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Kandik River

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  • Kandik River

    I'm thinking of running up to the Kandik next summer, from Circle. Does anyone have some good information on the trip and the river?

  • #2
    Not recommended

    Canyon at the lower end (it's a rock garden) and shallow water. Plenty of other choices out there.

    Michael Strahan
    Site Owner
    Alaska Hunt Consultant
    1 (406) 662-1791


    • #3

      Kandik river is a shallow slow moving river and depends on rain for water although jet boats have have gone 35 miles up river in a good year. (Very few good years). Johnson gorge is 25 miles from the Yukon, class III.

      The kandik is one of the better areas to hunt moose the problem is access,with low water I would recommend a small flat bottom boat or a airboat. Lots of areas to hunt below the gorge. There's a public use cabin at the mouth. The only local I know of is above the gorge. There maybe a outfitter dropping off float hunters 20+ miles above the gorge, I don't think it would be a problem. Hunt the swamps off the river and you should have a good hunt.

      I just talked to a person who has direct knowledge about the Kandik. The river was in good condition this year with lots of power boat hunters.


      • #4
        Depends on water level

        A long-time friend and former river resident said this fall the reef at 3-mile stopped just about every jetboat, though some were naive enough to try it and one party got stuck and holed their boat there, but luckily plenty of other boaters were there (just below the reef) to help them out. If the river is up, isn't a problem to run up to 20-mile or so with a jet boat. If it's low---as is customary in fall---then even a canoe will drag on most riffles, and there are several (like three-mile reef) that will flat out stop you. Any power boater knows it's much easier to go upstream than down, so I've never figured out why so many continually try to go through things they can never make it back down (with or without a moose in the boat).

        Plenty of longtime boaters use the lower river, and there are more coming all the time, from what I hear. I live above the gorge and don't usually see the boat traffic, just the float hunters. Had to help a party of float hunters this fall as the river was too low for them to make it out with the load and rafts they had. Called out and luckily a friend (air-taxi operator) had a cancellation and was able to come out and pick them up. Cost them a pretty penny too! They realized they'd never make their schedule and the transporter flying float-hunters out here is telling them (from what they say) it's an "easy three day float" from mile 70 or so. I suppose those with experience could pull that off if they went long hours and didn't hit any headwinds. Or if they didn't harvest all the meat off any moose they got and weigh themselves down.

        Low density moose population...fires have really changed things above the gorge. Lowest moose density I've observed in the 25 years I've been living here, only saw one set of wolf tracks this fall and covered a lot of upper river from mile 50 to the border. Lower Kandik is pretty river, good grayling fishing, pool-and-riffle stream, similar to upper chena and upper salcha but with more sweepers and 90-degree bends and turns. The lower river has really changed in the past few years and now many new channels blown out that divert the river and make it confusing to read, and make the main channels shallower. So it's gotten a lot harder for jetboats on the lower river.

        Larry and Jean's cabin at the mouth (now the property of the National Park Service as public use cabin) is a great place to stay, first come first serve, free, NPS doesn't allow reservations or anything. Some good pike fishing there at the mouth as well, and in the beaver sloughs on the lower river. Expect to be checked by NPS wildlife enforcement officers during hunting season. It's 80 miles of river from Circle to Kandik, beautiful upper-Yukon scenery with hoodoos, bluffs, lots of neat mining history. Several public use cabins along the Yukon as well, check with Yukon Charley website on those.

        Sign the logbook at the mouth cabin if you stay, we always enjoy reading about others' time on the river.
        Best, Mark Richards
        Mark Richards


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