What has pontoon boat done for your fishing?

Floated the Yak last Saturday so now I'm contemplating buying a pontoon boat, mainly for floating the Yak. Mostly, I like rivers and spend a lot of time on the forks of the Snoqualmie. For lakes I've got my float tube which has served me well, but I like rivers. There were a lot of waders on the Yak in many of the good spots. With the water so low, it's easy to cast to the far bank. My question, do you think it's worth getting the pontoon to float the river or will wading work most of the time? When water is up, I can see it opening a lot more fishing spots on the Yak, but enough to deal with the added expense and hassle of transporting a boat? Any advantage on lakes, other than distances covered? What has owning a pontoon done for you?


Active Member
I bought one two years, stored it in my shed and that's where it has stayed.... unused to this day. I just can't find a reason to use it.


dead in the water
I have been thinking of getting one simple because I've been asked to go fishing enough times with people who use them to float where ever they are going. On my own, the only times I have really wished I had one were places like the methow.


Well-Known Member
I don't have a pontoon boat, but I've had a small raft and recently a Watermaster for over 20 years. I've fished and covered a lot of miles of rivers that I otherwise wouldn't have. Some rivers that I fish aren't worth fishing without some kind of boat due to lack of access.

You don't need a boat on the Yakima in the fall, but you can't fish much of it in the spring and summer without one in my limited experience there.



Be the guide...
I love my new pontoon boat. On my last float, we covered so much nice water, and never saw a single fisherman. But in those cases where the river is crowded, you have a much better chance of finding quiet water.

Fishing from the 'toon is fun as well. You really need fins for that, and a decent anchor system is recommended for those times you want to stop and cast in that froggy river water where all the fish are rising and rolling.

It's also just plain fun - hitting the rapids, enjoying the scenery, etc. It can just add to the adventure.

But if you don't have a good place to store it and a good vehicle to haul it, I'd have second thoughts for sure.


New Member
I have a couple of pontoon boats. In the summer, they rarely get used unless I am lake fishing in an area where I can't get my drift boat. I do like to use them in the fall when the water is lower, especially if I want to fish the Yakima River above Cle Elum or if I want to get on small skinny rivers like the Naches. They are easy to use to cover more water where it is not practicable to take a drift boat. In summer though, no use on the Yakima, I do all my fishing from the drift boat. Water is moving to fast and you really can't anchor a pontoon anywhere to fish that time of year on the Yakima like you can a drift boat, but the pontoon is great in the fall/winter once the water level drops.

just my .02.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I've had several of them and all they seem to do is sit in the heat and swell up and pop.
This happened to a couple of the pontoons when they were stored in the sun instead of the shade. Hell I even deflated one pontoon and the sun just swelled it up until it split a seam. You need a good cool place to store it at or this will happen to us all.


Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
Dunny makes a good point re: the Yak during high summer flows. In a personal craft, be it a toon or a kickboat, you would be trying to fish as you floated quickly past a lot of great water, because you can't anchor up.

I personally love my Watermaster for spring/fall on waters like the Yakima. The two things that convinced me to get a WM over a toon are that (1) it's compact when folded up so easy to store and haul, and (2) I like to be able to hop off the seat when I want to stop, spur-of-the-moment-like, and not have to tether up.
I have had one for years and I am now thinking of getting a drifter. I do love my pontoon boat and have had many great adventures from single day to multi day floats. I have just started fishing drift boats some this year. IMO the advantages of the toon' are:
1. you are the master of your own destiny (it only takes one to fish a toon')
2. you can navigate smaller water
3.your buddy doesn't get into YOUR beer while YOUR fishing.

the drift boat:
1.you can change sides of the river with little or no river loss.
2. you can hold or anchor in a lot more fishable waters
3. You can get into your partners beer while HE is fishing
On lakes that increased range is no small point. You can hit the spots you know to be productive without wasting time kicking through all that water where you never get anything. That alone is worth upgrading from a floattube. You have more options too like kicking till you get tired and then rowing for a while, rowing at a little faster troll than you could kick, casting is much easier, you can see farther, you can see into the water (amazing how many follows you see) you don't get nearly as cold, you can anchor in the wind.... My favorite is that with my standing platform I don't have to kick in to the shallows to pee.


Be the guide...
There are places where the 'put in' for a drift boat is so bad, or washed away, that if you want to fish that water, you need something that can be carried by hand or at least wheeled... I did a beautiful river float this last weekend, and you coudn't have done it with a drift boat becuase the put in spot has been washed away...

But I do like that I can take my kids, or guests down a river or a lake in a drift boat if I wanted....
So if I could afford both, I would.
Actually, pretty surprised by the responses. What I'm hearing is that; it's okay for the Yak except in when river is high. (don't really mind about summer when it's so crowded anyway.) You can't anchor a 'toon like a drift boat in "more fishable" waters (why?). Also checked out the Water Master reviews on this site at the suggestion of a friend. Seems like a good idea but price took care of that. I plan on doing the spring and fall so that's good. Probably stow it in summer, or try some longer floats on rivers I've never done, looking for trout on a light rod.