Jon boat any good in southern Oregon?

Natmanjoh

New member
Hello everyone! New to the forum and had a question about boats; more specifically a jon boat. I’ve only lived in southern Oregon for the last couple years and have already fallen in love with fishing the many lakes and rivers. I’m tired of fishing from the shore and want to get a boat.

The boat will specifically be for myself and, at most, my two boys, 5 and 9. Wife has no interest in getting in a boat unless it’s a patio boat and I cannot afford one, yet... lol. The boat will only really be used for fishing the lakes around the medford area with willow, four mile, fish lake, and lake of the woods being my favorites thus far. Maybe I’ll end up liking the others too with a boat. I may want to take said boat to the dechutes area as well in central Oregon as that river is much calmer than the rogue from what I’ve seen. The rogue seems to be more a dedicated drift boat area than the deschutes. I may explore the lakes in the central Oregon areas as well if I have a boat too.

With all that said, do you all think a jon boat would work fine for these locations? I’ll only have around $5k to spend on a boat and do not really want to finance a boat. Most used boats are going for quite the pretty penny and I do not see spending $20k on a boat as reasonable at this time. Maybe a few years from now after I know I like boat fishing. I just want a ‘cheaper’ beginner boat to try it out. Jon boats are right in the $5k range. I have not seen any aluminum boats that were less than $10k. I mainly target trout as that is what I stock my freezer with. Salmon and steelhead fishing would be awesome, but I recognize one boat does not ‘do it all’ and I am content with hiring a guide for those trips to max my tags for the year. Much cheaper than buying a dedicated boat for 7 fish a year!

Anyway, thank you for any input. If you know of any good boat dealers int he southern Oregon region let me know!
 

Aervax

Most Featured
I paid $1650 a couple years ago for my old school high side drift boat with oars and trailer. The low side modern ones are lighter and easier to maneuver in general, but new they can also be 10X the price. Mine is not as cool as some boats, but functional and versatile for a variety of conditions and waters. And the price was right for my boat budget. I picked up a well used Merck longshaft 8 hp for another $900 to push it when fishing lakes and the Columbia. I'm with Tony on Jon Boats. I used to use one for duck hunting in marshes and fishing still water lakes, but it will limit your choice of places to fish in a state that has limitless and very versatile opportunities. Eastern Oregon lakes tend to be windy and choppy, unfriendly to jon boat styles.
 

fromthelogo

Member
I had a Jon boat about 15 years ago for a couple of years. The flat bottom made it relatively stable when moving around within it but it got blown around a lot in the wind. I only took it on flat water (lower Willamette, Tualatin and Hagg Lake). Not much freeboard. I definitely wouldn't take it on the Deschutes. It was a good starter boat.
 

Natmanjoh

New member
That is about what I expected to hear considering I never really saw any Jon boats out on the lakes. Comparing a simple v-hull utility boat with a 20 hp engine, I’m only looking at around $7k. I never really thought about a drift boat on the lakes due to the wind and smallish engine. Would a v-hull utility fit the bill more-so than a drift boat if my goal for This boat was to fish as many lakes as I could in southern Oregon including the bigger ones like applegate and lake of the woods?

And FYI I’m getting my pricing roughly from boat trader and manufacturer websites like Lowe’s and smokercraft. I think pricing was roughly $4-5k for the no-frills hull, $2k for trailer and $1-5k for engine depending on size. I saw a couple nice Alaskan style smokercraft boats with engines and trailers for $7k on boat trader in coos bay. Maybe I’ll wait til next year when’s I’ll have around $11k for a boat purchase. Let me know your thoughts.

And thank you to all for the quick responses!
 

Casting Call

Active member
check Craigslist DAILY! Sorry to say that so many job losses that peeps are selling their toys. I just got a rad arm saw for $75.00 and propelled mower for $100.00. Times are getting hard, more deals to come. Tony
 

SciFly

Member
I agree with the above posts. I have a small jon that is as wide as they make them (Marlon, 12 footer, 52 inch bottom) but I fish 99.9% of the time by myself. I can drag it off the trailer and across open land to get to the water if necessary. I do a ton of stillwater fly fishing from it. LOVE that boat. However, it has low sides and anything more than wind chop can be sketchy. I mounted Dirks anchor pulleys on both ends, but when I am pulling a 20# anchor up the bow pulley it feels like one good wave could swamp the boat. DO NOT take your kids in a jon down the river. You want a more multi-purpose boat? Watch the Internet sites daily and get a decent drift boat with motor for $4K or less. Get a fantastic boat+motor for $7K. You can fish any still water, launch in places that don't have developed boat ramps, float calm sections of river with total confidence, have a great casting platform for three people, be able to slow troll if you choose, have high enough sides to easily handle small white caps when the wind picks up on a lake and know you can make it back to shore in tact...it is just super versatile. If you want more speed to get across a lake but at the sacrifice of requiring a developed boat ramp, go with a Smoker Craft Lodge (super-super wide and stable) that has a V-hull and can take a larger motor than a drift boat and can get on plane and cover real distances. Drift boats do not plane. Their top speeds are more like a very fast trolling speed, but you can cover a lot more water than you could from a float tube or personal pontoon.
Yeah, everyone who fishes and has a boat really wants multiple boats so they have an answer for all conditions. Unfortunately, no single boat does that, but based on what you said (kids, stillwater, slow river sections) I think a decent drifter with a small outboard sounds like the ticket.
Best of luck, and tight lines!
 

plumbertom

Active member
I use a 16 ft. Crestliner jon boat for lake fishing and I fish and crab on the bays with it as well.
It runs a 25 hp Suzuki 4 stroke and will get up on plane and run across the water plenty quick for me.
I do try and stay off the water when the wind gets to blowing cause it has little free board and can get hard to control in wind and high waves being flat bottomed.
 

SciFly

Member
I use a 16 ft. Crestliner jon boat for lake fishing and I fish and crab on the bays with it as well.
It runs a 25 hp Suzuki 4 stroke and will get up on plane and run across the water plenty quick for me.
Great point, I seemed to have been focused in my mind on the typical small jon (10-12 feet) rather than the larger versions. There are some very solid and capable jons in the 16-20 foot range, like the Roughneck series that are very wide (72 inch+). Most of those are going to blow that $5K+ on the hull alone (no trailer, no motor, no nada), but you get what you pay for. The larger versions (18-20+ feet) can really do a lot and handle some fairly angry water with the right motor. You lose the "launch anywhere" benefit but with the right motor gain the speed factor. I get sort of "Christmas Morning" when I start imagining all of these options! Here is something important to think about: before you know EXACTLY what you want (through ownership and multiple outings to multiple places in multiple conditions) make sure you shop carefully and buy used for a good enough price that you could unload it for little or no loss if it just doesn't fit what you are looking for. Simply fishing from ANY boat is going to get you worlds ahead of the game by solidifying previous conceptions and identifying some other factors that weren't even on your radar...maybe like radar (like that word play? ;))
Best of luck, and tight lines!
 

Don Fischer

New member
I have a 15' Jon Boat. Got it used with a 2014 20HP Honda for $3000. Won't take it out far on the Columbia but don't get up there that much anyway. Place on the Columbia near Irrigon I'd take it to though. All those lakes around Medford, I think ya said Medford, I'd go with what I have. I pretty much look at it this way, I'm just going fishing, not trying to close some big land deal. I think the value of many boats is way over played. I mean for crying out loud, your going fishing! I've thought about going to Brownlee Res with my boat but it's a long trip. If I did I wouldn't get out in the middle of the thing. Then I wouldn't go out in the middle of Brownlee on the Queen Mary! There's a couple for sale on ifish in fishing classified's, that's where I found mine.
 
Top