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Floating the Gulkana with a Cataraft

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  • Floating the Gulkana with a Cataraft

    Would I be able to float the Gulkana from Paxson to Sourdough with a 16' NRS cat? Looking at floating the end of June or the first couple weeks of July. I know about the portage so any thing else I have to worry about?

  • #2
    Contact Stewart at Big Ray's and he can fill you in on the info.
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    Heavy Hitter Fishing
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heavy...54441957966186

    Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Pro-Staff

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Docins View Post
      Would I be able to float the Gulkana from Paxson to Sourdough with a 16' NRS cat? Looking at floating the end of June or the first couple weeks of July. I know about the portage so any thing else I have to worry about?
      You will not have any issues with a 16’ cat. Plenty of 18’ cats and round rafts float it every year. I have floated it 3 times in my 15’ round raft with a family of 4 and a dog. Some people use an outboard for the Paxson crossing. However, I’ve always preferred to just row the 2 1/2 hours to the outlet and then not have the extra weight and hassle of the engine. The outlet of Paxson can be low and the next few miles are the most challenging IMO due to the narrow, shallow channel with lots of rocks. Once the Middle Fork joins you will have twice the water and more enjoyable floating. There are lots of videos on YouTube, etc showing the class III Canyon rapids. Depending on water level, the best line involves dodging rocks through the center, taking the right drop, back to the center to finish, and then pull hard river left to re-join your cheering family & friends. The most conservative approach is to portage everything (lots of work), portage just the essentials (less work), or just run it loaded (not for first timers). The next few miles are constant boulder dodging and make for a long day. The camping is good, the fishing usually great, and the overall adventure excellent. Enjoy!


      Take a toilet and pack everything out. Your fellow floaters will appreciate it.

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      • #4
        Yes, but if the water is low you will have difficulties dragging the raft for the first few miles out of Paxson lake and also for about 8-10 miles after going through the canyon.

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        • #5
          A 16 foot Cat is a go for sure. We have our first groups of the season on the river right now so I can give you a real time update in 3 more days. The river is running high which is easier than the low water we suffered through last summer. Th canyon is much easier at 3000 cfs than at 1500 but run empty. One of the issues in the canyon is running up on rocks and cats can be a real problem. Scout the canyon and run her river center and river right and you will be fine!

          Walt
          Gulkana Rafting
          907-259-4290

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