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20' Freighter Canoe of Lake Louise & Susitna Lake?

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  • 20' Freighter Canoe of Lake Louise & Susitna Lake?

    Got a cabin halfway up Susitna Lake, and a line on a nice 20' freighter canoe, 5' beam, 30hp 4 stroke Honda outboard. Posting here cause I can't really call this a canoe, definitely a power boat. General thoughts on whether or not this would be a good boat for general service to and from the cabin along with fishing for lakers?

    figure with 1000 pounds it ought to draw 4" - 6" so worst case I could line it through the shallow part of the Louise/Susitna channel. With a 5' beam it should be stable enough for fishing, though I'll have to figure out how to put a Hummingbird transponder on it.

    My real questions is will I be able to get through the worst of the afternoon chop? Running into it I'm sure I'll get wet, although this particular one has a substantial spray rail on it. How do you think it will fare in a following or beam chop on those lakes?

    I've also got a 25hp Tohatsu with bot a prop and jet drive that I could use but don't see any reason to downsize the hp.

    It is also a very handsome boat which has value in my mind. However, is there any reason I ought to just go with a 16' or 18' Lund?

    Thanks,

    Deep River

  • #2
    That would be perfectly fine as long as you don't go out in any of the truly bad stuff that can pop up out there. My grandparents originally had a 16 foot wooden boat they built themselves that they went to our cabin on Susitna since back in the 50's and 60's when my dad was a teenager. There can be storms out there that I wouldn't take my 21 foot wooldridge out in unless it was an emergency.

    Seafish

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    • #3
      I would only trust your canoe in settled weather. I have been on Susitna, and or Louise when big winds arrived in a 10 minute period. Coming south from Susitna to Louise can be completely different between the bodies of water. Frequently coming south back into Louise from Susitna, south winds create a large build up of waves on the north end due to the shallow water and the way it shoals up out over a quarter mile or more out. I have been there on more than one on sad day when boats were swamped and people drowned. Even experienced people who have been up there a long time. It's no really about whether your canoe will handle the water there. Its really about your ability to make good, informed decisions when traveling between lakes, along with your ability to say its sometimes better to sit for a while, than to head out into unknown circumstances that have been proven deadly in the past.

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      • #4
        So,

        I get it. Those lakes can dish up more than should be attempted in any boat. Discretion will always be the greater part of valor. Still, I'm wondering how you would compare a 20' freighter canoe to your typical 16' or 18' semi-v bottome riveted aluminum lake skiff for regular use on Louise/Susitna.

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        • #5
          Deep river. My buddy has both and he prefers the 20’ freighter canoe over his 16’ v bottom. I also have a place on Susitna and love it. Like everyone else said. Pick your days especially if there is weather. You know.
          Colin

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          • #6
            I've run lake Louise, susitana, tyone lake, tyone river, tyone Creek and all the way to the big susitana and back to lake Louise in more square stern canoes than I can recall.

            ​​​​​​Also, same canoes up mendeltna creek into old man lake, little lake Louise Creek into little lake Louise.

            I prefer the versatility of a canoe. A lake buzzard boat won't get you away from the swarm of lake buzzards
            www.freightercanoes.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
              I've run lake Louise, susitana, tyone lake, tyone river, tyone Creek and all the way to the big susitana and back to lake Louise in more square stern canoes than I can recall.

              ​​​​​​Also, same canoes up mendeltna creek into old man lake, little lake Louise Creek into little lake Louise.

              I prefer the versatility of a canoe. A lake buzzard boat won't get you away from the swarm of lake buzzards
              Mainer,

              I've read about the "can opener" rocks on Tyone River, and wonder if you think the layup on this freighter (2 layers of 3/16" mahogany plywood, cold molded at 90 degrees to each other and then a layer of 10 ounce s-glass on the exterior, all bonded with epoxy resin) would stand up to hitting those rocks at displacement speed, say 12 mph? I think it will work great in the lakes but I know if I get this freighter I'm going to want to try taking it down (and up) the rivers. I could always replace the 30 hp Honda outboard with a surface drive of some sort but wonder if the boat itself will stand up to river use.

              Thanks for your input,

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