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Thread: May 21 bear float

  1. #1
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default May 21 bear float

    Hello, I have 2 friends flying up the last week of may. Want to take them on a 2-3 day float from the road system. Was going to float the gulkana but decided i want the chance at a brown or black bear. Im looking through my books, but just curious what others thought on that particular time for floating...
    NRA life Member JVJ

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Default more days

    I think you need to double your days.
    For myself, I would triple the days, if I was to consider the venture to be a hunt.

    Float hunts can be time consuming. It takes longer than expected to set up camps. It always takes much longer than I expect to break down camps. And these chores seem to take longer on "buddy hunts" if we bring along beer. On most float trips, I only cover about 15 miles, 15 miles straight as the crow flies, if I devote most of the day to raft floating. Although the days are long in May, I find it uncomfortable to raft more than 8 hours per day. And for passengers, even while fishing, an 8 hour daily float is a long time. Incredible long if it is raining.

    I know my suggestions all sound sort-of depressing. But I do really enjoy my float hunts. So unless your hunting friends are on a really tight schedule, I really suggest trying to stretch it out into a five or six day deal. Especially true....if you want to be successful. Successful as in killing a bear or two.

    I'm not even sure that I know of a road accessable two or three day float that might offer a reasonable chance at a black or brown/grizz bear. Generally speaking, the Gulkana River from Paxson Lake to Sourdough Campground is considered to be a five day float-n-fish trip.

    But...perchance someone else might have several suggestions for you.

    dennis

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    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default

    Yea, my buddies are not hunting buy i would... their only coming up for a week and i told them we would do a float, and of course bears make it more exciting. Im thinking of just floating the little su. I know with memorial day coming up it might start getting busy, but if i float it before memorial day i should not see too many boats. the gulkana is still not out of mind though from sourdough to richardson highway. im still reading away trying to find something. thanks vance
    NRA life Member JVJ

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    perhaps the chulitna along the parks.. through Denali State park... it is typically over looked as a spring bear destination as there is no baiting in the park.. with good populations of nice bears of both species...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default G is not a bad option

    Vance you might want to float as you were thinking from the start. If in fact the ice is out the bottom areas on the Gulkana do have bear. Just food for thought :-)

    Nothing like floating by the Pop Pop Pop from the brush in the Spring Time. Just be aware limited camping depending on the ice and water flow.

    Blue Moose

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    Default

    Wondering if the ice would even be out of the Lake to gain access to the river? I think not.

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Correct

    However from my understanding he plans on floating from Sourdough down to the Bridge and not start at the lake which would make the point mute however yes normal ice out from Paxson would not be till the 1st week of June and some years later more than earlier.

    :-)

  8. #8

    Default Kenai River?

    What about floating the Kenai and then doing a little hiking around for your bear?

    You could float the canyon and then hunt around Skilak Lake.

    I think the regs are different early and late in the season around the Kenai.

  9. #9
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    AKflyster might have just come up with the perfect hunt for akpride...

    And, akpride, do not overlook Kenai Lake. I believe it will be ice-free by May 21+-.
    That west facing and south facing slope 'tween quartz creek campground and trail creek, the mountain slope that comes right down to the water of Kenai Lake will have spring black bears out-n-about.

    Other, smaller nearby lakes have always been ice-free by late May during the last 20+ years. Does anybody ever keep track of ice-out on Kenai Lake??

    dennis

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    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default

    yea. the only problem with the kenai float is that brown bears are not an option unless i win my permit for the area. ive floated that area a ton and see many brownies on the river but only seen blckies on the russian. i think the chitna will be my float of choice as its a new river for me and away from all the memorial day action down south
    NRA life Member JVJ

  11. #11
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    Default

    I camp Kenai lake every memorial day May25th and its always completley ice free by then. My guess is much earlier than that. Have spotted many brownies and a few blackies. Great hiking, plently of lake to cover, great camp spots, usually spot around 15 goats.


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    Member OHTroy's Avatar
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    Default Kenai Lake ice out

    Ice was out by the middle of the May last year on Kenai Lake. FYI...We never spotted a bear from the lake. However, I would lean towards floating down towards Skilak. Your out of state friends will probably enjoy the float if you launch at Jims, just remember you are a long ways from the boat ramp on Skilak. A small outboard is recommended. Chulitna sounds like a good idea. Lots of floating and watching the shore, unlike lake hunting with lots of glassing the slopes and little forward progress. Do some research on the Chulitna in May, I don't know the typical water flow or class it might be that time of year.

  13. #13
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default chilitna

    well im floating the chilitna 3 rd week of may and am hoping for the ice to be out. i know its a little ways out but want to start watching the ice conditions. any info would be great
    NRA life Member JVJ

  14. #14

    Default

    I about the last 10 miles of the Chulitna before the Parks Highway Bridge over memorial day weekend last year. All the ice was very much gone that time of year, but it changes year to year of course. On a side note we say a decent sized black bear on the large open braids just before it gets necked down to one main river so there are bears there.

    Good luck.

  15. #15
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default

    bears are definately a plus but i am excited just to float a new river and get some city boys from vegas around some wildlife. i am going to chase down a brown bear this year. Thats one of my goals
    NRA life Member JVJ

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    Definitely stop at the mouth of Ohio Creek and hike upstream. In 7 Chulitna floats I've seen black bears there 4 times. Brownie encounters are a real possibility anywhere along that river so be prepared.

    I assume you're launching from the East Fork bridge (MP 186). Bring fishing gear. If the water is running clear the East Fork is a nice trout river.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  17. #17
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default

    Well I'm leaving Friday night for the chilitna for 3 days. Any updates on ice and bears? Or any info on the river and surrounding area would be fantastic.
    NRA life Member JVJ

  18. #18

    Default Chulitna

    Water was slightly low and a little cloudy on Sat. Def floatable.

  19. #19
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default

    That's what I want to hear. I'm so pumped to get on the river. It's been way too long. Hopefully the bears want to show up and te trout want to bite.
    NRA life Member JVJ

  20. #20

    Default fishing

    Trout fishingwill prob. be slow. Around this time most trout are making their way up tribs to spawn but I would bring the rods just in case. It is a nice float and we have seen bears on 4 of the 5 times we have done it. We are not hunters but there are a lot of bears back in that area.

    Just make sure your careful on the east fork. It can have some sweepers on it. I'm guessing not many people have been down in this year so just use caution when going around blind corners.

    Matt

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