Landing on Colville River?
Hello Alaska Hunters & Pilots,
I was just wondering about the landing areas on the Colville River upstream from Umiat for hunting caribou? And if aviation fuel is available in Umiat or Nisqut in early August? A friend of a friend recomended that area.
There are plenty of gravel bars upstream from Umiat but i'm not sure about the gas. I know there is a small crew of people working there that might be able to help you with a specific location. We floated a good 100+ miles down the Colville to Umiat but only saw a few airplanes. We saw plenty of caribou along the way too. You might also want to check land ownership along the Colville, some of it may be native owned.
That picture looks like it could be somewhere near the Snake river in Idaho....
The Big Bar Airstip in Idaho
Good eye, that is the Big Bar Airstip located on the Snake River in Hells Canyon on the Idaho side. That day we could see a couple hundred elk on grazing on the Oregon side.
That is pretty country. A long time ago, 4 of us made the trip you describe. We flew in over the top from Bettles in a 206 and a little tail dragger (Aronca or Citibria-I forget). There was a nice strip (Killik?) between Anaktuvuk Pass and the Colville that we stopped at and then went to the river. Saw lots of caribou and grizzly bears, moose too. The little plane broke the port gear when taxiing on the rocks that resulted in a crumpled wingtip and an Alaska longhorn prop.
The two pilots left right away to get the necessary stuff for the little plane. They took the caribou that we already had and any uncecessary stuff. My friend and In hunted and camped for another 3 days. We would gather a little wood from the brush along the river (no trees) and pick up coal on the beach to burn in a coffee can.
The pilots never made it back before we had to leave. We made it to Umiat (OJ Smith was still there) and another friend came and got us from Bettles. All ended well.
I'm sure a lot has changed but that is a great place to be alone. Still making plans to go back in a jet boat. Getting too old to sleep on the rocky beaches. You will have a great time. Go before they build the road to Umiat.
Consider running a few shuttle trips to drop supplies from Coldfoot or Bettles area so you have your gas stashed and ready to use. I know a lot of fly boys who pre-stage areas up the Noatak in August so they are ready in September.
Enjoy your hunt!
Gulkana River Raft Rentals
Right on the river!
Rafts and camps
A friend flew up to Umiat last fall. The business was closed, and there was no fuel available. You should be able to contact Umiat ahead of time to see if they will be operating this fall.