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Thread: freighters on yukon rivers

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    Default freighters on yukon rivers

    Just wondering if anyone has travelled the white or donjek rivers in the yukon by freighter ? I hear it is shallow and rocky so just wondering if it freighter country? I wouldn't want to drag my hudson bay loaded with moose very far,would probably not be great on the hull.I would have done the bigSalmon last year but it was such a low water year. What has been your worst trip any of you have had with your freighters, low water dragging etc...

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    Member billy jack's Avatar
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    There's a book that you can find in just about any book store called "Two in a red canoe". Its about an Alaskan couple who floated just about the entire Yukon in a 17' red Old Towne canoe. I bought the book. Defenitely an adventure, highly recommemded.
    Billy Jack
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    The White & Donjek Rivers appear to be very shallow as you mentioned. I would not
    bother with either especially when if I could hunt the Stewart River.

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    I wouldn't want to go down the White from the Ak hiway bridge. As you said, very shallow. VERY shallow. Same with the Donjek below the Alcan bridge. Braided channel changes ofetn, and the glacial water is so dirty you can't see bottom until, well, until you are on it.
    Now going up the White from the Yukon river is another matter. That would be a fine trip (with some crafty river reading). Up the White to the Ladue is a good Moose trip.
    I've been up the Big Salmon all the way to The Logjam in August looking for Stones. Fun trip in a jet, but it would be a chore to get even a freighter canoe up very far, as the river gets very shallow and rocky for about 5km below where the north Big Salmon comes in.. Unless you were at June levels, you would be lining to get up.
    Having said that, going down from Quiet lake is a great trip. Bring a chainsaw to aid in getting around the logajams, and use a small kicker so that you carry it, and you would be good to go.
    Back to the White; below the bridge is pretty much air boat country IMHO.
    THe Donjek below the bridge, same deal. Although I know the outfitter bashes down it to the Nisling in a jet. Can't get up the Nisling very far due to incredible amounts of log jams/sweepers.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
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    I will be heading down the BigSalmon from quiet lake this year for sure, I might try heading up the white as far as I can when I'm on the Yukon in October this year. The lower section of the white should be great grizzly county with the late fall chum salmon run. The James Bay would be great for these longer trips, but I do think the lighter smaller HB is better in the smaller rivers with lower water levels.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Rocks, shallow water and Fiberglass.
    That is always going to be a tough one.
    I would imagine, ,,,, that a james bay would sit light on the water and not draft much,,, until,, until,, you start trying to fill it up .
    weight is the issue here I think on the shallow water keeping the boat really light is important. I dont have the recipe of displacement for the james bay vs Hudson bay with boat weight and draft, but that may be something you may want to figure out. you may find that on its own one boat drafts more than the other.
    I guess a question like this may be best answered by the manufacture.
    when I talk to Pat from scott canoes tomorrow, I will ask him if he knows the draft rates per each boat.
    that is pretty important info if you are in the rocky shallow waters ..
    Max
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    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  7. #7

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    Alaskacanoe, You and I talked about that poly-urea stuff at the boat show. If a fella coated the whole bottom keel with a thin layer of that wouldn't it protect the gel coat from the unexpected scrape on the bottom? I'm not talking about full speed jet boating but sometimes the rivers go down too fast and a guy might get caught and have to drag or rope come-along over a riffle or two to get back. What's your thoughts on a thin 1/8" layer for insurance?

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    I have been so amazed at how well that stuff holds up against scraping
    I have a canoe in my rental fleet that I have had that stuff on for about 4 or 5 years
    its like brand new
    and if you own canoes, you know the amount of wear on the keel line where the canoe exits and enters the water.
    I think it would really work well.
    there is also a product called Keel Guard that is applied , the outfit in anchorage that does fiberglass and plastic molding sells it and also will apply it.
    I think they are called C A C. they were at the boat show
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Thank you sir. Dang, I missed them at the show. A couple thick walled pvc pipe longbow cases on board that should work as emergency rollers.

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    Down the White in a freighter? Don't do it...
    Two years ago: two guys, two rafts, two moose, too dangerous and not too much fun! Good stories, though...

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    Default draft rates per canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    one boat drafts more than the other.
    I guess a question like this may be best answered by the manufacture.
    when I talk to Pat from scott canoes tomorrow, I will ask him if he knows the draft rates per each boat.
    that is pretty important info if you are in the rocky shallow waters ..
    Max
    That would be some great reading. Thanks in advance.

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    Bross: was the white very shallow? Probably many sweepers? I guess the good thing though is probably not many hunters and alot of moose.
    How was the lower white towards the yukon?

    thanks

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Google earth has some pictures of the whiter and of course many other rivers in different areas along their routes, as folks offer them up.
    That White River where it goes back into the Alaska from the Canadian side is pretty cool looking country.
    I see some cabins and stuff up around the head waters.
    Even guys on 4 wheelers etc hunting up there.
    The water at the bridge is plenty deep looking, but the maps and google earth show it very braided at many locations on its path ..
    ,,,,,,,,,,,, So So many cool places in this country to explore..
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Very shallow, and yes, new channels can have lots of sweepers. A few years back, between the bridge and Snag, the river had made itself a new channel though the woods, and it would not be a place you wanted to be in a motor boat.
    When (not if) you find yourself in a bad channel, being able to drag your boat to the deeper channel is so much easier than having to unload a larger rig.
    Below Snag, the river is narrower and less braided. The Donjek ups the volume considerably, but still very braided, and lots of sweepers where the new channels swing towards the banks. The river levels can rise or drop dramatically with weather changes up stream.
    Often, you find yourself being swept towards tight corners/sweepers, and being in a maneuverable canoe such as a Tripper with paddles would be much more confidence inspiring than having to depend on a motor which may or may not have enough water.
    If I was really bent on taking a freighter down the White, I'd put in at Snag, bring paddles for everyone on board, and pack light.
    It would be an adventure, thats for sure.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

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    Thanks for the tip about launching at snag.I will wait and see what water levels are like this year. A large paddle canoe or raft might be the ticket.I'm drawn to the white as I don't believe it gets much hunting pressure.

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