Lower cost pontoon boats

I'm looking for a pontoon boat, but am on a budget. Obviously, I'd love a Cadillac, but I'm on the Hyundai budget. I've read some of the previous posts on pontoons, but wanted to get a few opinions.

Cabelas sells some lower cost pontoon boats (under $400). Among them are the waterskeeter 8' (w/anchor system and rod holder) and Creek Company's ODC 816 8' (no anchor system or rod holder) for $50 less. I guess I'm leaning towards the waterskeeter because of its features, but wanted some insight from others.

I'll mostly be using them on lakes, but occasionally on rivers. No Class IV rapids or anything like that.

Your help and insight is appreciated.


(edit for spelling)
Last year, I bought the Creek Co. ODC 816. I bought it through Cabela's for $325. Now it's $299 I think. It has a 375 weight capacity, and that sold me because at the time I was 330+. Now I'm 260, and I can hardly wait to see how it reacts to me. It only weighs 45 lbs, and can be carted anywhere a Pick Up can go. In short, I highly recommend it to any new pontooner. I only use it on small lakes and shallow rivers in eastern Washington. I'm sure it would be OK for the Yakima River and the Kettle River, but I would never take it on the Snake River or any river with more than a 10"-12" inch chop. That's just because I've never done it before, and I scare easily. I bought it for three reasons:
1. Price
2. Weight Capacity
3. Life Time Guarantee
To me, a guarantee says we stand behind our product, no matter what. When you buy a warranty, you're paying for problems before, and whether or not, they happen. If my wife say's I can spend the money, I'll buy one for her.
Lotech Joe :thumb


Another Flyfisherman
I have the Waterskeeter that is in Cabelas - the Blue one. Its all good, but I just upgraded. There is a website that has a 750 dollar Waterskeeter River Runner III on sale right now for $395. I just got mine and its a great boat. I dont know if this appropriate or whatever, so if I am wrong for doing this, I appologize up front. www.oregonfishing.com They have a ton of Waterskeeter stuff and thats where the River Runner is on sale at. Best of Luck

We have 2 Waterskeeters. The 1st was the River Runner. The 2nd (boys)is the Snohomish. I bought them both at Costco for $389 ea. The River Runner I modified to handle a 38# minn kotta($140 Costco) powered by a full size deep cycle battery. (zoom zoom!) I weigh 180#. In it's stock configuration, it was real tail heavy. So I turned the seat frame backwards & swapped the foot rests & basket/trolling plate. This puts the oar locks behind you & your weight forward. With swim fins you can nymph easily & have hands free control. Then scoot across the water to your next destination. The only thing I'm going to modify at this point is a stabelizer brace for the motor shaft so it doesn't torque the trolling plate so hard. 38# is just a bit much!!! If you try this, start at a low speed & increase as you start moving.
Have Fun! Jeff:thumb

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

I've seen one of those ODC Sports and I don't think that I would walk across the street for one of them. The outer cover is just a nylon cover.I have seen one of them put together at Outdoor Emporium in Seattle. If you were just going to do lakes in it it might be OK, but I wouldn't trust that thing with my life on any river. Just my .02 cents.


Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Since you're looking at inexpensive (old man saw the boats I prefer this weekend :) ).

But, if you want a waterskeeter, my friend is selling his. He upgraded. Not sure how much he wants, but I do believe he wants around $200. He never used in river, only used on his fly fishing trips on the lakes up in BC. If you're interested, let me know.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

I like those boats but alas my pocket book doesn't. They really look like a safe boat. Very well made. On another note,did you get the email I sent you.


Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Yep, I did. Sorry, how late I was getting out of the shows, I simply got home, did a quick check of my emails, and went to bed. LOL

I'll be sending you out some samples tomorrow. Hope you like them.

Ron Olsen

Active Member
I use the ODC 816. As noted, it weighs 45 pounds, an advantage if you have a ways to go. It has an aluminum frame, the only craft under $600 I've seen with that advantage. A pully and a spring loaded line holder from WestMarine ($20) with a drill and some stainless steel parts handles the anchor situation. I use a garlic bag (like onion sack, but smaller, filled with rocks as the anchor in lakes. The Scotty rod holder is a good addition also, much better that the "included" versions. Finally, I went to Montlake cycle and bought a front headset from a battered kids bike, and made a detachable wheel assembly. Handlebar holder bolts to the boat frame, slip the fork over the headset and secure with one slip pin. Set up is like a wheelbarrow, using the leg rests as the arms. Find it best to asemble frame and wheel and pile everything on top (can you say bungee?), get to the lake and then assemble. Much easier to manage. And you can take a cooler with ice and beer, a second rod, whatever.

That's a part of fishing I like, since there is nothing nearly half so satisfying as simply messing around with boats.

I also have been trying to figure out the best possible pontoon. I was looking in cabello's at thre trout unlimited columbia boat for $499 then I went to Shop.sportmansguide.com and saw the same boat for $379 It will arrive in 2 to 4 weeks. check it out it has many good features 400lb. load anchorsystem etc.
The fly rod from N.J.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I have had a little experience in this area. I would save my money for another year if I had to and then buy a really good quality, top of the line, pontoon boat. Like a Outcast or something similar. A cheap boat will get you bye for a while but you will really notice the failings of that boat over time.And eventually you will wish you had gotten a better quality boat, one that could get you through much more water in a better, more reliable and safer way.
I have checked out this columbia pontoon boat, its a great price at $379. and you can will call it out of Kent and same the $50. shipping!!!! The problem I am up against is that the true weight is not 63 or 65 lbs stated on the ads but a whopping 87 pounds, I have confirmed this with Cabelas and the manufacturer. I am having a tough time committing to this boat because of it. Any comments ????

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

I'd go along with what little stone says. A cheap boat is a cheap boat. All I've had are bucks bags and I like them but for one small draw back. They are too heavy to tote around very far unless you are built like Atlas. If you are old like me or frail a big pontoon boat is NOT the way to go.

I have a Alpine by Bucks Bags and it is too heavy for me 40 lbs so I take it apart now and set it up when I'm ready to fish.


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