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StickstringJuly 22nd, 2019, 6:16 pm
Kalispell MT

Posts: 14
Hi everyone! I’m partly taking a moment to introduce myself and partly asking some input. I’m new to fly fishing and decided to add it to my outdoor activity list last summer. I’ve lived in Montana for 14 years with the last 8 in Kalispell. my in-laws live in Missoula, and my father-in-law also decided to pick up fly fishing the same time I did. I have a toddler and a brand new infant (typing this up in the recovery room!). I got out a few times last year and caught two fish wading in the Flathead. This summer, my wife got me a guided foot on the Kootenai for Father’s Day and caught over a dozen fish in a morning float! I’m officially “hooked” now!

I used to have a kayak for fishing with a spinner (how I was raised) but sold that when my now-wife had moved to the same city as we always just rented a tandem kayak. We were planning to buy one, but decided to have a kid. Then I was looking at canoes, and we decided to have a second child. Now I’m a little stuck. I want some watercraft to get the kids out fishing and just enjoying this beautiful state. But a canoe seems to small and too tippy for two adults and a couple kids. When I would go fly fishing, I would likely have one of my two friends available, and each of them think a canoe would also be tippy for fly fishing. I loved being on the drift boat, but our house space is limited and doesn’t have room for a trailer (boat would either need to be stored in its side in the back yard or “rolled”. This gets to my question. If I’m looking for a boat to fly fish from with one other person, or to take a small family of four out for an easy float or paddle, what boat type would be recommended? I have a truck and would like to be able to vault the boat in the bed or on a rack. I don’t want to do any class iii whitewater (small class 2 is a maybe) and would be floating my local rivers (Flathead(s), Kootenai, Blackfoot, Clark Fork, maybe Bitterroot) after run off and selectively. I would be willing to pay for quality and the perfect boat, but also have two college funds to fill. A target of $2k or less would be great, but like I said I’m open to stretching it for something perfect.

So far I have read about the Hyde Sportsman Drifter, a RMR Storm with two man frame, an outcast, modifying a SeaEagle, or even building my own. Any thoughts on these or other options?
TroutnutJuly 22nd, 2019, 7:39 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
Welcome to the forum!

I think you kind of have to pick one: 4-person, or trailer-free. I don't know much about the specific options you listed, but I've been looking into getting a Flycraft Stealth boat for solo floats or trips with my wife. They also make a 3-person boat. A friend of mine has one and loves it, and it seems like a good compromise between portability and features for a person who can't trailer a boat. It's more stable than a kayak or canoe, but less stable than a drift boat.

For maximum stability and plenty of room for the family, maybe you could look into getting a drift boat on a trailer and renting some space to keep it somewhere?
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
StickstringJuly 23rd, 2019, 8:06 am
Kalispell MT

Posts: 14
Thanks Jason! The flycraft has looked interesting but I’ve only seen videos on flatwater and was worried if that meant they were very tippy in rivers.
TroutnutJuly 23rd, 2019, 10:03 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
They've got a lot of videos from rivers, too. They're meant to be used on rivers, but nothing above Class II is recommended. They are more tippy than a drift boat or full-size raft, but more stable than a canoe.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
StickstringJuly 23rd, 2019, 11:55 am
Kalispell MT

Posts: 14
Thanks again Jason. I was also looking at the Scadden Dragonfly series but have heard mixed reports. They look to be narrower as well but maybe a bit better suited for rougher rivers?

Your comment about four person or trailer free helped me decide that trailer free is likely a better path for the short term (up to 5 years) and I can reevaluate after then. Thanks!!
WbranchJuly 23rd, 2019, 6:22 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2733
The Hyde Sportsman Drifter is a 12' long smaller drift boat. I have a Hyde Low Profile drift boat at 14' 6". I'd love to get the 12' Drifter but I priced it and it is quite expensive. It was $5200 not including shipping. I would recommend an inflatable pontoon boat designed for 2 persons. But you will either need a trailer to drag it around or be willing to put up with the hassle of deflating it and stuffing all the parts into your vehicle and re-inflating it when you get to the river. Why not look into a 10' - 12' Jon Boat? Bass pro sells them for $750 - for a 10' and $1400 for a 15'. Stable with the flat bottom. Big footprint on the water,
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
StrmanglrJuly 25th, 2019, 3:42 pm
Posts: 156
Don't know if this is viable for you, might check out building a drift boat.

Michigan Drift Boat Kit sells a 14'5" kit for $8-900 dollars.

I would think there is someone out west w a similar business.

Google search Michigan Drift Boat Kit to see his site. It's not the four words above w a .com after it.
StickstringJuly 25th, 2019, 3:55 pm
Kalispell MT

Posts: 14
Thanks everyone! The Hyde Sportsman had come up on my radar before and if one was used and priced right I’d be all over it. There is also a Clakacraft Pram for sale locally for $1000, but I don’t know if that’s a stable platform for standing on.

My fear of Jon boats is if they would be stable in the local rivers or if they’d get swamped too often. As for inflating and deflating a raft, I view it as an acceptable compromise, at least for the time being.

I’ll look at the drift boat kit further! I had looked at plans but most said it was still up to 2k in Materials.
StickstringJuly 26th, 2019, 7:02 am
Kalispell MT

Posts: 14
I saw on mountainbuzz some people discussing the RMR Storm with a fishing frame. Do any of you guys know how the floor would be in these rafts? Rigid enough to stand comfortably? That’s one of the things that caught my eye on Scadden site; he states the floors are rigid as is.

Thanks again!

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