Drew and I floated the canyon yesterday and hiked out the hidden creek trail. Skilak lake is mostly open and the canyon is pretty slow this time of year but some great fishing spots until May 1st when it closes. Hidden creek trail is pretty mucky but it’s a nice day trip if you’re itchin to get in the water.
Seven of us ran the canyon Satruday, April 24th. Walked out ~1.5 miles on Hidden Creek trail
Cooper Landing gauge read 775 - 800 cfs at Stage 5.83
That was a very fun level for lots of small surfing waves and rock/ bloulder field dodging. Nothing tough but lots of fun.
See the photos and trip comments at http://www.meetup.com/AnchorageAdventurers/calendar/13291058/
Thanks for (inadvertently) helping me out. When I found out it was still winter at my planned float trip, needed an emergency substitute. Always wanted to do Kenai but not while playing “hookie” with the combat fishing crowd. Didn’t know fishing was closed month of May. Made a nice bike up from Hidden Creek TH to Kenai Lake and float back, camping at still “closed” Russian River CG, which itself made a sweet little side run. Had both rivers to myself, nice weather, nice scenery, can’t beat it. Notes for others contemplating/not familar. Combat fishing resumes June 1. While there are very short stretches of PR3 on Kenai (pleasant surprise by the way), they are fairly tame and have plenty of recovery flat water, this would make a good step up for stepping up from advanced beginner to intermediate levels in my opinion. Or a good shake the rust off trip for the intermediates. If I do it again, I’d skip the Kenai Lake to Russian River section, and just start from below the falls on the Russian (again, not when fishing season in session). For the take out, there is a detailed trail map of Hidden Creek 50 feet in from the road (that 50 feet could have saved me a lot of wandering). Basically can walk from entrance to Skilak or raft about a 1/4-1/2 mile west and go inland to the trail.
This one is still a fun one for folks just into the intermediate class of rafters. Just ran it since most other rivers are flowing crazy high right now. Even though the Kenai was at high water (10.9’ / 6400 cfs). Everything was visible form the packrafts. A sneak around everything, but there were actually very few holes, and most of it was periodically breaking waves that were super fun to crash. It gives you a bit of bigger water experience without being as intimidating as sections of the Mat. Paddle to the right once you hit Skilak lake and take out 15 minutes later at Hidden Creek (the actual creek). there’s a well maintained trail from there.