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Mouth of the Susitna and upstream conditions

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  • Mouth of the Susitna and upstream conditions

    Hello all,
    As the days get longer the wheels are turning. This summer I am contemplating running my boat across from Anchorage on the rising tide to the mouth of the Susitna for a fishing/ camping expedition. Does anyone know how far upstream you need to go to avoid being trapped by the mud flats at low tide? Any idea on general depth of the river several miles upstream? I have gone downstream before but never that far. And lest anyone be tempted, yes I know being stuck in Cook inlet on the falling tide is bad, very bad.

    Any help appreciated!

  • #2
    I have never been to the Su from Anchorage, but I have been to the Little Su several times. My advise from my own experience is, on your first attempt anyway. Try leaving Anchorage 1-2 hours before slack low tide. Be careful its not too negative of a low or you will have trouble at the Ship Creek launch. But plan on entering the Su as close to slack low as you can, that way you can clearly see the channel and it will give you a good idea of the tidal swing by looking at the bank. My guess is you will have to get a pretty good ways up out of the flats before you don't have to worry about your boat going dry. I would guess that the tide can have an influence all the way up to Alexander creek or so, but Like I said I haven't done the trip myself.

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    • #3
      My 2 son's and I used to run from Ship[ Creek to the big Su regularly in the 70's and 80's but after 82 yrs my memory has a couple thin spots in it. We had it figured out that we had to leave Ship Creek a good hour or more before high tide "book time". Any later and you best figure on setting in the mud for the next high tide. in the 70's the best channel was up snug to the East bank of the Su.. but some time in the early 80's the best channel was up snug against the West bank of the Su. I believe once you get to the High Line, your far enough up river to not have to worry about tidal influences. I say that because we always tied up at the High Line to wait for enough incoming to make the run into Anchorage. Some things to remember. If the winds are strong coming out of Turnagain DON'T GO. Morning seas are calmer. your in an open boat, put on several layers and wear your rain gear. Much nicer if you've at least got a windshield. Take a deck of cards and a cribbage board to kill time waiting for tide change. I'm sure there are others on here who have fresher info.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Old John View Post
        My 2 son's and I used to run from Ship[ Creek to the big Su regularly in the 70's and 80's but after 82 yrs my memory has a couple thin spots in it. We had it figured out that we had to leave Ship Creek a good hour or more before high tide "book time". Any later and you best figure on setting in the mud for the next high tide. in the 70's the best channel was up snug to the East bank of the Su.. but some time in the early 80's the best channel was up snug against the West bank of the Su. I believe once you get to the High Line, your far enough up river to not have to worry about tidal influences. I say that because we always tied up at the High Line to wait for enough incoming to make the run into Anchorage. Some things to remember. If the winds are strong coming out of Turnagain DON'T GO. Morning seas are calmer. your in an open boat, put on several layers and wear your rain gear. Much nicer if you've at least got a windshield. Take a deck of cards and a cribbage board to kill time waiting for tide change. I'm sure there are others on here who have fresher info.
        Did you know Dave Ring......?? Back in the late 60's early 70's he had a contract with Chugach Electric to rebury the big power lines coming off Point McKenzie. I owned the land right on the point where 50 years ago was the airstrip, actually owned both sides of that strip. Dave Ring had two 160 acre homesteads on the point, and he had several set net sites there on the point. For years I would work for him, fishing and burying those power lines. He was a powerful and rugged old Alaskan. He was the only man I have ever watched pick up 55 gallon steel drums full of gasoline and set them in the dory. It is not the weight, it is that there is only 3/4" lip on end of the drum to grip with finger tips. The drums are about 345 pounds.
        "Essential......to Prepping for Survival, is to be able to segregate, what you think will happen, from what you hope will happen, from what you fear will happen, from what is happening".

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        • #5
          I don't recall a Dave Ring. but the Don't recall list gets a little longer every day it seems.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the Susitna information. Any other suggested sources for information? I have not heard of river charts that show depth. Do such critters exist and given the flexible bottom of glacial rivers could they be any good?

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            • #7
              That's because they don't exist. But, even if they did they would be horribly inaccurate from year to year. In some rivers from week to week there can be dramatic changes and fluctuations. Not just the channel location or the ever changing sandbars, but the amount of water flowing on any given day can change by several feet in depth.

              Honestly, I can't tell you how many places on my GPS that shows me running my boat across the bushes and trees.

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              • #8
                Yeah, I knew that , but not a lot of recent knowledge about the mouth out there. Guess ill have to work down stream carefully to scout.

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