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Thread: Floating Sag

  1. #1
    Member Sheepshooter's Avatar
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    Default Floating Sag

    Looking to get back into archery and hunt the haul road in August. Hoping to float a section of the Sag. Anybody have any experience on this hunt or recommendations?
    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Floating the SAG

    Click on Home, then Areas, then Nothwest and Artic Alaska, There you will see Sag River; click on that and there will be a description of a float from the Atigun to I think Franklin Bluffs on the Sag

    Good Luck, I will be doing the same thing next August 15 until I get one.
    Drive the road, spot them on the side, figure out how to float across to get them. Just remember, if you float the river to hunt, it is very hard to see what is above you in the hills, though you might get lucky in the river bottom.

    Me, I am going to spot/cross/stalk. Google Earth is a good tool to mark locations; Galbreath Lake, Toolick Lake, Oil Spill Hill, Ice Cut, Happy Valley, the Lupine and Ivasheck Rivers, and the Pump stations. Take a GPS.

    There are mileage markers that give you mileage from the start of the Dalton and also how far you are from Prudhoe Bay. These are great for calculating when you need to go to Prudhoe for gas or whether you have enough to make it over the Pass to Coldfoot.

    As far as the truckers are concerned, If one was coming or wanting to pass, I would pull over and give them as much of the road as you can, I had no trouble by doing this.

  3. #3

    Default Floating the Sag

    I was thinking the same thing. Not putting in at Atigun, but somewhere around Happy Valley down to Franklin Bluffs. I have heard that the Atigun down to the Sag traverses some class V rapids. I know from looking at the map that the gradient appears very steep. More than 50 ft/mile. Anyhow, the only problem with my plan is that my buddy and I don't want to have to drive two vehicles. And so far, we have not come up with a way to arrange the drop off and pick up. Maybe if either of you guys are going the same time that we go, we could arrange to help each other out. PM me if you are interested and maybe we could exchange phone #s

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Default

    I think if you "put in" around Atigun you are going to be doing a VERY long portage I believe the first place you could reasonably launch is around the DOT site (Pump 3). You can do about 20 mile stretches form there to the coast if you want. The biggest draw back is transportation between launch and exit...hitch hiking is very poor. Having two vehicles (or at least solid plans) beats siting on the side of the road for a few days hoping someone will pick you up.

    Once you float north of Pump 2 you need to really start paying attention to the river as it really starts to braid out. I think about 15 to 25 miles north of Pump 2 the Sag divides into three branches, the far east side actually leads you past the 5 mile corridor for rifle hunting I have been told. Staying close (west) to the road would be the way to go if you planned on a portage back to the road. Hope that helps a little.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    just north of pump 4 road crosses Atigun River. floatable but very serious dangerous water in a canyon that from what i have heard is NOT portageable.(sp) after it runs into Sag it has some serious rapids but do able / portageable. i have a a friend that did float it ( very experienced rafter).
    i would suggest putting in between slope mountain DOT station and pump station 3. ( access road just north of ps#3 there is or there is an access road that would be couple hundred portage to river) for longest float and pull out at mile 50 lauch if you miss that there is a spot a few miles down the river that is fairly close to road. there is large man made rock dike at that spot. if you go further roger45 is correct about braids stay to the west(left). from pump 2 ( ?mile 58) i would say it is 30-40 miles to the braiding. maps or google earth will show you for sure would be good hunting to that spot but pull out would be close to deadhorse. compare franklin bluffs to braids for landmarks.
    early august ...bring head net and alot of bug dope.
    after "ice cut" paved launch there are 3-4 mild rapids then flat water.?10-15 miles north of ps#3? mid way between ps#3 and Happy Valley

    GOOD LUCK
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    Default

    I had the same thoughts on floating the Sag. I declined after the first 2 deaths (drownings). Then during my last day of the hunt, Sep 16 09 we had our third drowning on the Sag. If your going to do it then know what you are doing and go prepared. I've pulled my fair share of corpses out of Lake Superior in WI because of simple mistakes. Asking on this forum is probably on of the best pre trip assessments that you can do though.
    Me and a friend are floating for a few days in aluminum canoes this fall for moose, but rapids are class I and II. Have fun.

  7. #7
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy jack View Post
    I had the same thoughts on floating the Sag. I declined after the first 2 deaths (drownings). Then during my last day of the hunt, Sep 16 09 we had our third drowning on the Sag. If your going to do it then know what you are doing and go prepared.
    BIGGEST mistake I have seen on the Sag is using a canoe (without major experience). Two folks load up and head down river, canoe at near max weight. One or two 'bou taken down, then the canoe is seriously over loaded. First rapids you flip! Not good. By and large the rubber boats fair much better, especially if you do not have class III or greater experience in a canoe. Life vests at ALL times IMHO. You really never have any sweepers, but this is a river that has steep downhills (rapids) generally on a curve in the river, where there is no easy shore landing. The water is generally colder than 40F in temp, so it will suck the breath out of you if you go under. It is also deceiving...you never want to get into a situation where you try to "wade" across it with any weight on your back!

    Lots of folks safely float long stretches of the Sag and/or the Ivashak each year. Seems to me that the pontoon rafts have the most fun (fishing all the way), rubber rafts the second most fun, and canoes white knuckled all the way! Hope that gives you some more ideas to chew on
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  8. #8

    Default Bring a bike

    If you don't want to bring two cars, bring a bike. 20 miles on a mountain bike is 2 hours. Drop the bike before and just ride it back to your vehicle. Just watch out for truckers.

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    Member Sheepshooter's Avatar
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    Default Excellent info

    Thanks for all the input. We will probably take and 12' and 14' self bailing rafts to allow for gear and meat if we fill tags.

  10. #10

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    would a 16' cat be to big for atigun gorge? I heard you can line it, though it's a bit tough.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Two

    Two years ago I picked up someone hitch hiking back from pump station 3 to Coldfoot. They had rafted that far from ??? and all the vehicles were in CF. Nice idea but I was the only vehicle he had stop if about five hours or so. So.... better be prepared if you hitch hike.

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    hmm...they started in coldfoot and floated north?

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    Member danjordan78's Avatar
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    Default Deadhorse

    I'm betting he meant to say Deadhorse.
    Dan

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    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    they might have been flown into the upper sag and floated out??????
    everything i have heard is that you can not line a boat thru there will try and get info from my friend that has floated the gorge. It will be a couple weeks before i'm back at work to try and locate him.
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    Thanks Nim....ya I didnt think of flying coyote out of cf..makes sense, duh on me :P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Two years ago I picked up someone hitch hiking back from pump station 3 to Coldfoot. They had rafted that far from ??? and all the vehicles were in CF. Nice idea but I was the only vehicle he had stop if about five hours or so. So.... better be prepared if you hitch hike.


    Just saw this tonight while looking for some other information. It was ME Dave in the bush picked up. Thanks again Dave! He stopped to "get a drink out of the truck" and after questioning me decided I was worthy of a ride. (I would have done the same.) I had been flown into the upper Ivishak River by Coyote Air with my Raft and Inflatable Kayak. Word is that it CAN'T be floated, but it was August and there was lots of water that year, so we got lucky. By the way it took 8 hours to get picked up, not 5.

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I hope everyone sees, going through the gorge off of Atigun, at the start of the Sag Is NOT the same thing as the Ivashak.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by John S View Post
    I had been flown into the upper Ivishak River by Coyote Air with my Raft and Inflatable Kayak. .
    Just retread my post and noticed a major mistake. I was flown to the upper RIBDON On that trip and floated out, not the Ivishak. Sorry

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