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Manley Hot Spring to Tanana with a heavy Thunderjet?

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  • Manley Hot Spring to Tanana with a heavy Thunderjet?

    Can you launch at Manley Hot Springs and run the lower Tanana Aug/Sept time frame?
    Do the river levels drop to risky levels? I have a 20' Thunderjet with inboard jet
    Is the launch at Manley on the Tanana River or on a little contributor ?
    I am very familiar with running the Big Su and other rivers just not this one
    Thinking of hunting the lower Tanana for moose

  • #2
    I launched at Manley a few years back with a 20' sea ark with a 115/80 outboard jet. There is also a "launch" directly on the Tanana a few miles away. When I was there, the launch on the Tanana was completely unusable, more like a cliff. The only boat that could possibly be launched there was a raft or canoe. If that launch is usable, I would launch there.

    The other choice is at Manley, that is a very, very low current slough. It is FULL of weeds and lilies. A nightmare for a jet, I was stopping constantly to pull weeds out of my intake. If you have a prop kicker, I would suggest going up and down the slough with that.

    As for running the Tanana, I have run that section of river once in the sea ark and once with a 23' North River Commander. Both times I did it, it wasn't too bad. You have to pay attention of course, but I didn't get stuck and didn't have any close calls. Only dicey spot for me was down near the confluence with the Yukon in the Squaw Crossing area. I'd be on your toes if you plan to go that way.

    One other bit of advice, the road to Manley can be bad at times, especially if it has been raining a lot.

    Good luck!

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    • #3
      There is places to launch on the Manley Slough and at the Tanana River too. The Slough can get skinny, most larger boats use the main river. No ramp just a sloped sand bank. People run large boats like that from Nenana down to Manley,,, it what it is, silty, braided river.
      "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"

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      • #4
        It's been almost 10 years since I launched into the Tanana at Manley and back then it wasn't a ramp really at all but like oakman said, more like a little cliff. The run down the Tanana can be pretty straight forward, as long as you are pretty decent at reading water, the area right before dumping into the Yukon (Squaw Point) can be sketchy though. It can definitely be done in a larger JB, but I would recommend doing it under the best conditions, ie., when the sun is in the right place and not in your eyes, always try and stay near the cut banks, and keep your GPS on, tracking the entire length so when you come back you can just follow your tracks.

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        • #5
          Where Manley Slough joins the Tanana R.there is a sand bar. I've scraped over it several times with a 20' inboard and been stopped by it on occasion.Water level is everything. As others have said the weeds can be a problem in part of the slough. Squaw Crossing is fun but the barge goes through it so there is a good channel. Last time I went through it was on the west side by some cut banks, but changes. I prefer to put in at Nenana and avoid the drive to Manley. Going that way Caribou Crossing is the only other place you need to know the channel. I've never seen the Manley ramp on the Tannana good for anything but loading and unloading the barge, or canoes and kayaks. Then it's like 3 miles into town.

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          • #6
            Having hunted out of Manley for about six years all I can supply is that there is nothing predictable about it. One low water year the river was a 10' cliff and the mouth of the slough a 'hit it full bore' affair. It's really not something one can plan for but we had local intelligence: Al Hagen, long gone now.....

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            • #7
              It all depends on water levels that time of year. For the last 2yrs it's been doable launching with a pickup. Retrieving the boat has been a 2 truck affair both times. Water dropped 3'-4' and it was raining. Slicker then "you know what".. Bring straps and have good tires. I tried the slough once. Sucked up more garbage then it was worth. If it's been raining or is raining on your drive to Manley, be advised that your boat and truck will be literally covered in mud.

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