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Thread: Koyukuk River Blues

  1. #1
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Koyukuk River Blues

    What is worse than not drawing any tags??? Having your hunting buddy whom you have booked a moose hunt with in Kotz draw an early season Koyukuk tag. Who could blame the guy for changing plans and hunting that tag right. So, what is two crazy moose hunters to do?? Well after a late night brainstorming phone call we decided the only thing we could do was hunt both of course. My credit card is smoking just thinking about it. So we are going to try to get him a bull first and then it will be my turn in Kotz. Going to be an awesome moose season.

    I just can't bring myself to cut the antlers and would choose to go along as cook and bottle washer...LOL Maybe I will get some nice photos.

    Would welcome any tips or lessons learned. We would also like to join up with another boat for the run.

    Steve

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    What is worse than not drawing any tags??? Having your hunting buddy whom you have booked a moose hunt with in Kotz draw an early season Koyukuk tag. Who could blame the guy for changing plans and hunting that tag right. So, what is two crazy moose hunters to do?? Well after a late night brainstorming phone call we decided the only thing we could do was hunt both of course. My credit card is smoking just thinking about it. So we are going to try to get him a bull first and then it will be my turn in Kotz. Going to be an awesome moose season.

    I just can't bring myself to cut the antlers and would choose to go along as cook and bottle washer...LOL Maybe I will get some nice photos.

    Would welcome any tips or lessons learned. We would also like to join up with another boat for the run.

    Steve
    Dang Steve that will be an epic moose hunting season no doubt.

  3. #3
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    My wife will be away serving our country during that time so It will give me something to do to make the time pass. When she ask me who called at 1:30am and what was so important that we had to talk about it for almost 2 hours, I explained the situation and bless her heart she said "I think you should go and check it out" Got to love her!!! She really wants a big bull so she is jealous. Smells like adventure, I'm so thankful for the state we live in and to be able to enjoy it.

    Steve

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Which is the better starting point from Fairbanks, Manley Hot Springs or the Yukon River bridge??

    Steve

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Why didn't you both put in for Koyukuk tags? ........if either one draws, both get to go right? And from what I have seen and heard, there's more than enough nice bulls up there.

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    I am feeling your pain stid. hope we can get you through next fall without a break down from all the pressure. it'll be tough but folks are here for you.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Our plans to hunt were made while waiting for the results. No problem, this way will really work out for the best when you think about it other than the cost. Each hunt will focus on one shooter. We will also only have to handle one moose at a time and we all know that one moose and two hunters is plenty. I'm excited for Him and look forward to exploring new areas and opportunities. Plus I hear the pike fishing is to die for and I love pike fishing.

    Steve

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    Default Koyukuk River

    Steve:
    I have hunted the Koyukuk River drainage on 3-occasions. I am not sure where your buddys permit is for however, the first year we hunted the Kateel River as deep back as we could go. The next two times we hunted the 3-day slough area. Lots of lakes not too far off the river. I had friends that always put in on the Bridge at the Yukon. Long trip from there. I don't know if he does it any more as it has been 12-years since I last hunted there, but we always flew into Galena and rented boats from Roger Huntington. He is the son of Sidney Huntington and a very important leader in that area. He and his wife Carol are two the nicest people you would ever want to meet. Northern Air Cargo flew our gear out and we took a commuter from Fairbanks. Three years three moose. Largest was a 62" with 5-brow tines on each side. 58" and 54" round out the group. Each time we went we filled up and the longest haul was less than 80-yards from the river. Watch the low spots on the Yukon west of Galena and stay in the deep channels. Good Luck.

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    Default starting point depends on the adventure

    I've always started from the bridge. In the past, the slough at Manley could be a problem. Now there is a launch out on the main channel. I've heard good and bad about it. I'd like to someday get up in the morning, kiss my wife, grab my coffee, walk down to my launch, and leave right from my house on the Chena. That would be way cool.
    Here are some mileage figures for you starting from the bridge. Manley is about 75 miles from Tanana, 50 less than starting at the bridge. As I recall, and I've never done this, FAI to TAN is about 225 miles. Somebody that has done it needs to chime in here.

    Bridge-Rampart 54
    Rampart to Tanana 68 122
    TAN to Nowitna 79 201
    Nowitna to Ruby 42 243
    Ruby to Galena 53 296
    Gal to Koyukuk R. 31 327
    Koy river to Ellas Cab. 19 346
    Ella's to Kateel R. 73 419
    Kateel to low 3-day 10 429
    Low 3-day to U-3-day 24 453
    U-3day to Dulbi R. 31 480

    Each operator needs to know what his boat will haul, at what speed and at what fuel consumption. These trips are real eye openers for guys who run around all summer with mom, the dog, and a cooler of beer and figure they can get the same performance on this trip. Not to assume you would, of course. Good luck, have fun, and watch for mud bars. They can be a real bugger.

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    I have spent a lot of time on the lower Tanana and have made many trips from Manly to the Yukon. The launch at Manly into the Tanana is just a cut in the mud bank but we have never had a problem launching there over the years. Manly slough is normally full of weeds and the mouth can be a little tricky some years but we used to run it regularly.

    I have run from the Yukon bridge down on a few occasions as well.
    Pros of starting at the bridge:
    *The Yukon is a much easier river to run - the lower Tanana takes a little more attention in some areas.
    *Better road and a little closer
    *Better boat ramp
    *More traffic if you need assistance
    *More of a public parking area for security of vehicle

    Pros of starting a Manly:
    *50 miles shorter each way
    *You can add squaw crossing to the list of places you have run your boat

    My mileage figures are almost the same as River Rats - I had 297 to Galena and 470 to the Dulbi River - Then again my figures were made using a topo map prior to owning a GPS.

    Ak River Rat - do you normally hunt the early or late season?

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    Default season preference

    I like to hunt late if possible. I pray for a couple of heavy frosts that kill off the mosquitoes and especially the gnats. I like the coolness in the mornings and frost if I can get it. I like the bulls to be wild, woolly, and smelly. I like my eyes watering in the cold air when running the open skiff. And I am not sure there is anything like seeing a bull coming in blowing steam out of his nose on those colder days. Yep, I like late season.
    Too, late season water is usually lower water. Very low water makes a river easy to read. All the hazards stick out like sore thumbs. It's all those long days running at medium water levels that gets tricky.
    As for the Manley route, 50 miles makes the trip to the truck shorter by 1.5 hours or more. That can make a difference as to which day you get off of the river. I've pulled into the bridge well past reasonable running hours. Heading all the way to FAI via the Tanana R. adds a full day to get home over the other routes.
    I thought Manley had a concrete ramp out on the main channel on the island? Supposedly you don't run the slough anymore?

  12. #12
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Rat and Raven you guys are awesome. I owe you lunch.

    Steve

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    Default Oh baby

    Moose burgers on the grill? With chips and a big dill pickle? And a cold beer? You da man Stid!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    If I'm bringing the meat this spring, it will have to be Kodiak Blacktail burgers. The swamp donkeys have given me the slip the last couple years. Just name the time and date.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    Moose burgers on the grill? With chips and a big dill pickle? And a cold beer? You da man Stid!
    I still have plenty of Moose Jalapeno Chedar dogs - but they only go with good bottled beer!

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    I figured you must hunt late as I hadn't bumped into you out there. Sounds like we traveled the same path on a lot of years but I am normally in and out before you get there. I do agree with all the pluses you mentioned of the later season - Especially the gnats (we have a few other choice names for them)

    I wasn't at the Manley ramp the past 2 years but every year before that was the same - concrete ramp into the slough and a mud bank into the Tanana.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    I like to hunt late if possible. I pray for a couple of heavy frosts that kill off the mosquitoes and especially the gnats. I like the coolness in the mornings and frost if I can get it. I like the bulls to be wild, woolly, and smelly. I like my eyes watering in the cold air when running the open skiff. And I am not sure there is anything like seeing a bull coming in blowing steam out of his nose on those colder days. Yep, I like late season.
    Too, late season water is usually lower water. Very low water makes a river easy to read. All the hazards stick out like sore thumbs. It's all those long days running at medium water levels that gets tricky.
    As for the Manley route, 50 miles makes the trip to the truck shorter by 1.5 hours or more. That can make a difference as to which day you get off of the river. I've pulled into the bridge well past reasonable running hours. Heading all the way to FAI via the Tanana R. adds a full day to get home over the other routes.
    I thought Manley had a concrete ramp out on the main channel on the island? Supposedly you don't run the slough anymore?

  17. #17
    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks for all the great info. Looks like I will be making my first trip this Sept (DM830).

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    Amen, AK River Rat on all that you have said about this hunt. Didn't draw it this year. Best of luck to all that did and be careful. Best advice I can give is to give yourself plenty of time on both ends of the hunt and (weight considered here) be prepared for anything that might pop up ie... safety gear, extra parts, props, first aid kits etc, etc.
    Truly an awesome part of this world.

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    My partner and I will also be hunting DM830. My first year in this area was 1998, I only hope the experience is as good this time.

  20. #20
    Member willster33's Avatar
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    Default The hunt

    I did the Dulbi River late season hunt two years ago just to learn what it takes to do a long remote Yukon River hunt. I went with a fellow who had hunted the area ten or twelve times before but had not been in a while. It was a very expensive hunt but I learned a lot and discovered some things about my tub that I thought I had handled. My payload was no where near what I thought it should be, I had lots of deck space and thought I could fill it all up. We took way to much gear and had to leave some of it behind when we came out, we even set four fuel drums on the river bank on the way in because we could not get on step out of Galena with all the weight and we were just pushing water. My hope was to get the fuel back on our way out and save the extra fill up in Galena; we only found one drum. If we could have stashed the fuel better we would have but we quickly discovered how heavy a thirty gallon drum of fuel is when you are moving it along a muddy or steep bank. The steering box broke on the way in and was completely striped out by the return trip and the last hundred miles were touch and go and cold because we had to smash a copper pipe flat and drive a fillips head screw driver through the flattened end of the pipe so we could bolt it to the jet pump and help steer the boat. What a tripJ. The head net is of paramount importance on a hunt like this, the bugs can ruin your hunt if you are not prepared for them, I say take four and sell one to your buddy when the beer is low and he has a hole in his from an unfortunate brush with a branch or whatever. I did draw the DM830 tag this year and I am stoked to be going back with out having to destroy the antlers. Last time I bagged a 60'' bull and that was awesome. This will be my third year in a row hunting the Yukon River and the first time with a tag. I hope the water level is high and the temperatures are cool.

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