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Canoe or Inflatable for the Koyukuk area?

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  • Canoe or Inflatable for the Koyukuk area?

    Been wondering if we should carry a canoe on the big boat or maybe an inflatable. For you people who hunt the Koyukuk area, would you rather have a 12-14 foot canoe or a smallish inflatable (8-9 foot). Either one would be powered by a 2.5 hp motor for hunting from base camp. Are there any other choices to consider?


  • #2
    I have used a canoe on the Yukon river itself as well as an 11' Achilles on the Yukon and its sloughs and tribs, and I'll take the inflatable any day of the week over a canoe. I know the Koyukuk likely falls somewhere between the Yukon and some sloughs in terms of volume and mass. I just don't care for a canoe, unless there's no other option. I know with an inflatable it's more of a PITA to blow it up and carry patches, foot pump, etc, but I like the stability of an inflatable. Not to mention the inevatable banging noise ya always get with a canoe when moving and trying to get in/out when hunting.
    Last edited by 379 Peterbilt; 03-05-2011, 11:54. Reason: Tie poz


    • #3
      Good point on the noise. Never considered that before.


      • #4
        We used a canoe with a lift and a 9.9hp kicker to hunt up the Wood river a few years ago. That is the extent of my canoe experience, based on that I would chose a inflatable. I assume you want to access areas that your "mothership" can't reach and bring back a moose in it. I would rather drag an inflatable loaded down with moose instead of a canoe. Also we were about run over and swamped several times on the Wood in the canoe and would again chose the inflatable for that reason as well. Unless you have a roof rack for your canoe they are hard to transport, we struggled with trying to tow the one we brought and finally chose hauling it sideways as the lesser of all evils.

        We tried to haul my Jet Ranger to the Koyukuk last year, but ended up having to cache it on the way to get rid of the extra weight. It sure would have been handy where we were. One lesson I have learned, is that you need to know the no crap amount your boat will haul and verify that. It has bit me twice now and will not happen again,,,I hope anyway.

        Good Luck, cool place and big moose country.

        "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"


        • #5
          If you have room, I'd take what you have or want to own for the long term. We bought a 12' Port-a-bote and I really like it. Pushed by an 8hp Tohatsu 2 stroke it is a good set up. Pretty quick, agile, easy to drag through shallows, tough bottom, and easy to pack and load up in the big boat. Top speed, which is controlled in part by hull design, w/ the 8hp motor, is about 15mph downriver.
          We use the little boat to save gas from running the big one. We are also run much quieter as compared to a big outboard and aluminum boat. 2 guys and day gear in the 12' boat works out pretty well, even on the Big K. It would not be a lot of fun in big waves, but the boat has lots of flotation. It is also fairly easy to row, but not as easy as paddling a canoe. We never portage far, but that would be easy as it only takes 15 minutes to take the boat apart and put it back together again. 2 guys can drag it over log jams or around a gravel bar pretty easy, and carry it if need be.
          For that trip down the Yukon and up the K, I guess it depends finally on how much room you have, how much gear you plan to carry, and what your hunting style is like. It is not too hard to find a place to camp and hunt right out of it just about every day. That helps w/ the amount of gas you'll need. If the water is low, an alternative boat will be an asset in exploring some of the side waters.
          I guess another thing to think about is if you have a trolling motor mount on the big boat, and the ability to use that and the second motor as a kicker if the primary motor fails. I just don't think it would be a lot of fun to try to push my big boat, loaded w/ gear, downriver with an 8hp motor. A larger jet that you might use for your raft might be an asset there though.


          • #6
            Since we need a new ocean tender as well been considering buying one of these:

            It is lighter than a comparable sized Zodiac 260 yet has more interior room. But wouldnt you know it, it also costs a couple of hundred more as well. Used to own a 10 foot Zodiac Zoom but for us it was to big and to heavy to get on and off the roof of the ocean boat.

            Here I was totally convinced to find a used canoe and haul it up on a rack. Glad I asked the question because you guys posted some comments that make a lot of sense to skip the canoe idea. Never gave any thought to noise or being swamped. Will also explore the port-a-bote but it would require a bigger motor than our Suzuki 2.5.
            Learning a lot, thanks guys.


            • #7
              Another option to consider is an inflatable canoe. I have a 13' Sevylor Colorado I purchased just for moose hunting, it weighs about 35lbs and is the size of a freighter pack when deflated. Space is limited but it also saves space and weight when hauling it. It would require more than one trip to extract a moose also. For one man operation , a kayak paddle beats a canoe paddle for propulsion and guidance. Stable, quiet and lightweight and compact when deflated. Many plusses in my book.


              • #8
                Snowwolfe, the 2.5 will push any of those small boats or canoes, just not fast. I'd try it out around town to see if you want to make that investment first. Also might want to make an inquiry to see if anybody in your neck of the woods has one of the other options mentioned and if they might like to meet for a day this summer to play with it on the water. If you were in FAI it would be an easy thing to do, especially since we live on the river.
                As for the K, water has been low the last few years. Most of the side channels were too low for a big boat, thus no risk of being swamped. That is something to consider, but for me personally it would not be at the top of the list.
                I do like .338wm w/ the idea of the inflatable canoe. Should be lighter than a raft and easier to maneuver. I've never been around them so don't know if you can use a motor on them or not.


                • #9
                  I have an Aire Traveler inflatable canoe but it would take up as much, if not more space in the big boat than an inflatable raft. I really like the idea of the Porta Bote. It could be strapped across the back of the main boat or lay on it's side where the rods go. Pretty good idea). But since I have to buy a new tender this year the Porta bote will have to wait until 2012.

                  I hear you about low water levels, thats the reason we sold our prop rig and want to get into an inboard jet.


                  • #10
                    Why not use the porta bote as your tender as well? Are they too heavy? I bet it would work slick.
                    sigpicSpending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.


                    • #11
                      Actually the 10 footer weighs less than the inflatable but it takes a few minutes to put them together. The idea behind the tender is to have it ready at any given moment in case of an emergency. Plus our roof is about 9 foot long on the Sea Sport. One of the main reasons we sold the old 10.5 foot Zodiac.


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