Kagati Lake and Kanektok River

(Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.)

Firewood is in abundance along the Kanektok river. "Sweepers" are brush and trees ... The Kanektok river has many branches and offshoots. Lower Kanektok river as it leaves the Ahklun mountains. Kagati / Pagati Lake

Kagati Lake is a 45-minute flight Northwest of Dillingham and is the headwaters of the Kanektok River. The Kanektok River is 90 miles long (approximately 21 floating hours) and has many off shoots and braided areas. The first half of the float is through the scenic mountains. There is no white water to speak of. However, late in July the river may become a little shallow until the fall rains.

In late July and August the river can rise in as little as two days and become murky. It can also clear out as fast as it clouds up. The majority of the anglers on the Kanektok are on guided float trips or guided daily by motor boats out of base camps along the Kanektok River and up into the Wildlife Refuge.

The Pegati and Kagati lakes have great fishing at numerous locations around the lakes, especially at the bottom of the two small creeks that flow in at the opposite end of the lakes from the beginning of the Kanektok River. You can choose from several drop-off locations as long as you are wearing chest waders, although we don't recommend them because of the high winds that frequently blow up and down the lake. Our designated drop off location is at the top of the Kanektok River and you will not need any type of waterproof boot for that location.

Please Note:
Campers must stay well clear of beaching area while setting up equipment or camping. Please stay well clear of the aircraft taxiing up onto the beach and departing from the beach.

The first one third of the river is known for the excellent char and grayling fishing, as you float down and meet tributaries flowing into the main river, you will find schools of holding fish.

The main river flows along high cliffs with thousands of tiny cliff dwelling sparrows. The skies are full of tiny birds darting in and out of thousands of holes scattered along the dirt cliffs. About 10 miles before you leave the mountains you will begin to enter some of the best rainbow trout fishing on the river. These fish run anywhere from 3 to 7 lbs. As you float out of the hills the off shoots become more intense. These offshoots are not dangerous but can easily cause delays in your trip, as you drag your boat out of a dead end.

As you leave the mountains, you will be on the Kuskokwim side of the Ahklun Mountains. The last half of the float is through miles of flat tundra.

The Quinhagak airport is finished! It's great news for pilots but comes with a barrage of changes for the floaters.

The first and foremost urgent and important to FWA and the locals of Quinhagak is the requirement of scat buckets. This is a reasonable requirement considering the river is the main water source for the entire village. We suggest for sanitation reasons, several garbage compactor bags for the trip that can be sealed up daily and packaged into a ammo can to assure no spillage until it can be discarded in the proper location at the village of Quinhagak .

The airport is now approximately three miles from the river take-out point. This of course causes some issues on how to get from the river to the new airport. Larry Strunk is our answer! He will transport floaters from the river pull out point to the new airport for a fee per person for the season. A satellite phone would be very helpful coordinating between your group and the aircraft dispatcher.

The village of Quinhagak owns the river front property that we have used for so many years as the pull-out point. We are hopeful the village council will, for a reasonable fee develop an area designated for floaters to exit the river without having to drag all their equipment through the mud. We are also hopeful the designated area will have a garbage and scat receptacle for the floaters convenience. This would make it easier for the floaters to voluntarily comply with the needed scat bucket requirements.

The old Airport coordinates are N 59° 45.493' W 151° 52.998'.

The king salmon season is from the 15th of June through the last week of July. The red and chum salmon start coming into the river about the last week of June and are available until about the first week in August. Silver salmon start showing up about the last week in July and keep coming into the river until early September. Humpys run hot and heavy on even years. For more information on the fishing you should encounter while floating the Kanektok, contact the Refuge Manager for Taxi service contact (Larry Strunk @ 907 556 8556). We recommend at least a seven-day trip down the river. Click here for estimated costs.

Note: For topographic maps covering the Kanektok River, order Goodnews Bay Quadrangle - Scale 1:63:360. D-8, D-7, D-6, C-6, C-5, D-5, D-4, D3.


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