I purchased two used one's a year ago and have been happy with them. I do not have a truck, so I store them in the trunk of my car unassembled during the season. After a lot of practice, it takes about 15-20 minutes to assemble, and half that to disassemble. For a middle of the road 8' pontoon boat, you can't go wrong with the 816. I haven't floated it on a river yet, but may get a chance in a few weeks, we'll see.
I have had one for several years and it has been just fine for lakes and such. Not sure if I would take on much of a river with it. It is not as snazzy as some of the others out there but for the occasional user its fine. I have seen them for as little as 200 bucks so shop around.
I'd rather be in an inner tube while floating a river than be in the ODC boat. If you're going to compare the Southfork to the ODC all you have to do is compare the frames. ODC would be fine for lake fishing, that's about it.
Thanks for the input everyone. I only plan to use this pontoon for fishing small, mountain lakes. No desire to do a river trip in it so have decided to go ahead and buy one from "Lewis and Clark Fly Shop" for $286. My buddy has a Southfork but fishes lakes, rivers and salt water off Vancouver Island. I know it's a great 'toon but more boat than I need at this time.
My brother has commercial pontoons for rafting the Salmon river and that is enough river rafting for me. Getting too old to be overly adventurous.
No, I would not take an ODC down stage 3 or more but I have a low end ODC and took it down a average river and did not have a problem. It won't impress your friends but will do the job you need. It's a great way for an affordable boat.
I have no experience with them, but on the main board it seems that some have had bad trouble with Lewis and Clark Fly Co... might want to see what others had to say about their purchasing experiences. I hope you enjoy the boat, sounds like a good one!
Thanks to all for the info. In case anyone wonders, I did NOT get the boat from "Lewis and Clark Fly Shop". Turned out the guy was a bit of a scammer and I ended up having to contact the local police. Luckily I did not lose any money on the transaction. I am still shopping but have recently moved to Arizona. I just read a couple of interesting deals in the classifieds but am a bit too far away to buy something in WA.