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Tanana Navigation tough or not?

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  • Tanana Navigation tough or not?

    I'm working on some plans for a fall moose hunt with my dad that is going to have to be completely self guided. I've hunted quite a bit up here and have my fair share of boat experience. I'm wondering how difficult is navigation of the Tanana in September? We should have an 18' boat with a 100hp Honda with jet lower. We will be looking to get up to some of the sloughs then foot it in to look for a moose. Any advice would be highly appreciated.

  • #2
    Slow moving

    Back in August 05 I ran the Tanana from Manley to Tanana. It is not too bad if you have any experience reading water. Stay in the main current and you will be just fine. Your biggest challenge you may run into is navigating the many braids. Take a good GPS unit and you should be fine their as well.

    Hoped that helped.

    "Give someone a fish and you will feed them for a day. Show someone how to fish and they will just steal your fishing hole and catch more fish then you. Screw them, let them eat chicken!!"


    • #3
      People run it all the time up river and down from fairbanks. Note that up river from fairbanks the river gets much more braided (take a look at google earth) and as such it does get tougher.

      Can't really say if it will be tough for you or not. It is certainly navigable water, but experience running and reading rivers will make the difference.


      • #4

        If you know how to read water you will be fine. You have to be on CONSTANT alert for shallow silt/sand bars. You might want to bring a few earth anchors, sledge hammer, rope winch, coma-long, etc in case you get caught on a sand bar. Like others said it's safest to stay in the main channel although I often cut time and distance bytaking the inside channel (shortcut). Good luck.


        • #5
          Tanana R.

          I spent a summer doing field work on the Tanana from Tok to Lake George. Water levels should be lower for you in September than we had. It's glacial so you can't see an inch into the water. Navigation was extremely tricky for us in the summer and we hit our share of sand bars. Be on your game and have all the necessary equipment that has been posted already.


          • #6

            Hey guys thanks for all that info. My dad and I are both fairly experienced boaters (river and big water). I am thinking this is definately doable with a little map work and what not. Thanks and keep the advice coming if you have any! Don't worry, we won't bogart your spot!


            • #7
              I have seen a few boats high and dry on the Tanana.


              • #8
                I've put boats high and dry in worse places than the Tanana (water thick enough with sharks you could spear them) but I still don't think that sounds like fun. We might think about heading north if scouting turns out well.


                • #9
                  I run the Tanana all the time. It is a fun river to run, but as mentioned, read the water and expect the braids to run out of water. Watch for sweeper as well. The Tan will keep you on your toes. Another safety note is that most, if no all, of the sand bars are death traps. I know it is not really quick sand, but it acts like it. The river runs under those bars and what seems like a safe place to walk or push your boat off can quickly become a sink hole. During hunting season, the river is pretty full for 40 miles up and down from Fairbanks. Any slough or creek you find on the atlas, others see as well. Pretty soon talk of Wood River will come up as well. If this is a big trip with your dad flying up, I would consider taking him to the Yukon. It is only about 3-3.5 hours to Circle from FBKs. The river is better to run and you can easily get away from crowds. It is much more scenic to boot. Good boating no matter what you decide.


                  • #10
                    tanana is a big river

                    what particular area are you concerned about? you mentioned looking in to some sloughs, and salchekett is quite a bit different than the tanana. if that's what you're thinking, let me know and i can tell you more.


                    • #11

                      Thanks for the suggestion folks. Holly, I know I have seen the Salchekett in my map travels and I know I have seen it elsewhere but I can't recall where I have seen it. I am open to suggestions and ideas; the Tanana is not my only course of action. Shoot me any ideas you have. AKshrop, I have definitely considered the Yukon as I am not against the drive at all. Dad and I should have about a week to hunt so I think that may be doable. Do you have any other guidance for a Yukon river newbie? I plan on doing some scouting after breakup but I wonder where to start, up river, down river, sloughs, float hunt, camp...etc etc? Thanks a ton for all the advice guys!


                      • #12

                        AKshrop, I am looking at the regs and it looks like the Yukon is not open to non-residents. Am I mistaken? While I'm thinking about it I am also considering the Wood river. Is this a heavily hunted area? Any info on the Little Delta? Navigable by boat, hunting pressure etc?


                        • #13
                          I am a res, so I don't remember if any non-res restrictions are in place on the Yukon. I don't have the regs in front of me, but I bet someone will chime in. The wood river can be a night mare for the first few miles. I have never made it through those first couple. I have always turned around. Do a search on the forum for wood river, you will get a ton of info. If the regs allow it I highly recommend the Yukon. It is a great place. I suggest going up stream (good rule of thumb safety wise). You will find numerous feeding areas. Get high ground and stalk as necessary is my recommendation. Good luck and good hunting.


                          • #14

                            It looks like 20F (Yukon River area) is off limits to Non-Res. I think it looks like a pretty good bet that we can get up into 25D past Stevens Village from the Dalton. Looking at the map I think we could possibly work from the east at Circle. Has anyone ever ran this route? Is there any kind of launch, is the river navigable without an airboat? Does anyone have any kind of stats/personal info on success rates up here? Thanks all.:cool:


                            • #15
                              east of bonnefield trail

                              sorry for the late response monzter,
                              if you go up salchackett it's pretty full of moose camps on the west end and going up clear creek. also jet boat/airboat traffic is heavy. getting east (upstream) of bonnefield trail starts opening up in to less pressured areas. there's plenty of moose, but you won't see them standing in the middle of the creek like it used to be. the slough continues to breakup and reconnect farther east as you get closer to rejoining the tanana. also the slough gets more shallows and requires a shallow draft for a boat. there are lots of spots to camp and hunt along the way. good hunting.


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