough water to run down river with a heavy loaded boat in late season? Is it a Sunday drive or NASCAR?

    From the boat launch to a point about three miles upstream, the river is braided. The different channels meander and periodically reconnect with one another. Usually, the channels are separated by hundreds or thousands of feet and, because of trees, you'll usually only be able to see the one you're in at the moment. Sometimes cottonwood snags will form choke points only 20 or 30 feet wide with blind corners.

    The best channel is different from year to year, and some of them will become unusable. I haven't been on the Talkeetna this year yet so I don't know which one is being used right now. Try looking at Google Earth to get an impression of the layout of the different channels. Those images are 3 1/2 years old, but are still helpful. You could take a couple of photocopies of the Google Earth image, and ask some boaters at the launch or at the concession if they would show you the best channel to use. Also, someone might offer to lead you upstream.

    The Talkeetna River is fed by glacial meltwater. In fall, when temperatures decrease in the mountains, the water level goes down substantially. This can be a gradual decrease or it can be quite abrupt. I've heard claims of water levels dropping a foot in a day. A fellow who lives upstream on the river told me he always pulls his large jet boat out of the water by 15 September so he doesn't risk getting his boat stranded.

  3. #3
    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    Going to Sheep is fairly straigh forward. Out of the launch go below the bridge turn around and head up the left channel for about .5 of a mile, There will be a feeder channel on the left that looks very small about 25 yards wide. Head up that, and soon you will come to some cottenwood snags and root balls stay in the main channel through them. Once you get though that the rest is pretty much reading the water. The latest i have ran up there was the first week in October. The cool part about runnung that late is the water clears up. I might be up there this weekend.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the information fellas. I called Mahay's this morning and Steve called me back. What a stand-up guy. He was very helpful and offered to give me instructions on how to get past the first mile if I stop by.

    Jimw, I'm shooting for a mid-morning launch. I'll have a canoe on top. Maybe we'll see you up there.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
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    Been up to Clear Creek a few times this year. First time running the river in our new Wooly Alaskan.

    If you're talking to Steve Mahay you're getting the best info available. Last post was correct, once you head up river stay left following the slough until it connects back to main river. From there up to Clear Creek its easy.

    Trickiest part is actually getting away from the ramp. As you are looking down the ramp, channel is to left, across to other side of slough. Then cut back to hug near bank close to Mahay's boats. I cut across upstream of bridge, than stayed left.

    Have fun. Maybe we'll see you there. Wooly 17' w blue top. Could use some tips for running Yentna. That's next on my list to explore.

  6. #6

    Default Just Below Larson Creek

    Mahay's will give you good info. Be careful leaving the launch, it is shallower than it looks right behind the launch. At least it was the first week of August. The info already posted to Clear Creek is correct. After the powerline, just below Larson Creek the river is choked with snags. There are a couple of places that are pretty tight. Are you hunting moose or bear or both? I've been going up there for over 20 years and moose seem to be scarce during hunting season. Bears on the other hand are plentiful. Good luck to you and be safe.

  7. #7
    Member Jimw's Avatar
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    Boud'arc
    I will be leaving town around 8:00am so that will put me up at the launch around 10:00-10:15 I will keep an eye for you. I will be at Clear or Fish creek.

    The launch is a challenge. I have yet to get in and out with out "touching" down. The instruction on getting in out are correct. Above Larson there are quite a few snags in the river so be careful.

    Once you hit the main channel after comming out of the launch and clear the back slough you will come to line of cabins, I may be tied up to the bank just below the last cabin going up river.
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  8. #8

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    Jimw,Thanks for the heads up. I'll look for you at the ramp if I can get my daughters in the truck on time.

    talkeetnakid, Hope to get a peek at your new boat. Congratulations. If you stick to the steep bank/deep water theory you'll be fine on the Yetna. There are a few exception but you can usually read them.

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