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Thread: Moose Hunting Rivers with a Prop

  1. #1
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Default Moose Hunting Rivers with a Prop

    I have a 21' semi-v custom boat with twin prop motors. I'm looking to explore rivers around/near (relatively speaking of course) Fairbanks for potential moose hunting areas this/next fall. I know it's not the ideal boat for interior rivers, it was a compromise boat to be able to also go out on PWS. I've been in Alaska for nine years now, but this will be my first summer on the rivers.

    I have zero experience on the interior rivers, so I'm looking for some ideas on where to start. I'm looking for rivers that aren't too shallow because I need at least 12" and probably 14" once loaded down. I know water levels drop in the fall, so I need some ideas that will still have enough water then.

    I'm not looking for anyone's moose hunting spot, merely something along the lines of what areas of what river I could run with my boat. I'll go do the exploring myself this summer, heck that's half the fun.

    I'm definitley going to go explore the Yukon, but I was wondering if I can put in at Circle or do I have to go up to the Dalton Highway to put in. I've heard it can be some thin water near Circle.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Ok, maybe someone could point me to a resource that has water depth levels for interior rivers at various points along their course?
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    If you want an adventure run down the Yukon and up the Koyukuk. Ton's of information here about making the journey. Our group has run 100% on moose since I started tagging along.
    Tennessee

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    If you want to send me a PM with a phone number and good times to call I will give you a shout - The way I type it would take a long time to give you decent information. I have a lot of time on most of the interior rivers and would be glad to give some insight.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I would be on the lookout for a couple of jet's for your motor's then you have the best of both world's.

    Keep checking cgaigslist, and alaskaslist, sometime's they pop up and changing them over is'nt that big of a job. ( approx 30 min's apiece)

    Then your good to go on most of the river's in the interior. The prop thing is a tanana, yukon thing only, unless you want to buy a set of new prop's everytime out. ( the lake's will be friendly to you with props,)

    River depth's can change ever quarter mile on river's like the chena, salcha, etc. They can range from 10' in one place to 2" a quarter mile later.

    Don't know if that helps.

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    I know you are not going to want to hear most of what I'm about to recommend. I have a 21ft Wooldridge AK II with a 150 Honda with Jet/Prop. I bought this with the idea of going to Valdez and running the Salcha and Chena. My sled is a beast with the prop on and will carry more than I can put in it. It is a unpowered dog with the jet. I found that I could not carry very much in the salt with the jet and it was constantly getting fouled with floating trash and seaweed. As others have already said, the Chena and Salcha both have shallow spots that make running a large prop boat almost impossible. Both of these can be run in the early season while runoff was the water levels high. However water levels drop very quick and you can find yourself upriver without enough water to get home. There are many boats along the Salcha river to prove this point. The Tanana and Yukon are the best, and even those two have braided channels and sand bars. A large boat can be extremely difficult to get unstuck, and the quicksand like mud only makes it harder still.

    I would recommend that if you want to run the rivers you buy an old flat bottom jon boat. Get one big enough to carry what you need but not too big that you can't get out and refloat it, power it with an outboard and prop. The cost would be less than replacing the lower units on your big boat. Once you learn the channels and sand bars, you could then run your large boat.

    Drive out to the Fairbanks or Nenana boat launch next summer and have a look at the boats at the boat launch.

    I have 3 boats and will be adding to that number soon.

    Have to say that running a jet boat wide open up a skinny twisting river, can be quite fun....

    If you still decide to try your current rig, go early while the water is high.

    Weather like the last few days makes it seem like spring is just around the corner.



    Steve

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the information. So, it looks like my options are the Yukon or the Tanana. What places on both rivers are good to put in at that have deeper water? I know the Yukon at the Dalton and heading West should be deep enough for me to explore. What about heading East? What about putting in at Circle? What are some good areas of the Tanana?

    Thank you again.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    You can access the Tanana in Fairbanks with a prop via the lower Chena or off of Chena Pump Road. Nenana and Manly both offer access as well. The Yukon access is via the Tanana, the bridge, or Circle. I would stay down stream from Fairbanks on the Tanana with the prop. Up and down stream from Cirlce both offer deep water although going down is pretty braided and requires paying attention. Previous offer still stands - PM me if you would like some more specifics on any areas - I have been exploring them for a long time. Some good fishing and hunting opportunities to be had with your current boat.

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rambling Raven. PM on it's way.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Default Koyokuk

    I would not go to the Koyokuk. They are closing the season. There is no moose left on that river.. sorry.

  11. #11
    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Not sure if you're serious or not, but I wasn't planning on going that far for at least a few years.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member atvalaska's Avatar
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    Post better learn to "read" the rivers..

    i would find another boat to tag along with ...props start adding up if u aint been running rivers a while....
    WHEN IN DOUBT> THROTTLE OUT.......

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Follow the stern wheeler out of the chena pump campground, ( J/K ) Although if that thing can make it up and down the river?????

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    Most of the boats I see on docks on the lower Chena run props, mainly to run the Tanana, so certainly you could run the Tanana from the Chena on down. Also most of the Yukon could be run w/ prop.
    For years thats all people had and they got around, however it was mostly done w/ much lighter boats than what you are proposing.
    So, it is certainly doable, there just isnt much room for error when reading the river, so expect a steep learning curve.

    I have been some distance up the Tolovana and its plenty deep, I hear the Kantishna is the same for quite some ways.
    I think it would be a diifucult boat to start out with on the rivers, jet boats just are a lot more forgiving when it comes to rivers, but you can still get them stuck.......!
    I would think for a first time on the Yukon you would probably want tp put in at the bridge and head downriver.

    I take it this is a twin IB setup?
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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