General Information &Tips for a Successful Hunt.
(Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.)
|On an average year ...||... 70 inch or bigger Moose rack.||Now the work starts...||Bringing your own small outboard ...||This 71" rack beats his previous record.|
|18' Cataraft with rowing ...||Hunter wandering through the bone yard||This group called in this 65" Moose ...||"TRAP LINE" ...||69" with very big palms|
Unit 17 is accessible from Dillingham and covers an extremely large area. Unit 17 is split into three areas, unit 17A, 17B and 17C.
Unit 17 covers the Bristol Bay drainage, the Bering Sea between Etolin Point and Cape Newenham and all the islands between these points including Hagemeister and Walrus Islands.
Unit 17A) The drainages between Cape Newenham and Cape Coustintine and Hagemister Island and Walrus Island.
Unit 17B) The Nushagak River drainage upstream from and including the Mulchatna River drainage and the Wood River drainage upstream from the outlet of Lake Beverly. Unit 17C) is the remainder of Unit 17.
Non-residents are not allowed to hunt for Moose in Unit 17C.
Information for Alaskan Residents:
Moose hunting in 17C is open to Alaska residents for one bull by permit RM583. Registration is in Dillingham only, check with Dillingham Fish and Game for registration dates as well as season extension by permit.
Alaska residents without permit RM583 are limited to 50-inch antlers or antlers with three or more brow tines on at least one side during the regular season from September 1st -15th.
A river close to Dillingham accessible to local residents is the Wood River. The Wood River has a few tributaries that can be accessed on high tide. There is one tributary about seven miles up the Wood River on the left named Belt Creek. Straight across the river to the east is a major tributary; this is one you can travel up for miles, called the Muklung River. The Muklung winds it way north and goes through some excellent moose habitat. The further north you go, the better the camping. The lower river is muddy and winds through soggy tundra.
Local residents will hunt the Aleknagik Lake heavily and they will also run up the Agulawok River to second lake, better know as Nerka Lake. Nerka Lake can also be referred to as upper and lower Nerka. From the east end of lower Nerka to the east end of upper Nerka is roughly forty-eight miles.
The water levels in the Agulawok River vary year to year. Especially in September, so itís not every year that it is possible to travel by boat up the Agulawok River. This means that Lake Nerka is not hunted every year by local residents. Nerka Lake should be considered as a hunting destination the year of or following a low water year. Okstukuk Lake is about ten miles east of Upper Nerka Lake and can be hunted by residents and is basically the headwaters of the Kokwok River. From there hunters can float down to the confluence of the Kokwok and Nushagak Rivers.
This location will be accessible even in low water conditions; however, you must be exactly at the GPS coordinates for your pick-up. It is recommended that you keep floating down the Nushagak River if you havenít bagged your moose yet. This is when a Satellite phone would be helpful in order to change pick-up destinations. A GPS would also be helpful so that you can easily identify a specific pick-up location. Coordinates for specific pick-up locations will be provided from Fresh Water Adventures. Please remember if you think it is a possibility that you may want to keep floating go over all possible pick-up point with your air transportation provider. There are limited landing and take off locations between Kokwok/Nushagak confluence and Portage Creek.
Information for All:
At the top of the Agulapak River is Lake Beverly. Beverly Lake is the closest large lake that is legal to hunt as a non-resident. Lake Beverly is at the lower limits of Unit 17B. Regulations state non-residents may take one bull with 50-inch antlers OR antlers with four or more brow tines. Harvest dates are 5th Ė 15th of September. FWA does not recommend hunting Beverly Lake because of existing pressure already on the lake from two guided hunting camps.
The next lake up is Mikchaulk Lake. This lake is small and has a private lodge. Hunters from this lodge hunt the Wind and Peace Rivers heavily.
There are on the average two guided camps that work Kulik Lake, however, there is room for at least one independent hunting party on Lake Kulik.
Grant Lake is ideally only big enough to handle one hunting party but large enough to handle two parties if one group is dropped on the lake after your camp is established. It is not recommend that you hunt the lake itself; if when you arrive there is already a party hunting the lake. There are virtually no vantage points on or around Grant Lake, a boat is optional if you are targeting moose only because most of the decent moose hunting will be west of the lake, although there is a 40% to 60% chance of caribou at the north east end of the lake.
Nuyakuk Lake is the largest lake in 17B and is an excellent choice for up to six hunting parties. Nuyakuk has small hills that can be climbed for scouting; however, extremely wooded with alder brush and may not be worth the trouble. Thousands of clearings, small creeks and tributaries make calling an easier method of hunting. There is approximately sixty-five miles of shoreline to choose just the right hunting area. Nuyukuk Lake is so big that it is possible that the wind could hamper traveling around the lake by boat and although it does not happen very often, it could also delay your air transportation because of rough water. The hunting is good but a common mistake is to cover too much of the lake therefore not covering any of the lake thoroughly. This will lower the overall success of your hunt.
Talking with hunters leaving the hunting area, FWA has concluded that Nuyakuk Lake is unique in that hunters can actually increase there own odds of success by concentrating on one area before moving to another. On the other hand there is a number of hunters that would rather do most of their hunting from the boat, scouting and glassing the shoreline.
The percentage of success is lower for this style of hunting but it does work because of the shear size of the lake. Feed back from parties utilizing this particular style of hunting admit they rely on luck rather than hard work. Most of the moose killed at Nuyakuk were called into clearings.
Chaukuktuli is the next lake up the system and is the lake that has had the best overall percentage of success of all three of the most popular moose hunting lakes. We believe the main reason for the consistent success is that hunters tend to concentrate on a one three-square mile chunk of the lake. Most hunters prefer to bring along a boat and outboard but rarely travel very far. If you look at the map you will notice the two big valleys that connect Chaukuktuli to Chikuminuk.
The two valleys have rivers flowing back toward Chaukuktuli. Close to the river are small hills that make best vantage points. In fact the best vantage points on all three top moose hunting lakes. The hills have less alder brush than most and offers excellent hiking. The vantage points are helpful yet calling moose is a proven method of bringing the moose into clearings.
We believe this is a premium-hunting environment that keeps hunting groups concentrated on a specific area. The six-mile stretch of shoreline in front of the two large valleys can handle two separate hunting parties.
The other two top hunting lakes would carry higher percentages of success if hunters would concentrate their efforts on a specific area rather than try to cover too much territory. Hunters can also increase their odds of success by putting forth the effort in a slightly more challenging environment than the north side of Chaukuktuli.
Hunters have enjoyed success on the south side of Chaukuktuli, this side does not offer the vantage points of the north side and is slightly more difficult due to the alder brush and less clearing but with little or no competition, it has produced very well.
Shadow Bay at the west end of Chaukuktuli, although not very popular, occasionally gets a group of hunters that usually carry a 30% success rate. The east end of Chaukuktuli is the most likely to produce an opportunity to bag a black bear. They are frequently spotted on the south side of the east end of Chaukuktuli. Most of the sightings are three to four miles from the lake. The population is small; however, there has been some success in hunting black bar on Chaukuktuli.
Chikuminuk on the other hand is whole other story, for the past fourteen years FWA has provided air transportation to Chikuminuk Lake and has boosted 30% success for moose and 60% success for caribou during moose season. There have been some dramatic changes to the State Park that will affect hunting at Chikuminuk Lake.
The new changes to the upper park are designed to limit the overcrowding and give back some elbow room to hunters lucky enough to get permits under the new system. The limitations as FWA understands them are as follows;
Chikuminuk Lake will be limited to six parties at any one time year-round. No motorized boat allowed on Chikuminuk Lake.
There will be a ten day maximum camping limit throughout the entire State Park, however, the State Parks Ranger holds administrative ability to extend this ten day limit on a case by case basis.
In order for the State Parks to implement these limits at least one person in a party shall apply for and secure a permit issued under 11 AAC 18.010 prior to camping on or around Chikuminuk Lake.
Alder brush extends up the hillsides about 350 feet surrounding Chikuminuk Lake. The hillsides are the only real vantage points for glassing; once you climb above the alder brush you can see your entire hunting area. There are very few trees to be found. The northeast portion of the lake is generally where most of the caribou are taken. The moose population seems to be evenly dispersed throughout the lake.
Because of our vast experience within the area. FWA is able to provide excellent advice, guidance and service to assure you of the best hunt possible. With all the changes within the State Park, FWA will be able to keep you informed and knowledgeable of all the issues. We are committed to continued success on Chikuminuk Lake.
One thing to remember about odds and percentages is that as a hunter you have the ability to increase your odds with hard work. Experienced hunters use spike camps back away from the lake in areas that allow glassing of the hunting area. Early in the morning and late at night is usually when you see the most activity.
Sitting on a clearing using the moose call works well most years.
Taking a moose head on rarely works, a carefully thought out stalk is preferred over trying to directly approach the animal.
One river to float for a combination moose/caribou hunt is the Tikchik River. It can be accessed from either Nishlik or Upnuk Lakes. The starts from either lake will be limited and permitted.
The top 1/3 of the Tikchik River is the best area for caribou with the remaining 2/3 of the river best for moose. It is not to your advantage to linger on the upper portion of the lake in hopes of caribou if your primary target is moose. It's best to get your float well under way, focusing on moose. A common mistake is to focus on the caribou and spend too much time on the upper portion of the river, limiting your time for moose hunting on the lower portion of the river.
For more information on the Tikchik River float, read information entitled Nishlik/Upnuk Lakes.
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Click here for new vital information about booking a trip into Chikuminuk, Upnuk, Slate and Nishlik lakes, or, floating the Tikchik River.
For more information contact:
|Wildlife Conservation Division
P.O. Box 1030
Dillingham, AK 99576
|Sport Fish Division
P.O. Box 230
Dillingham, AK 99576