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Old 12-02-2019, 03:28 PM   #1
Nightvisionary
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Default Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Im looking at mini drift boats like the Don Hill mini drifter. I like the idea that they can fit in the back of a truck rather than requiring a trailer. That would open up more water and just make access and transport easier all around. How do these compare to larger 14 or 16 foot boats for rivers like the Wilson, Sandy, or Clackamas? My big concern however is the ability to carry 2 Viking Berzerker sized fisherman and gear. Will a 10 or 12 foot drift boat get it done?

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Old 12-02-2019, 03:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I'd keep a PFD on at all times if I were you.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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I'd keep a PFD on at all times if I were you.
I always wear my PFD. Safety on the water is priority #1.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Alot of those smaller boats were originally meant for tidewater applications or small streams more than drifting bigger whitewater.
I personally wouldn't float one down a river bigger than the Necanicum.
And Yes on a life vest regardless the size of Drift Boat.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:43 PM   #5
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I am viking sized myself, I would stick to 16 foot trailor sized drift boat, safety is always top priority. When I have two others in my 16 foot clackacraft and gear while I am on the sticks it's full couldn't imagine doing this in a mini my two cents.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I have a mini and only use it on main stream Willamett or lakes like Merwin. No white water.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:01 PM   #7
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Sorry but that is definitely a 1 man boat carry a very moderate amount of gear. They are a capable white water vessel for the rivers u mentioned when the person oaring knows his way around.
A quality inflatable pontoon boat is actually a better option for 1 person on the river's you mentioned, much more forgiving.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Looks like Crackacraft and Koffler both build a mini drifter.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:21 PM   #9
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I think a better option for ya would be a 10ft raft or 2 1-man pontoons. They're very maneuverable, plenty capable of rowing bigger rivers and easily transported without trailering. small pontoons suck to fish out of so its more or less rowing spot to spot and fishing from the bank. rafts are much more like fishing out of a drift boat but have they're own disadvantages.
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Old 12-02-2019, 04:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I watched an old timer run the North Fork of the Santiam in one of those every weekend. It seemed to me the cigarettes and whiskey were more likely to kill him than the river. The boat seemed to handle the river fine.

Then again I spend all my time fishing out of a kayak. Most anglers on IFISH are pretty soft and prefer their 20' covered boats with a heater and cushy seat. I'm more for adventure and convenience.
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Spam in a Can.
Yes wear your pfd if you go down the Sculpins and juvenile Salmonids will pick your bones clean.

Joking.

If you are an experienced drift boater you will be fine as a single person in a 10 footer.
Some of my buddies run and like pontoon boats but I have always been a fan of welded aluminum under my feet.
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:43 PM   #12
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I myself prefer a White Water Canoe.
In case the s... hits the fan, I can always bail out and swim to shore.......
Keep a PFD on at all times if I were you.
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

You could not pay me to go down a winter, coastal river in any kind of canoe and I have 35 years of experience rowing whitewater. They may have their place for some but coming up against a willows sweeper is a formula for going under. I have seen it.
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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I watched an old timer run the North Fork of the Santiam in one of those every weekend. It seemed to me the cigarettes and whiskey were more likely to kill him than the river. The boat seemed to handle the river fine.

Then again I spend all my time fishing out of a kayak. Most anglers on IFISH are pretty soft and prefer their 20' covered boats with a heater and cushy seat. I'm more for adventure and convenience.
As a new kayak angler with trips on the Columbia, Tillamook Bay, The Clack, Wilson, and Trask Im with ya. I always look for the greatest challenge and hit it full speed. To me motorized Winnebagos on the water are barely one step removed from getting a limo ride to McCormick and Schmicks for a fancy seafood dinner on white linen tablecloths. Me, I prefer to fish like Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, and Davy Crockett would have done it. I know it's not for everyone but as we used to say in the Marines, "Gents! It's hard to be hard!".
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:54 PM   #15
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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As a new kayak angler with trips on the Columbia, Tillamook Bay, The Clack, Wilson, and Trask Im with ya. I always look for the greatest challenge and hit it full speed. To me motorized Winnebagos on the water are barely one step removed from getting a limo ride to McCormick and Schmicks for a fancy seafood dinner on white linen tablecloths. Me, I prefer to fish like Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, and Davy Crockett would have done it. I know it's not for everyone but as we used to say in the Marines, "Gents! It's hard to be hard!".

That’s fine if you want to go solo. But if you want to float with a buddy, a boat under 14 ft. Might not work so well. Good thread...
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:03 PM   #16
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That’s fine if you want to go solo. But if you want to float with a buddy, a boat under 14 ft. Might not work so well. Good thread...
Very true. That's why Im looking at a drift boat after fishing the Wilson with a buddy on Saturday. He would never go out on a kayak but would totally go for drift boat fishing.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

In the 1980's into the 90's at least, wooden mini drifters were 'the thing' amongst a set of trout bums in the Salem area. Run it down the middle fk willamette (scouting advised) or haul it up the Bow River in the bed of an SR5. A huge step up from the Caddis and Bucks float tubes we were using.

My mini drifter, Salem built and Columbia County finished, is just 6' in the longest dimension. High sides with severe rocker. The rower's seat is adjustable. Both rowing and passenger seat are storage boxes. We used it most for winter trout fishing on the lower McKenzie and down through the channels and islands of the Willa-Kenzie stretch (scouting advised).

Adding a MinnKota electric motor, it became our Tillamook and upper Nehalem tidewater troller, introducing us to those fisheries. Park at roadside, slide it down the bank. A rope to the bumper of the SR5 hauled it out. No boat ramp or launch fee required. Mudded, or icy slick ramp? We never backed the 2WD SR5 down those ramps, Just used a longer rope to pull the mini drifter out. I carried piece of carpet to cushion the bottom of the drifter when doing that stunt.

Now, I've got a Seahawk that goes over the horizon offshore and the mini drifter sits in the rafters (I've gotten soft).
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I have a 10' mini-drifter. My wife and I are not small people and the two of us is a crowd. We have gone down the Umpqua from below Elkton to Sawyers at about 5 ft. on the gauge. We frequently shad fish from it in the Spring. By myself I could tackle more gnarly water but not with the two of us. It is an Endure and was built in Medford.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I have a Koffler 8' white water pram. It's quite stable, but I'd never take it down anything with any real white water...OK for most of the Alsea, Siletz town run, S. Santiam (provided you know the S-curve rapid), and of course wimpy rivers like the Long Tom and Willamette (with due respect for the strength of the current on the Willamette). Life vest always, and it's definitely a one person boat as there's only one (rope) seat. Great for dumping in small cutoff oxbow lakes along the Willamette. You can actually wrap your arms around the tackle trays with the rope seat against your back, pick it up and just walk it to where you want to go (maybe not now that I've turned 73)
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

koffler 9 foot white water pram. they call it a ten. i go everywhere alone with it. and slow stuff with two people. no fat ones though.


moves great with an electric and i pull mine with a small trailer.


all they are is a regular drift boat with the front cut back.


for two a 14 footer works great for smaller boats.


but not much room for a pizza oven.
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:30 PM   #21
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Hauling a small boat into and out of the bed of a pickup is a lot more work than dealing with a larger drifter on an appropriate trailer.

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Old 12-03-2019, 09:37 PM   #22
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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Hauling a small boat into and out of the bed of a pickup is a lot more work than dealing with a larger drifter on an appropriate trailer.

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I installed a winch on the front of my pickup bed, works great - also for deer and elk.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:48 AM   #23
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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I think a better option for ya would be a 10ft raft or 2 1-man pontoons. They're very maneuverable, plenty capable of rowing bigger rivers and easily transported without trailering. small pontoons suck to fish out of so its more or less rowing spot to spot and fishing from the bank. rafts are much more like fishing out of a drift boat but have they're own disadvantages.
http://www.catchercraft.com/10allamercian

I have the pontoon in the link and in certain situations it is a blast to fish out of. I have a lean bar I can install when I'm going to be doing a lot of standing and fishing. It's very easy to stand and fish out of which I like. I can also throw it on top of my truck's flat bed cover, tie it down, and take it anywhere I can easily access the river. I like it a lot, its a tank. The only problem is I need an easy access spot as it is heavier than I would like and for that reason I don't use it as much as I would like. Definitely a disadvantage. I have been fishing before and watched a couple guys take a smaller aluminum drift boat and literally slide it down a nasty steep slope over the top of blackberries, thought that was pretty handy.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:39 AM   #24
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

I love prams, especially for low water summer fishing. You have to be careful though, as they turn quick and can get a little squirrelly when rowing thru more technical water. As for the little tiny drift boats, under 14 feet, you can keep them.

If you are looking at prams, make sure they have raised oarlock blocks. Most are too low and your oars will hit you in the knees.
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Old 12-04-2019, 10:35 AM   #25
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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Im looking at mini drift boats like the Don Hill mini drifter.
"The Drifter is the perfect boat for mild rivers and still waters."

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Old 12-05-2019, 02:01 PM   #26
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

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My mini drifter, Salem built and Columbia County finished, is just 6' in the longest dimension. High sides with severe rocker. The rower's seat is adjustable. Both rowing and passenger seat are storage boxes. We used it most for winter trout fishing on the lower McKenzie and down through the channels and islands of the Willa-Kenzie stretch (scouting advised).

...

Now, I've got a Seahawk that goes over the horizon offshore and the mini drifter sits in the rafters (I've gotten soft).
Sounds like all you need is a jet pump and a heater and you could rig it as a hot tub!
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:06 PM   #27
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Drift boat or larger raft/cataraft for sure. they are just nicer to fish out of with a buddy and you have people that can help pay for gas/Shuttles lol.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:27 AM   #28
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Have used prams many times on small coastal rivers like the chetco, winchuck, in the 80's. they work great and allow a stable platform to stand and cast but are not good for whitewater. We use to make them out of marine plywood and fiberglass. worked well for one person as you could put in the back of pickup. caught many of steelhead from the low water bridge on the chetco down to Loab.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:34 AM   #29
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Default Re: Anyone Use a Mini Drift Boat on PNW Rivers?

Saw a guy on the north fork of the Lewis (I think it was the north fork) in a pram. He was killing it! Might have been in the fall because the river wasn't running high or fast.

I used to have a 9' Don Hill pram. Wanted to use it on lakes. Never got to use it because it was too heavy to lift into the truck and couldn't find any trailer type option at the time. Years ago.
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Old 12-13-2019, 09:56 AM   #30
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I used to run the Deschutes on Yuka and a big black inter tube from the locked gate. Getting sucked into the oak springs vortex keeper washing machine was a eye opening event for me and the last time I chose to tube it. I have how ever used a boogie board wet suit ,mask and fins on a Indian guided trip from warm springs reservation thru the White Horse section. The under river scenery was spectacular.

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