Game Changer: Drift Boat

After years of talk we finally pulled the trigger and got a boat. We had debated the merits of a raft vs. drift boat, new vs. used, and mostly how the heck we could pay for either. In the end a used drift boat with a price we couldn’t resist fell into our lap. It’s been a game changer already.

Most don’t consider the Wyoming winter a good time to fish much less prime season for family floats. But unseasonably warm temps by January standards, combined with a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the new family toy, inspired us to get out on the water


Photos by Steven Brutger

With the forecast for sun and a high in the mid forty’s we made a go of it. Kids were dressed in snowsuits with pfd’s over the top. Blankets and sleeping bags were stowed in the bow, just in case. Thermoses of hot chocolate filled the cooler. The day turned out to be 38 and cloudy.

We learned a few things. For example, helping kids go to the bathroom isn’t easy. But I can now anchor, grab baby wipes, dig a hole and remove lifejacket and snow pants faster than I would have ever imagined. While everyone was warm we felt like temps any colder would be pushing it for a day on the water. But we all had a blast.


The kids love netting fish and then petting them. The boat provides plenty of room to move around and fight with each other. Watching mom stick the fish of the day was a highlight for the kids. My highlight was when my wife remarked “if you want me rowing this thing a bunch we need new oars”. Enough said. Ordering carbon fiber counterbalanced oars are at the top of my to do list.

We’ve fished a lot as a family and floated some, but this is opening a new door for us. It’s about being able to spend time outside in a way that works for everyone. The drift boat is making that easier.

10 Comments on “Game Changer: Drift Boat

  1. Great post. I am in the shopping process for a used moat myself. I am really wanting to take my family out. I have two daughters, so with me and the wife that would be four–though my daughters are a little older (11 and 8) . What size boat did you get and what do you think is the best way to accommodate the whole family as far as room? Thanks again for the post. I love the family focus of this blog. One my favorite fishing blogs.

    • Quinn, Thanks for the note and for checking out our humble blog. I got a 15 ft boat and am happy with it, although my instinct was to try and find a 16 footer. Both of my kids like to sit in the front (one in the seat, one to the side) while my wife or I stand to fish. A bench seat vs. a pedestal seems more versatile in this regard. On our boat the seat slides so it’s easy to make room for two kids. When they are willing I like getting one of them to sit in the back though, which I bet will become more frequent as they get older. I would probably pick a boat that suits your rivers and fishing needs best. I don’t think a 15 vs. 16 ft drift boat will make a huge difference in how it accommodates everyone, although I wouldn’t go smaller. For a raft I think 14ft would be good.

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  3. Steven- Great work- congrats to you and your wife- wonderful family fun- boats are great investments for the family- lots of good times and memories and your time with the kids will always be cherished. Someday they’ll be rowing you! Mine are 26 & 28 now and love to fish.
    Maybe I’ll see your family on the river-I’m from Dubois- thanks for sharing

    • Larry, thanks for the kind words and fun to hear about your family. It would be great to run into you on the water or if you ever want to fish together just give a holler!

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  5. Oh, yeah, the counterbalanced oars will make a BIG difference in rowing ease. We have had them for fourteen years and since I am now sporting lot’s more gray hair than I used too, I am glad we have them as well as my wife.

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