Hunting down the coleville



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  • Hunting down the coleville

    I am wondering if anyone has any more info on hunting the coleville river. during sept. From what i have heard (and please correct me ifI am wrong) the upper part of the coleville is fairly good for caribou and the lower part is good but not great for moose. I was also told that there are quite a number of bears in that upper region of the river.

    On another note what kind of speed is expected out of the coleville is it a fast moving river or slow. From what I have been seeing from topos and elevations it looks kinda slow. I am wondering if it is possible to get 8 mph or faster.

    Also has anyone ever use the spot emergency locator. how well do they work in alaska?

    Thanks everyone

  • #2
    Originally posted by mnranchergal View Post
    I am wondering if it is possible to get 8 mph or faster.
    I do not know anything about the river, but 8mph is pretty darn fast for a river. Too fast for float hunting and certainly too fast to fish very well...

    About the spot locator....someone posted a thread about his experience with a spot a few months ago...Im sure if you searched 'spot' you could dig it up...If I remember correctly, it worked well for him...
    pull my finger....


    • #3
      I hunted the Colville in Sept. of 2007. We did a fly-in drop off so am not sure how fast the river is. We did see two guys on a raft going by camp one day and they were moving pretty decent pace. Check your regs, if you don't fly into a regular airport you can't hunt moose down there that time of year. From what the wildlife guys and others have said up here lately it looks like the moose population is about to crash. We saw about 40-50 bou total in ten days, no big migration going through where we were. Saw one griz about 3/4 of a mile away and no time to try and stalk. It is beautiful country. Fishing is best on the smaller streams that flow into the Colville.


      • #4
        PM sent

        Check your private messages.


        • #5
          I don't know a lot about the Colville, but did have some friends that floated it several years ago in Sept and due to an early freeze up could not finish their float. They had to wait about 10 days to 2 weeks for the ice to get hard/thick enough for a plane to land in order to get picked up. They were air dropped extra supplies and food while waiting for the ice to reach sufficient thickness. Sort of a FYI tid bit. Good luck.


          • #6
            From what i have looked at this river could be a bit tricky. I just dont want to have to drag my raft 20 miles or portage it every other day with a full load of meat. we are planning on doing about half of the river but I was told the bottom half is actually the hardest to navigate with all the side streams. Is their much for river blocks, sweepers, and the like.



            • #7
              If unable to find anyone who has already actually floated the Colville you might check either Mike Strahan's or Karen Jettmar's book in the book store on this web site.


              • #8
                Bad info

                I replied to your pm, but I wanted to let others know that someone is giving you bad information. If it is coming from fish and game, so much the worse.
                The first thing is the moose hunting in unit 26A. If you go to you can pull up the state regs on that unit (or any other). In all of unit 26A it says that you can not use aircraft for moose hunting unless you have a special drawing permit or are using a public airport. In short, no bush flights for moose.
                The next thing is that your planned drop off is near the headwaters of the Colville River. It will be a small stream for a couple of hundred miles. It is much further west than I have been. In the fall the water levels tend to be at their lowest. It may not even be floatable in the upper stretches.
                You don't even want to consider floating half the length of the Colville. It may not look far on a map, but it is over 400 miles long. The upper stretches will be lots of dragging and/or portages every day. The lower stretches should have plenty of water, but will have it's own challenges in selecting the right braid to follow and avoiding some dangerous water.
                There are no large trees along the Colville, so long sweepers are not a problem. There is a lot of brush, so you will encounter lots of undercut banks, snags, and sharp shales in areas. Most of the time you will have to get out of the boat and climb the banks to scout for game. In the lower portion you will encounter long slow-moving stretches. In addition we had strong upriver winds every day. The Colville is well-known for this. I don't know how it does it, but as the river twists and turns, the wind seems to always be pushing you upstream. We got out and dragged the rafts downstream in areas.
                If someone is not familiar with the arctic, they should strongly consider going with someone who has experience or have an Alaskan hunt planner help them with logistics. I have used and recommend Larry Bartlett at Pristine Ventures, . The owner of this site, Michael Strahan, also provides hunt planning services, but I have not used him.
                Good luck.


                • #9
                  Listen to Patrick, & no you are not going to hunt moose on the coleville in 26.

                  You might find Caribou fun though


                  • #10
                    And watch out for the "Vortex of Death"......


                    • #11
                      Sept is late for that unit?

                      Sept is real late I would guess for caribou on most of the Colville. Those animals should be on the south side of the Brooks (unit 23) by early Sept I am guessing. Help me out here Barrowdave but I would think the best bou hunting might be in mid to late Aug up there.

                      When you are float hunting you want to be doing a crawl so you can see the county and donít have to deal with swift water that makes getting off of the river safely and quickly an effort. Are there any tributaries to the main stem that flow slower and will offer the same early season hunting opportunities?

                      Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals


                      • #12
                        Anyone hunting the Colville region should consult ASRC for land ownership maps. There was alot of heartache last year with Moose permit winners in that area. ASRC has started posting their holdings with intentions of enforcing.


                        • #13

                          There is a special drawing every year (very few permits) that allow you to fly in and hunt moose. You can also fly into publicly owned airports (don't know if Umiat is publicly owned?) and hunt moose. If you read (on the map page for area 26, #3 gives those rules.

                          Walt, you are correct that much of the herd may have gone through by late September. There were still enough around (first 10 days of Sept.) to give us an enjoyable hunt, and you will find that many do not leave the North Slope during the winter.

                          4466 is giving good advice about checking the land ownership maps. We did do that and if I remember correctly the land available to hunt is on the north & west side of the river. Check because sometimes in some areas the only land owned is right along the river.


                          • #14
                            mnranchergal Sent you a PM


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