What Are The Best Boats For Fly Fishing

This is to let you see some of the different styles of vehicles or floatation devices that there are for fishing. These might help you get to some places that you might not be able to fish without one.

What Are The Best Boats For Fly Fishing? Here are some different types of boats. Not all of them are what you would call boats; most are just different types of flotation devices for fishing. Things like Float Tubes, Pontoon Boats, Canoes, Drift Boats, Kayaks, Rafts, Car Tops.


fly fishing from a float tube

This is to let you see some of the different styles of vehicles or floatation devices that there are for fishing. These might help you get to some places that you might not be able to fish without one.

Float tubes come in all sizes and shapes. The original float tube was round, and its nickname was belly boat because it went fully around you. It had a truck inner tube sewn inside that you blew up for fishing and deflated it when you were finished and were ready to go home.

Then they came out with what they called a Utube, and I am not talking about the youtube video thing. These had several different pockets that you blew up with air. They also were easier to get in and out of over the belly boat; you could lift the bar and sit down and lower the bar and attach the apron. Where the belly boat, you had to try and climb into it with your fins on and then sit down and attach the lap apron then back into the water.

Ideal for: 

These were ideal for ponds, lakes, and reservoirs. They are not very safe for moving water, so beware of that.

Why it’s cool:

Float tubes are very inexpensive, They are portable and easy to store, and you can almost launch them anywhere. They are commonly used by fly anglers, but people can also use them for casting lures too. There are many styles, sizes, and models, that are available with prices starting at under $ 100.00. They even have some that are made for a certain use, like backpacking into high mountain lakes.


The downer is that they’re slow, and you can get pretty cold because you are sitting in the water up to your waist.


Pontoon boat

The most common one is a one-person pontoon boat; the weight capacity is 250 to 400 pounds depending on the size and model. They are lightweight and fairly easy to assemble. Most angles do not break them down; they load them on the top of the car or put them in the back of the truck.

They also have a two-person boat, which is designed to carry two or more people; these boats are heavy and large. Most of the anglers do not disassemble them, and they transport them on a trailer.

Ideal for: 

They are ideal for ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers.

Why they are cool: 

These are a versatile craft that is fairly inexpensive, fairly easy to store, transport and launch. You can row with them or move around with fins, well, for the smaller models. Unlike the basic float tube, you’re sitting out of the water.

You also can also use pontoon boats on rivers, but most aren’t designed for whitewater.

Prices go from about $250 into the thousands. The larger ones can carry two or more people and gear, but they are more expensive and take up a lot more space.


The downer is they can be tough to row over long distances, and they can get blown around a lot by the wind. When they are deflated, the pontoons stow to small sizes, but the frames can be hard to stow in a vehicle.



Ideal for: 

The canoe is ideal for fishing small flatwater rivers and streams, sloughs, ponds, and the edges of large reservoirs and lakes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re out on a quiet fishing trip or you’re trying to enjoy Mother Nature with your family. Canoes can offer easy access to lakes, ponds, and streams.

You can paddle your way through the current with performance features, including contoured seats and built-in rod holders. Your canoe carrying handles make carrying your vessel to the shore a breeze. Some even have beverage holders and built-in dry compartments that add extra utility for your outing. Do you want to skip the paddle, look for a canoe with a built-in motor mount?

Why it’s cool:

Most canoes are fast and easy to paddle. Canoes can be roomy enough to take most of the family fishing and can be ideal for trolling. You can carry a lot of gear for yourself and the kids in a big 17- or 18-foot canoe. If you like tradition, then a canoe will fit the bill.

Expect to pay from $400 to $2,000 for a canoe, depending on the size and how lightweight it is.


Canoes can be tipsy, and there is a learning curve when paddling with the kids and the dog. They are not conducive to some larger, more swirly rivers.


Drift Boat

Ideal for: 

Fishing rivers that have fast-moving currents and moderate whitewater.

The earliest drift boats were made out of different kinds of wood. Later on, the boats were made with lower maintenance materials like plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass. They have become very popular for fishing. They have been made commercially since the middle ’70s.

Why they’re cool: 

Drift boats are considered the Cadillac of riverboats. They are roomy, stable, and great to fish from, and they are extremely durable. People can hold them steady in the current to get multiple casts to a rising fish. Drift boats can haul enough gear for overnight trips, and experienced rowers can take them through whitewater up to Class IV.

While drift boats aren’t designed for flat water, they can be used for trolling. Wondering? Can I use a portable generator on the boat?.

The Downside: 

The downside is the high price, even used boats can cost several thousand dollars. The new boats start at about $4,000 for a cheap, stripped-down model that is just a hull, seat, and oarlocks.

You typically need a ramp to launch them, limiting their use on some rivers that would otherwise be suitable for drift boats.


Kayak fishing

Ideal for: 

Kayaks are ideal for fishing flatwater rivers, small sloughs, and ponds along with the shorelines of large reservoirs and lakes.

Why it’s cool: 

The fishing kayak industry is booming with all kinds of innovations. They such things as rod holders, fishing deck dashboards, paddle holders, and cup holders. They have pedals for moving the boat, so you don’t have to use your paddle and concentrate on fishing. A speedometer to know your trolling speed and removable chairs that can be used in the boat or on land.

They are being built very stably so you can stand up in them and cast or sit over the side to net a fish. Prices range from $800 to more than $2,000 depending on whether they are solo or tandem or made of heavier plastic or lightweight materials.


You’ll have to buy several if you have a large family.


Fly Fishing Raft

Ideal for: 

Fishing Idaho’s whitewater rivers.

Why it’s cool: 

Manufacturers are making all different kinds of fishing frames. This makes it easier for anglers to use rafts when floating trout and bass rivers.

Why it’s cool:

Rafts are also forgiving. That means they can get through Class IV rapids and take you down some wild trout rivers. These are ideal for allowing you to carry more gear, especially for overnight trips. Rafts are able to take a lot of punishment, like hitting rocks and scraping over gravel bars. They are one of the most versatile types of fishing craft on wild rivers. Expect to pay from $2,000 to $5,000 and more because frames come separately. They are also difficult to row on rivers when the wind comes up.


Aluminum car top boat

These are usually small light aluminum boats.

Ideal for:

Taking some quick fishing trips. It is a boat that’s stable, roomy, and easy to get around for lake and reservoir still-fishing or trolling.

Why it’s cool:

The typical 12-foot car-top boat is just that – something that can be lifted on the roof of the truck or car by two people. They weigh around 110 pounds and up. Stash the small outboard motor in the back of the truck, and you are set. The aluminum boat should last you a lifetime.


The downer is you are limited by the size of the motor you can use on the back, but if you don’t really care about speed, what the heck. If it is small, it is perfect for trolling.

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