Watercraft advise needed for Bishop area
I’ll be moving to Bishop in a couple months for new employment. Looking forward to the fishing opportunities that will surround me but definitely gonna miss the striper and steelhead waters here on the west side. Anyway, I have a 14’ Jon boat that I’ve fished the hell out of in the American. Good river boat for summer striper. But I don’t see much of a need for it in Bishop beyond fishing Crowley. Seems a bit niche specific for that and I’ve never been much of a fan of lake fishing. So I’m debating on selling it to fund a small raft like a Flycraft or a Watermaster to fish the Owens. Never fished the O though so I’m not sure if that’s really a wise decision anyway. Probably not going to get a drift boat but the rafts seem more manageable by yourself, and cheaper.
I’m eager to hear what your thoughts and recommendations are. Thanks.
<<<So Iím debating on selling it to fund a small raft like a Flycraft or a watermaster to fish the Owens.>>>
Yes, that's a smart decision. The Owens is wonderful for floating as dense willows make walking access tough. I've seen people float the Owens in a drift boat, but a Watermaster will open up more sections for you to float as the light weight will make it easy to launch/retrieve from pretty much any where. You can also use the Watermaster for Crowley. IMNSHO, you need to consider Crowley also!
Compare Waterstrider and Watermaster. The Waterstrider is lighter and just as tough. It's made by a different company.
HEY! Been awhile and wow what a big move!
You know me--I'm a stillwater guy and where you are going to be is clearly the best fishing in CA and some of the best on the West Coast. The Owens is wonderful. You will be close enough to Hot Creek to fish it when everyone from SoCal with their color coordinated freshly dry cleaned vests isn't. Now you have both the upper and lower Owens. The upper is Jon boat heaven. Motor up from Crowley, drift back down, wade fish from the camp site down. Lower I don't know but it's is good winter fishing I guess. Then the lakes---Convict, Twin, JAYSUS man there are some others I'll share with you privately too. I think you can learn to like stillwater when you start pulling up 8# browns ~John
Edit: If you want to do something other than the Jon, I'd look at the Scadden Detonator for $1000. It has a motor mount which you will want for the larger lakes. It is really a good pontoon--I just got one--you can come up and look at mine if you like. I have a boat seat on it too which is nice for long days.
Edit II: Be careful with the Flycraft. Reports from friends in Utah are they are too narrow. Lotta money too. You can do better. Those are really for people buying a dream that have never actually used anything similar, in my opinion.
Last edited by JAWallace; 12-27-2020 at 02:25 PM.
If you do not need to sell your jon boat, there will be plenty of places you can use it around Bishop. You might be better off to buy a good used boat (inflatable, hard shell or canoe) for $500 or less just for the Owens and smaller still water.
Floating the Owens- you will not fish out of the boat much, just ferry from place to place. I suggest you borrow or rent a hard shell kayak and float the LO without fishing, just scout where you will fish.
I have floated the Lower O twice in my Watermaster Kodiak and it was almost too much boat- except I use the rear deck to haul my folding bike and trailer. But I would suggest a smaller inflatable or a hard shell sit on top kayak. No rapids to note, biggest problem is not paying attention and hitting riverside brush- not the best use for any inflatable.
Using a kayak paddle would be a lot easier than oars on the LO.
FlyCraft- any framed boat is too much for the LO- hard to transport without a trailer.
Look at the fly fishing addicts forum for better info: search on "floating owens".... plus good place to hook up with fly fishermen in the Bishop area.
For single person rafts, I have a Watermaster, Waterstrider, and Scadden Outlaw Renegade. Each has plus' and minus'. I prefer the Watermaster over the others because it's more durable for the wood infested rivers and easier to row (heavy duty air chambers and has the strongest oar attachments).
Watermaster has 3 sizes- their smallest raft, the Grizzly, compares to the Waterstrider-- is 2" longer and about 1 ob heavier-- but Grizzly has larger tubes and better quality. Price is similar. Watermaster's customer service is exceptional.
Originally Posted by Cutthroat
Gary, now you’re going to want to get a Watermaster! We’ve discussed the right locations for these vessels, and need to do it! I’ll take good care of your Jon boat while you’re gone
Thanks for all the info. You guys have me conflicted now. Maybe keep the John and just buy a watermaster or like single person raft. I like the idea of holding onto my John for Crowley and the other lakes too. Nothing wrong with more boats, eh? Mark, maybe I’ll need to to watch over my John until I’m established out there in Bishop. Then you can deliver it to me when the time comes.