good pontoon boat for the Yakima or Bitterroot?

#1
It's getting harder and harder to be a bankie so I'm seriously thinking about a pontoon boat. I'll be looking for something river-worthy but no whitewater stuff. I'm thinking about something capable of going down the Yakima or Bitterrroot rivers and probably the local lakes once in a while.

I have looked on the Cabelas site and many of the manufacturers sites. The choices can be overwhelming. Obviously safety is my first concern but I am definitely price conscious.

So, I'm looking for recommendations for a new rower. My first question is, is this something a new guy can safely learn on his own? After that what should I be looking for?

Thanks,
Bill
 

Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
#2
Try a Watermaster from the WFF gear program. Take it over to the Yakima for a day. Very stable, easy to maneuver with just fins so you can have yur hands free for things like fishing, and versatile because you can just stand up whenever the water allows, stop and fish, then hop back on the seat. Fits in the trunk of a car, inflates in a few minutes with a foot pump, and you can pick it up and carry it much easier than a pontoon. You'll spend more, but after having used mine twice last weekend, I'm glad I took the plunge (figuratively).
 
#3
iagree

watermaster is your best option.
especially with NO frame- you can even tote it on a motorcycle like chris does! thus it fits in any vehicle.
 
#4
I bought a Dave Scadden, I could not or would not suggest you or anyone else buying this boat. They will fix anything that goes wrong if you have the patience to work through it. :mad: :mad: :mad:

For the money I think there a whole lot of good boats to choose from. Pay close attention to things like the welds on the frame as well as the material that the pontoons are made of as well as welded seems on the pontoons. Check to see how long the company has been in business.

Check with Michael at Pacific Fly fishers in Mill Creek he carries the Buck Bags line. If I had it to do over again it would be a toss up between the Bucks Bag and the Outcast. Both are great pontoon boats and the quality is real good.

Good Luck
Rick
 
#5
I have the Steelheader 12' Pontoon made by Skookum Products and it works just fine on the Yakima. It's plenty stable and comfortable for two folks. It's portable, though I'm looking for a trailer for it 'cause at the end of a float I'm tired and it takes some time to break down. If your looking for just a one man boat I would check out the Watermaster though first because of it's portability.
The other option is the framed rafts, but they are pricey (about twice the cost of a pontoon) and I haven't heard much feed back on them.
 
#6
Highly recommend Buck's Bags -- must bought their 9' High Adventure craft, very nice so far. This is a lower priced toon and does not have the stainless frame, but I found it at Sportsmans Warehouse on sale for $300! It has more features and goodies than most for far more $$. If you're looking on the lower end of the scale, this is a great option worth at least checking out.
 
#7
Highly recommend Buck's Bags -- just bought their 9' High Adventure craft, very nice so far. This is a lower priced toon and does not have the stainless frame, but I found it at Sportsmans Warehouse on sale for $300! It has more features and goodies than most for far more $$. If you're looking on the lower end of the scale, this is a great option worth at least checking out.
 
#8
Waterskeeter 3 man 16' pontoon boat all the way! We got ours last month and we've done a few runs down the Puyallup and we love it! Check it out...do a search for "waterskeeter pontoon boats".
 

gt

Active Member
#10
if your primary purpose is still water or easy moving water like the yakima, a pontoon should work just fine. remember these frames are designed to drop you below the top of the tubes so you can use fins. in class II, you will have water in your lap. if you are ok with that, find one that supports your weight with room to spare.

if you are going to get into more moving water or doing white water or running rivers in the winter, then perhaps you should consider a cataraft. this frame sits you even with the tops of the pontoons, no fins necessary. typically these pontoons are also quite a big larger in diameter 20" and up so the carrying capacity is much greater. these are also white water types of setups so running most anything is a possibility. mine has two frames, a rowing frame and a passenger frame. i can use the rowing frame without the other if i am alone.

these are lots bigger than a pontoon and futizer to set up, lots of straps. so i have put mine on my utility trailer during the season. welded up a winch stand and some rollers to make loading easier.

whatever you decide to do, throw away the crap aluminum oars that come with the boat. invest in some quality white water oars ahead of time, cataract are a great investment in your life. and don't drift without your PFD ON.
 
#11
Go with a watermaster, it can pretty much do anything you would want to float down anyway. You can float and fish out of it great on the yak, but i would not do so on any river in montana as trouble comes at you twice as fast and with a lot more fish... I aheva watermaster that i love and essentially gave up a drift boat for, although i am thinking of getting a montana boatbuilders boat.
 
#12
Dan Soltau said:
I aheva watermaster that i love and essentially gave up a drift boat for, although i am thinking of getting a montana boatbuilders boat.
Sweet! Those Montana Boatworks boats look awesome!!

Bill - The versatility of the Watermasters is hard to beat. I also recommend you check one out through the gear program & try it out.
 

Jerry Daschofsky

Moderator
Staff member
#14
All good advice. But disagree Kevin, yes you CAN do that in a pontoon. I used to take the floor out of my steelheader on some trips and do that exact same thing (especially during the summer when I wanted to wet wade alot but still float). I used to do that with my outcasts (YEARS ago mind you), I simply put a bungee chord that stretched across the foot pegs. So all I'd do is put my feet down and the boat came with me.
 

speyforsteel

Degenerate Caster
#15
A nine foot or bigger American made boat will serve you fine,mine is a nine foot Buck's Bronco,good boat as was my old boat,a set of Bad Cat pontoon's with a Skookum Osprey frame.
As for the new rower thing-do not try it alone-go down a few river's with a few good rower's first,people die every year floating down river's and even the "easy" water can kill but most good fly fishing water is not to bad and a pontoon boat can go places a drift boat can't.
I also recommend Pacific Fly Fisher's he has a few boat's on the floor that you can sniff and fondle and I have floated a couple river's with him,he won't sell you "trouble".
 

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