Skookum Pontoon Boats

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Chicotello, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Chicotello

    Chicotello Member

    Are these still being made? If not, can someone give me an idea of who makes a pontoon boat with the same/similar level of quality?

    I bought an outcast fishcat a couple of years ago and have been really disappointed with the chintzy construction. My own fault for trying to save money and going with a cheaply (Chinese) made boat that's not really meant for more than occasional use but there's really no excuse for how poorly designed parts of this boat are...the anchor system would be enough to make me laugh if I wasn't so busy cursing it every time I use it! Anyhow, I'm fed up and going to make a serious upgrade before next spring.

    I'm looking for a well built (prefer something US made) that can handle up to grade II+/III- water but be portable enough to haul on my roof rack...any suggestions would be really appreciated!!


  2. Mark Moore

    Mark Moore Just a Member

    Pretty sure Sportsman's warehouse has them and they are sweet indeed.

    Oops, wrong store, wrong brand.

    I saw a Skookum model of a different manufacturer at Fishermans Supply in Portland.
    It was definitely a very nice boat but not what you were looking for.

  3. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Skookum Steelheader cats are still being made. Just the owner moved from Washington to Oregon. Sportsmans doesn't sell them. Only sold from Bill Day, the owner.
  4. mtelford

    mtelford Mike Telford

    I stumbled across the Steelheader at the outdoor show in Redmond, Or. My intent was to look at the Scadden boat but after seeing the Steelheader, I had no doubt about which boat to buy.:thumb:

    Bill has had some health issues but I think the boats are still being made.
  5. papafsh

    papafsh Piscatorial predilection

    You know the most obvious thing to do would be to Google it, you'll find all the info you could want, even some good action video of the boats in white water conditions.

  6. PT

    PT Physhicist

    I think someone has a 10' Skookum Osprey for sale in the classifieds. You could borrow it for a trip or two and make up your mind whether or not you want to buy it. I make it over to Post Falls every other month or so and could bring it if you want to test float the thing.
  7. Cast2way

    Cast2way row-ho services for hire

    looking a at the Skookum Steelheader, it looks like with the frame and seat height, you can't use fins to control it as you float along. However, it looks like the Osprey models you can but is there a standing platform? I like having the option to use fins as on many trout rivers, I rarely put my oars in the water and fish/float using only fins. I like the retracting standing platform of the Scadden systems. If you can't get that on Skookum, then maybe get both frames would solve that but changing back and forth is maybe a pain.

    I do like the pontoons on the Skookums, they look like top quality. Once my pontoons wear out, I think I'll get something like those as a replacement - however, I did not see any water in the Skookum video that I wouldn't go through in my Scadden. The choice of frame material (heavier stonger steel versus lighterweight aluminum) is a tough choice. I personally trust the alumimum and prefer the lighter weight. I think you just have to decide which is more important for you and your intended uses.

    Mike T
  8. StiffLegged Van Rossi

    StiffLegged Van Rossi Gonzo Phishin'

    Maybe check into the bad cat catarafts made in Tillamook, Oregon. I just bought a used 10 foot (900 bucks) and it has a super strong aluminum frame (1 piece) that you could strap to your rack and the 10 foot 'toons can be folded up pretty small. I ran Class III yesterday with no problems. Look for models that get you out of the water, like the magnum, because then even in Class III you don't get that wet. Nice for the winter time.

    I have a fishcat, too...and yes, not class III material. Plus the Bad Cat setup in half the time as the multi piece fishcat.


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  9. Chicotello

    Chicotello Member

    Great suggestions all...much appreciated!

  10. slsplets

    slsplets New Member

    I have a 10 ft Skookum Steelheader Cataraft for sale. Great boat! Heavy, but will handle anything you want to put it through. Comes with breakdown 7.5 ft oars, anchors system, etc.. If you are interested , I will be happy to send you pics!
  11. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Ok, I'll warn you on this. I've ran thousands of miles of whitewater in quite a few different frames. Aluminum is great, but the problem comes when it takes a hit (and yes, if you run enough class III+ you WILL take a hit in the frame eventually). A dent in an aluminum frame will weaken it, to point it could collapse (depending on the amount of crossmembers supporting the frame). With a steel frame you'll keep the rigidity after a hit. I have proof after running a class 4 on the Rogue about 15 years ago. Still have the frames, and dented the hell out of my rowers frame and my cargo module. Still runs strong to this day.

    I won't use fins in a river, just won't do it. Always a chance to run into something submerged. I like having the open floors if I want to get out and fish on the move (having the boat drifting around you as you work downriver and fish). But I do alot (almost exclusively) fishing for salmon and steelhead in rivers. I love the standing aspect of the steelheader, since I'm casting on the go. You won't be using your oars, unless you need to correct anyways. Just free drift and work the beat. Just keep your eyes open downriver to what you're floating up to.
  13. StiffLegged Van Rossi

    StiffLegged Van Rossi Gonzo Phishin'

    All great points. Pick your level of boat and tune it to the conditions you seek.

  14. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Pvsprme. I realize you're a welder, but I'm talking about what happens to what you've welded in the field while you're using it. I know you're a welder, but there's a difference between what you're welding and actually using it. I've personally seen what happens to aluminum vs steel when dented. Of course both are weakened, but aluminum will fold quicker with similar bends, and even break quicker. And you answered my question for me flawlessly when you said "With a steelh frame you'll keep the rigidity after a hit". That's a MAJOR plus. Remember, these frames are under stress ALL the time. Not just during whitewater. You have weight bearing down on them from above (the rower). Just bouncing around grabbing something on a platform behind you causes some stress. Add a dent into the mix and where steel rules. And, not STAINLESS, but galvanized. As you know, galvanized is a softer material. Not as brittle as stainless when hit. And can tell you personally, since I have whitewater frames that are galvanized that are over 20 years old, that if you have a good welder doing the job it'll hold up and rust will be at a minimum (as long as you keep up on your frames as well). I'm not a welder, I just know from first hand experience what the frames will do per material. So far of the 2 frames I still have, none have had failures at the weld. Theyve had big dents in them and held up well for the type of hits they've had (whereas the aluminum frames on same trip were crippled to point of almost unusable). It is a give and take, exactly. But for long term usage and pricing, I still love and stand by the galvanized frames.
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, I should add too, with materials (rod comparison) knicks react much differently. A knick in a glass rod vs a graphite is night and day difference. Have an 8wt fenwick that has several knicks in it. Still going strong after 27 years, with numerous fish on it. My sage rpl+ 8wt exploded at the knick after the first fish (and was barely noticable). Kind of the same comparison on frame materials. Some may be a bit heavier, but adds a bit more durability.

    It is a "to each their own". Each has their pluses. I want a durable craft, something I can beat the crap out of (figuratively, not try and destroy it on purpose) and put it away and use it another day.
  16. Great white hunter

    Great white hunter New Member

    I would like to add to what Jerry said as he is right on spot, Also for the standard consumer that actually does manage to damage his frame, finding a welder that can weld aluminum and has any knowledge of how to correctly repair the damage is going to be fairly difficult as well as finding the correct material to do the job. Aluminum must be replaced when damaged, the galvanized is much easier to find the material, find someone that can do the job, and can be field bent in a emergency with alot of the original integrity intact
  17. surfnsully

    surfnsully Active Member

    I have a custom made steel frame for my 11' foot pontoon boat and would never trade it in for aluminum. It will take on any class III and if your skilled most class IV rapids with my 20" diameter tubes.

    Keep on rowing,
  18. Cataraft fishing

    Cataraft fishing New Member

    I enjoyed reading this thread. I own the skookum guide II and agree with Jerry D one hundred percent. I have hundreds of hours on the river and often float with a partner. We'll take turns fishing and manning the oars. If I do go alone, I might try floating a fly while rowing, if I know the river and the CFS allows.

    I'd never float in an aluminum frame. In my opinion they're for lakes. In fact, many of them will tell you that if you read the fine print. Skookum's frame have another feature which I like. He uses a strap in the front to bind it and give it a little flex, in the event you should smack a rock, and we all do, this strap will save a weld joint, so I'm told. Also, the tubes will ride a standing wave like nothing else I've seen, even NRS.

    Can you tell I like these crafts?
  19. surfnsully

    surfnsully Active Member

    I almost bought a skookum because of their design and ability to do it all. However, I did build a custom pontoon boat based on the skookum products and had one of the premier frame builders help me out. It is for sale in the classifieds.
  20. Adicuss

    Adicuss New Member

    Anybody have a good used Skookum for sale?