all-around flyfishing boat

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by !chawycha!, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Hello all,

    I have been thinking lately quite a bit about getting myself (and my family) a good all-around boat. I have been fishing from the canoe on the lakes and bank fishing on the rivers and streams, but would like to have something bigger to have more room in the boat and more stability for casting.
    I live on the Kitsap Peninsula, so I have a good access to all the great rivers of the Olympics to drift, so drift boat is definitely a consideration. And I can use it in the lakes as well around the peninsula and beyond. One thing I noticed around here, there are not that many drift boats around. So that makes me think that maybe drift boat would not be exactly the best choice.
    Another question is, what length of the drift boat should I get? I would like to take my wife and 3 young kids on the lakes fishing once in a while, but mostly it will be me and my two boys. I am thinking about 17' aluminum boat, like Alumaweld or Willie. Or should I go with the 16'? All of the dealers have 16' in stock, so I do not know if 17' will be a right choice for me.
    Sometimes I am thinking about getting a jon boat, I see some people using them for flyfishing on the lakes and are quite happy with them.

    Those of you who have experience with these boats, please let me know what you came to believe the right choice is for around here. I know, it is subjective for the most part, but still..

  2. Hi Vlad,

    This is the old proverbial dilemna in my opinion. I have come to the conclusion that two boats are needed. Drift boat is definitely number one due to the great river fishing in WA. This provides the best security to take the boys safely on the rivers in the years ahead. Very stable for the wife and the two boys, 16'is a great size. And you can row around in the lakes with this boat also. I have had one or access to one since 1975 and they are the best river rig around. You just have to arrange a shuttle or take two vehicles or small motorcycle to get you back to the truck and trailer.

    If you have a need to go any distance on a lake, then a 16' smokercraft or similar aluminum riveted boat with a 15 horse will also pack the wife and kids in relative comfort and security.

    Another good option for taking the family down most of our rivers is a raft with oar frame and floor boards. It all depends on the budget.

    Have fun.

  3. How about a raft with a rowing frame to handle any river situation and then a canoe for lakes? This is my preference but I have a third called a pontoon boat. So technically, 3 boats are perfect unless you want to include saltwater or larger bodies of water or a Jet boat for fishing from the mouth for Steelhead and Salmon. That is 5, the man with the most toys wins!!!

    For the raft, I would suggest doing your homework. There are only a few nice rafts on the market currently and they all have their high points. I like Meravia or Aire or Achilles but I think the Achillies design wins in my opinion. The bow and stern are available with a slightly steeper shape. You can also have Dana at Swiftwater custom make you a frame with all the bells and whistles.
  4. There are simply too many types of angling opportunity in Washington to come up with one all-around boat. I have a 16' drift boat, and it has been very very good to me. It of course gets me down rivers, and does extremely well even in large lakes (the easy-rowing properties of the hull and the 9-foot oars make reasonably short work of even very long distances). Mine is not one of the low-sided "flyfishing" models, but I actually appreciate the high gunwales now that I frequently have my 6-year-old in the boat. I even manage to get some saltwater use out of the boat in some limited situations, where ramps are reasonably close to highly sheltered areas (Kayak Point is great, as are many places around Hood Canal). The boat is good and sea-worthy for conditions in the Sound, but you do need to be aware of prevailing currents; in some areas you could literally have to row "upstream" to get back to your ramp if you got caught on the wrong phase of tide. Small sheltered bays and estuaries within rowing distance of a ramp are best (as is a very high level of caution and common sense).

    Having said all that, I wish I had some kind of skiff for the saltwater. But my homelife, budget, and backyard being what it is, that would mean giving up the driftboat. Then I'd be on the bank again when fishing rivers, and back in my float tube on lakes. Oh well; what are you going to do?
  5. all-around flyfishing boat for the family

    "I have been thinking lately quite a bit about getting myself (and my family) a good all-around boat.

    I would like to take my wife and 3 young kids on the lakes fishing once in a while, but mostly it will be me and my two boys."


    It sounds like one of your key points is the family/boys as your fishing companions. A few thoughts;

    1. Congratulations on being a devoted dad! Your kids will reap the benefits of your involvement. I have 4, ages 9 - 4, and the trips we have spent fishing have been my favorite fishing memories by far! (and I have caught a few fish in my life)

    2. A drift boat is a great all-around craft, especially for the family! I have a drift boat, a 12 ft skiff, and a raft with a rowing frame, and the drift boat is by far the most versatile, safe, and comfortable for the whole family, and the boat we use almost all the time.

    Lakes, certainly rivers, and even light saltwater are entirely suitable for a drift boat.

    As far as the size goes, I think a 17' is fine. Some manufacturers 17 footers are the same length as other's 16 footers, you need to check the specs.

    My opinion - I would not get a Willie. They do not come with a rear seat, which limits you to front seat only. OK if all you do is pull plugs for steelhead, but a major weakness if you are flyfishing in a river or lake.

    From personal experience and research - if you are taking kids/family I would get a drift boat with a bench seat in the front (not a pedestal seat) and a pedestal seat in the back. Believe it or not, I have taken my whole family of 6 down the Yakima quite comfortably and safely in my 17' Hyde and even got a little fishing in. (My 9 year old - I was rowing!). Some models like the Hyde have a removable bench so that you can replace it with a pedestal. I have not found that necessary though, and I guide part time.

    Hyde makes a great boat and has some great packages. (OK, full disclosure,I am on the Hyde Pro-Staff) If you e-mail me your mailing address I can forward you some of my research and information. Or, feel free to call me if you need more information or ideas - especially as it relates to taking kids fishing!

    Tight lines,

    office: (425)643-1800
  6. all-around flyfishing boat for the family

    Thank you for your responses, guys. They tell me that the drift boat choice is a very good one for many applications around the region. My job takes me to Oregon a lot, and I see the drift boats all around there, but not in Washington, not very much. So, I had my doubts.

    So, I think I will be going with the 17", so I can have more space for the family. And I think I still can handle that extra foot or so on the river.

    Aluminum would be my preference, and I have seen that Hyde makes aluminum boats. How do they compare to Alumaweld? Anyone rode both and could tell the difference?

    Thanks again.


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