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Noatak Tributary Float for Dollies/Caribou

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  • Noatak Tributary Float for Dollies/Caribou

    Two of my partners and myself are planning a week-long float hunt for caribou and I would like to fly fish for those big sea run dollies during the same trip. I've been looking hard at a few tributaries of the Noatak, namely the Kelly, Wrench Creek, and the Wulik, (not a trib). Just curious if anyone has done such a trip that combined caribou hunting with fishing for trophy dollies all on the same float in that area (unit 23)? I'm thinking mid-September, but would welcome any input you may have. Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sawtooth View Post
    Two of my partners and myself are planning a week-long float hunt for caribou and I would like to fly fish for those big sea run dollies during the same trip. I've been looking hard at a few tributaries of the Noatak, namely the Kelly, Wrench Creek, and the Wulik, (not a trib). Just curious if anyone has done such a trip that combined caribou hunting with fishing for trophy dollies all on the same float in that area (unit 23)? I'm thinking mid-September, but would welcome any input you may have. Thanks in advance!
    If you're primary goal is to catch huge sea run dollies, I would go to the Wulik. But if caribou is your primary objective, I would stick with tribs of the Noatak. There are a couple tribs that historically are better than others but I'm not going to advertise them on the internet. But I would advise you to do a little bit of research and call fish and game. But caribou are always hit or miss anyhow. And some years they close down most of the land (federal land) for caribou hunters anyhow. Another person I would advise you to call is Walt Maslen of Gulkana River Raft Rentals. He is also the owner of an outfitting company that services that area of the state. He knows a lot about the Noatak, the Wulik, and all the tributaries of the Noatak. I would give him a call. I have called him numerous times and he is very willing to help other people out and he's never charged me.

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    • #3
      Jack,

      Thanks for the reply. I've been in contact with Walt and he was very helpful. I understand about not advertising good hunting areas online, and totally agree!

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      • #4
        I would plan on fishing first. Once you have meat down, you need to keep moving! The bears are numerous on those drainages, your Caribou meat is going to attract them. The Wulik is barren and wind blown. The Koug, Wrench, & Kelly have trees and cover. The Caribou may not cooperate with your schedule, so more time for fishing...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
          There are a couple tribs that historically are better than others but I'm not going to advertise them on the internet.
          Hard to believe there is anywhere in Alaska the caribou are soooooooo dependable and nooooooobody knows about them!!
          I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
          I have less friends now!!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by martentrapper View Post
            Hard to believe there is anywhere in Alaska the caribou are soooooooo dependable and nooooooobody knows about them!!
            Sorry, not understanding your point. I'm assuming you are trying to insult me some how but it didn't make much sense to me. Please feel free to clarify. I like to know what people are saying about me, even if it is negative.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
              I like to know what people are saying about me, even if it is negative.
              Rather then negative, let's use the word skeptical.
              Let's start with the first part of your quote.................a couple tribs that are historically better than others. I don't believe the accuracy of that comment. Caribou are as predictable as the weather. Maybe you have had regular success in those 2 tribs but I am doubtful it is a regular, dependable occurance.
              The rest of your comment is really out there................"I'm not going to advertise them on the internet"! Are you a transporter in unit 23 trying to save your super good spots for yourself? You really believe that if you say a trib of the Noatak is regular good bou hunting that everyone and their brother will be there? On the Noatak? The place is already covered pretty well by transporters and guides. It's not like you can drive your truck from Anchorage to anywhere on the Noatak. Why mention these tribs in the first place if you don't want anyone to know about them. The whole statement comes across as someone trying to puff themself up because he knows something that nobody else does!

              Here is my advice for bou hunting in unit 23 to anyone who is not already familiar with that area. Talk to an ADF&G office near you, or on the phone from anywhere in the world. Get migration route charts. After years of GPS collars, ADF&G and the feds have charts showing the most common routes for spring and fall migration. Then use that info to fly your little plane to an area of heavy migration.............maybe you'll find a place to land and MAYBE...........just MAYBE there will be bou there. If you don't have a little plane, well maybe............just maybe you can convince a transporter to go there.
              Sawtooth............I highly recommend speaking with a person or 2 in the Kotzebue F&G office. Tell them about your hope to catch nice dollies and get a bou as well. See what they recommend. They might even know about Jack's secret spots! However, just because a place is good for something doesn't mean a transporter will drop you there.
              I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
              I have less friends now!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by martentrapper View Post
                Rather then negative, let's use the word skeptical.
                Let's start with the first part of your quote.................a couple tribs that are historically better than others. I don't believe the accuracy of that comment. Caribou are as predictable as the weather. Maybe you have had regular success in those 2 tribs but I am doubtful it is a regular, dependable occurance.
                The rest of your comment is really out there................"I'm not going to advertise them on the internet"! Are you a transporter in unit 23 trying to save your super good spots for yourself? You really believe that if you say a trib of the Noatak is regular good bou hunting that everyone and their brother will be there? On the Noatak? The place is already covered pretty well by transporters and guides. It's not like you can drive your truck from Anchorage to anywhere on the Noatak. Why mention these tribs in the first place if you don't want anyone to know about them. The whole statement comes across as someone trying to puff themself up because he knows something that nobody else does!

                Here is my advice for bou hunting in unit 23 to anyone who is not already familiar with that area. Talk to an ADF&G office near you, or on the phone from anywhere in the world. Get migration route charts. After years of GPS collars, ADF&G and the feds have charts showing the most common routes for spring and fall migration. Then use that info to fly your little plane to an area of heavy migration.............maybe you'll find a place to land and MAYBE...........just MAYBE there will be bou there. If you don't have a little plane, well maybe............just maybe you can convince a transporter to go there.
                Sawtooth............I highly recommend speaking with a person or 2 in the Kotzebue F&G office. Tell them about your hope to catch nice dollies and get a bou as well. See what they recommend. They might even know about Jack's secret spots! However, just because a place is good for something doesn't mean a transporter will drop you there.
                Wow, I guess I can thank you for honestly answering my question, but dang, not sure where all the hostility is coming from. I never claimed to have any super secret spots. But I think if you actually knew me and my character, you would know that I just don't make it a habit of advertising ANY spots over the internet. I don't care if they are in Kotzebue, Kodiak or anywhere in the state of Alaska. In my opinion, people should take the time to do a little bit of research for themselves rather than just ask for free handouts over the internet. But you are entitled to your opinion. Personally, I think you are being a little arrogant, narcissistic, and judgemental to assume that I am trying to "puff myself up" as you say. I don't need to puff myself up. On the contrary, I actually think all your insults and "tough talk" are really you just trying to puff yourself up. But, I will admit that you are right that caribou migrations are highly irregular and I'll be humble enough to admit that you probably know more about that area of hunting than I do. All I know about that area is from a couple of hunts I have been on out there and from research that I have personally done by talking to biologists from the ADF&G and outfitters/transporters and other hunters I know. So no, I don't claim to be an expert of that area by any means, but I do stand by my opinion that I "believe" that there some rivers that are probably better or more productive than others for caribou hunting, but I can't say I whole lot of experience in that area and that is why I recommended him to call Walt, because I feel like he is uniquely qualified to give specific advice about rivers and hunting locations in that area.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the input so far. Based on our dates of the last 10 days of September, those big dollies may be gone. So, the focus may be more on caribou hunting and less on fly fishing, but I'm still going to take a couple of rods!

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                  • #10
                    Sawtooth, don't take it personally, MT is a hostile individual by nature...

                    If i may translate for him and others in that region: There is a tense and ongoing conflict with non-local and non-native usage of the Western Arctic Herd of Caribou that migrate through the boundaries of GMU 23 and 26A (to name just two GMUs). The locals are claiming that non-local non-native hunters are disturbing the caribou (by little planes) and contributing to their tardy migration close enough to their villages where stress is reduced for thousands of families. When caribou dont migrate timely, locals get frustrated and non-local hunters are the first to get blamed over climate change.

                    No one is interested or willing to just say online, go here! And if you learn where to go and ask about that spot, you'll likely get flack there too.

                    Try to hunt the first 10 days of september, because dollies might still be there in good numbers but only on the north side of the Brooks. If south of the brooks, late August to early september is your target...but go as far EAST possible (Howard Pass region) and wait on the movement (cold weather).

                    Don't expect to float and hunt/see caribou moving southward toward the Noatak until after September 10 most years. If you go North of the Brooks, you'll do okay either earlier in the EAST or later in the WEST sectors, using Howard Pass as your right margin and the Wulik river your west margin. Earlier being mid august to early sept and Later being september start to finish.

                    Don't expect to linger in Kotz, just be respectful and mindful of your image. no camo, no brag reports, just courteous travels in and out of airport to and from charter office.

                    Watch this video: [video=vimeo;201352852]https://vimeo.com/201352852[/video

                    https://pristineventures.com

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                    • #11
                      Larry,

                      Thanks much for the reply and the background info. I have no intention of ever asking for "go-to" locations, and that wasn't really the focus of my post. My post was more geared toward input regarding dolly/hunting combo float.

                      We have September 18-Oct 1 on the calendar. South of the Brooks, Noatak tribs. I'm sure the big dollies will be gone by then, but I'm taking a fly rod just in case.

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