Can anyone give me tips on floating the Ivashak, what air costs are, how is August for floating, do you have any recommendations for who to fly with, and any other helpful hints. Any info is appreciated.
Happy Valley- SeventyNorth, Deltana (forum sponsor)
Coldfoot/Galbraith Lake- Coyote Air
Galbraith Lake- Brooks Range Aviation
Plan on $1500.00+ for one way
Aug? Water can be up or down, depending on rain. Easy float. Caribou in velvet until very late Aug, early Sept.
Ibex very well put enjoy the rep Point. Only other thing I would adddddd is bring your fishing gear and chase some nice Char!
I floated it last August. We started fairly far into the Brooks Range and it took us about 32 hours to float the approximate 80 miles to the takeout. However, we had higher than normal water for most of the trip. We flew in with Seventy North. I believe he is charging $850 a trip. For 2 adults, 2 kids, and gear it took us two trips.
The river is very braided and very shallow in most reaches. Pack light and plan on dragging. Our first day in the mountains we floated about 10 miles and had to drag about 3-4 times an hour. For the next 4 days we had almost continuous rain which brought the river up quite a bit. We probably only had to drag about 3-4 times a day after that. It's a beautiful trip, few people if you go before sheep season opens, and lots of caribou walking through camp and crossing the river while you float.
Don't miss the good food and hot shower in Coldfoot on the way back.
thanks for the input fellas, much appreciated
josh, wait in camps as much time as you can before floating. Bou and griz, maybe wolves show up when you're stationed at a look out. This way you can get some hunting in before passing other groups. Expect this corridor to eb crowded as of late. At least 4-5 air services drop groups there now.
If water levels are low, wait it out. levels fluctuate daily in weather patterns. If rainy, move camps higher above water line so your stuff doesn;t get flooded. Wait out high water, which usually drops substantially after 24 hours post rain. If low water, expect dragging, especially around foothills. Aufeis has been melted off by august these days, but some years it still exists up to many feet high. Never know what you'll get until that year.
char show up in august and get hungry. spinners and spoons that flash work best. find holes and pockets where water is deep, and you'll find some lunkers waiting on your hooks. good times for sure.
bring a camera.
expect 30 degrees F to 70 degrees F...cold one day, warm the next...or not! Great place to spend some weekdays in august.
Bring rafts or canoes with high floatation and pack light for dragging threats.
Thanks Larry, I recently purchased a Sotar Radical, whick I am told you had a hand in designing. Can't wait to try it out. See you out on the water.
sweeeet! you'll love it. paddles work well with this raft too, if you're not rowing. If rowing, oar saddles and 8.5' oars. I've always used polecat oars by sawyer on this rig and have worked well. frames are overkill on this raft. dude, have a great hunt.
I have floated it the last 3 years now.
I have had Randy with Alaska Goldrush Adventures run us up in his airboat. $800 a person and he picks you up at the take out.
My next trip which will be in a couple years will be higher up by air taxi or the Canning.
First year I floated Aug 22nd - 30th - Very low water. We had 2 rafts and 9 caribou and lets just say we spent some quality time dragging. #3 purple or blue vibrax was a killer for grayling and some char. Big silver spinners the size of a #6 vibrax or bigger with a smaller hook worked well with the char. Cast upstream and let it drag the bottom and slow retreive. There is some monster char in there but low and slow is the key to retrieval. Purple Egg Sucking leaches or black worked well with a fly rod for both.
The Ivishak gets some people on it which I am surprised people haven't been complaining about yet. All of our nice bulls came from spotting from camp and going after them with an average shooting distance from the river of a mile and a half to 2 miles on the gps.
We had a bear steal a caribou this year but never seen him. Did see some foxes.
The second year we floated Sept 1st - 9th and we shot 6 bulls. Once again on average a mile and a half off the river. Seen wolverine but couldn't get on it. No bear this year. Did see a few moose and found some sheds. Water was nice this time and we didn't drag unless we read a channel wrong and it was a quick fix and off we went again.
last year we went the first week of August and the water was WAY high. You could run a jet boat as far as you wanted I think We took 8 caribou and never had to drag. Once again the big bulls were a mile and a half off the river. We seen a monster bull moose that I am sure was over 65. No bears again but lots of Ptarmigan.
Fishing is always rock star status on the ivishak. After our first year we only take half as much food as we eat a lot of fish. Big grayling and Big Char are in order for this trip. Smooth rocks below the ice fields where we always go so your boat usually fairs well. Take lots of spinners as the boulders love to eat them doing the low and slow retrieve for char.
I always take a case of presto logs for camp fires as the firewood is limited a lot of the time.
As Larry says water goes up and down fast so camp on a bluff. Better view anyways and you should be packing light enough it isn't a big deal to pack camp.
This was a trip I started as I wanted something easy to take my 7 year old the first year. We got hooked on it. It is a lot of work but fun.
Weather - Seen it all while being there. Fog, rain, wind, snow, ice and down to zero at night and 70 in the day. It's the north slope so expect it. If you go before August 15th the bugs can me NASTY. After that they seem to kick the pail for the most part.
Did I mention you won't be alone :-) I personally don't mind seeing guys floating by. I never hunted near anyone and peple always kept their distance.
Floating the river pretty much hug the channels left all the way down until you hit the Sag for deeper water. The take out on the back channel of the sag is usually marked so you know what channel to take or if you miss it you can float to one of the gravel dikes off the haul rd and take out there if you aren't getting picked up by a plane.
lots of good stuff, thank you, I am so excited to go, can hardly wait
Would an 18 foot NRS cat with 3 people work on this float middle of August for caribou?
Your cat will work, but pack light. Almost backpacking style would be my reccomendation. The heavier you are the more you will drag. And you will drag...it just depends on how much. The river is plenty wide so that will not be an issue. Due to it being so wide and braided it's very shallow in many places.
Thank you, Birdstrike. I am hoping to add 4-bou to the load. I would add my 16' Soar to help disperse the load, but my pals are not floaters or canoers. I'm hoping for some water....
I guided up the Sag for sheep in the 90's. Loved seeing (at times) clouds of ptarmigan, sheep, caribou, the occasional moose, muskox, and bear. A very special land. A long drive....