High Country flyfishing: River-craft and their differences | VailDaily.com

High Country flyfishing: River-craft and their differences

Austin Richardson

STATE BRIDGE ” It’s nice to take a boat on the river, the trick is to not take too much river in your boat.

Self-bailing rivercraft are essential to outfitters and their business. Who on earth would want to continually bail-out their boat while fishing? Answer: nobody.

There are essentially two different kinds of boats used to fish High Country rivers and streams: inflatable rafts with aluminum frames and drift boats.

The “Cadillac” version of rivercraft are driftboats. These high-sided boats look a little like rowboats, but are much more stable. There isn’t a whole lot of displacement to these craft, they float literally on very top of the water. With very little effort, these boats are easily turned to avoid snags (static debris caught in the flow of the river) and have a fairly flat bottom so if the boat becomes stuck, just a little less weight allows the boat to spin away from trouble.

Even more sturdy are the inflatable rafts with aluminum frames. These are called “bombers” because they are seriously tough. This is the most common of river craft because of their ease-of-use and sturdy design. With bouyancy to spare, bombers can carry lots of weight without sacrificing their ability to navigate whitewater. Drift boats are a little more likely to capsize in rough water, so guides are very careful to not take them where there could be whitewater of any significance.

Fishing from a boat is fantastic. The ability to fish both sides of the river at once is a huge advantage in catching fish. Pools, eddys and snags often provide the best cover for fish, but most of the time are inaccessible from either the shore or wading.

Your best bet to catch fish is in a boat, no doubt.

Austin Richardson is the Web Editor for the Vail Daily. He is also an avid flyfisherman and spends lots of time thinking about fishing and how he can get on the river. He can be reached at (970) 748-2911 or at arichardson@vaildaily.com

Vail Colorado

Most drift boats have several positions from which to fish: fore and aft.

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