Clakacraft or Hyde?

I will soon be in the market for my first drift boat and I like what I have seen from these two companies. I have heard good things about both companies, but have heard that they handle a bit differently. As for the types of waters that I will be on; Upper Midwest Great Lakes tribs, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and possibly Oregon and Washington. I do plan on trailering the boat to various locales and it will be used quite a bit.

Any input that you folks may have with regards to durability, handling, service, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

As a side, I have also looked at Outcast's PAC 1400 I believe it is. In the end, I want a traditional style boat. Eventually, depending on where I settle down, I'd love to get a Montana Boatworks boat.
Both are nice boats and you will find lots of devoted fans to each brand around here. However, I believe it is a lot like the Ford vs. Chevy debate and ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both are more than capable of handling anything you tackle.

I was in your shoes a few months ago and spent hour upon hour (all winter actually) learning all I could about each. In the end I decided on "C. None of the above" and bought a Lavro. My reasons were pretty simple; I like the reputation Lavro's have of being a bullet proof boat, I like the utilitarian "Willys Jeep" concept-maybe it's not the prettiest boat on the water and has minimal bells and whistles, but it is a rugged, pure fishing machine. Finally one of my biggest reasons was Lavro is a local company, I drove to Monroe and met the guy who designed my boat, talked to the guys who built my boat (his grandsons), and even saw the molds it came out of. Bottom line, they build a strong boat and were a pleasure to deal with. Enjoy your search, it's part of the fun!


Active Member
Last post was right on re, Ford/Chevy thing so no need to go there. I will comment on the traditional "hi side" vs. the trendy lo side, low profile boats. The lp's were designed for low gradient rivers where being blown around by high winds is a concern. Guides like them for that reason, plus they are easier for their clients to get in & out. On steeper gradient rivers, especially ones that tend to have knarley sections with **** you have to navigate around, the low side boats are not as popular. There is a trick to getting in & out of a drift boat, and every drift boat owner figures it out sooner or later. I'm 70 yrs young and my boat is a conventional hi side.


Active Member
Just my .o2 cents as someone whose older than dirt. Getting in/out of a DB is a chore, been in both boats and the Clakka was really easy.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I still go off the "try before you buy". Don't take ANYONE's word for gold on a boat until you've rowed one. What I love in a boat you may hate. So find guys with the boat you are interested in and offer to row all day while they fish (explain why you want to do this). You'll be pleasantly surprised. Hell, my old Eastside has become a fast love affair for some. Alot of the guys who've fished and rowed it have been surprised how well it handled (mind you it's 41 years old). I've been contemplating a new glass boat, finally gave up on the idea. Love my old girl, she's sticking around awhile. :)
I appreciate the replys thus far. I was not sure whether or not I wanted a high side or a low side, but I am leaning towards the low side. The majority of my fishing will be in lower gradient rivers. That being said, I do want to fish some of the better Steelhead waters and I know that a high side would be better in these situations. It may just come down to the type of water that I will be on the majority of the time.

On a side note, I have heard that the "raft type" boats are the easiest to get in and out of.

Rick Sharp

Active Member
Try before you buy, both the manufactures you mention will take you out with prior arrangements. I owned a few including wood, and now have a clack. Works perfect for everything I do, I'd buy from clackacraft again.


Active Member
I looked at both brands and some of the more popular aluminum models. I ended up with a clacka after rowing a fishrite and going out with Bruce Belles in a clacka. I learned a lot from this site and it's friendly experienced people but in the end I went with my gut. The people and service at Clackacraft is the best and you can not go wrong if you go there way.

Good luck,
Over the past 20 years I fished with many, many guides all over the west and found this to be an excellent way to try and to evaluate lots of different drift boats. The guides I fished with used a wide variety of boats...Hydes, Lavros, Clacka, Willy, wooden name it. I felt like I had a chance to see (almost) everything in drift boats and, by fishing with many of the same guides year after year, to see how their boats held up to a lot of tough use (ever watch a client in a guide's drift boat...they can be brutal).

It was a drift boat education.

Wooden boats can be beautiful, but they are a maintenance issue. If you don't maintain them they'll leak and eventually disintegrate. But guides describe tham as "sports cars" of drift boats...lightweight and very easy to manuever. Still, refinishing a boat's bottom isn't my idea of a good time.

My take was that aluminum boats were too heavy for most use, though some guides swear by their durability and they seem to be favored in the Northwest by steelheaders and salmon fisherman.

I thought the Lavro's were the "Corvettes of drift boats"...beautifully built, but more expensive than I could stand or need. I have fished with a guide in Montana who's had the same Lavro drift boat for nearly 20 years and it looks just like it did the first time I got it in...that's a good value.

The Hydes were the most affordable but had things I disliked- my biggest pick was that the knee braces were either missing or flimsy. The older Hydes that guides used were pretty tattered looking. I suspect that with care, a Hyde would serve you fine. I also think that the newer Hydes may be a lot better built than the older ones....but I'm not positive about this.

The Clacka's that the guides used were solid and seemed to hold up after years of use and thousands of people climbing in and out of the. I thought the Clacka's were the best value for the money...and that's what I bought.


Active Member
I would buy based on where I'd be using it. If I were going to buy a drift boat that covered the most bases I would get a Boulder Boat Works because you can launch them just about anywhere without worrying as much about damaging the hull. I also like the way they row and I have taken them down sections that other drift boats just couldn't handle without sustaining major damage. If I knew exactly where I'd be using it every day I would get a boat that suited my needs exactly. I love drift boats and I have rowed just about every brand of them over the years. I heard rumors that there is a new west coast company coming out with a HDPE boat that is going to rival Boulder Boat Works and cost less. On the Clack vs. Hyde question- I prefer Clack. They row nicer and seem to hold their value better. If I were getting a skiff I would be torn between a RO and Adipose, my buddy just got an Adipose and I keep hearing rave reviews but I haven't had a chance to row it yet.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Benjy, curious which runs have you ran down that other DB's have been damaged on? Just curious since I've run alot of the heavier waters in this state at one time or another, alot that were "fishable" in my driftboats over the years. Or did you actually run whitewater runs (class 4 and 5's at appropriate river levels) in one with floatation chambers put into the boat?