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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I fished the Muskegon above Pine Street yesterday. I caught two fat rainbows and two brown trout on tangerine eggs. I didn't touch a steelhead, but two guys caught several with bait under bobbers.

I was impressed by some boat solutions the big river guys have come up with. I have delayed getting a boat because of the expense but these guys had open boats with tiller motors. The boats seemed less expensive than jet sleds. One guy had two impressive anchor guides that stuck up three feet. After fishing the current of the Muskegon for six hours I would guess that the two stacks are for doubling the anchor capacity. Am I correct in that or is there another reason the two stacks?

I will be launching and fishing solo so advice on a smaller boat 16' or less would be appreciated.

Question. Is the idea to get the widest boat for stability. These guys sttod up a lot.

Also, what is the ideal HP on a motor for a river boat plying the Muskegon?
 

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Everyone has there own preference of course and there is a better boat for different situations. The best all around boat I have seen out there would be a Rouge River boat, Kevin Feenstra a guide on the Muskegon has one and I have had the chance to row it and it rows good, and the plus is you can put up to a 25 horse jet on it. I have a drift boat and would trade in a second for his rig. Good luck and do your shopping there is alot out there to choose from.:p
 

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I am not all that familiar with the Musk. river....if you are fishing alone...you do not need to spend a lot of $$$$ for a specialized river boat.....you can use a 16 ft. alum boat...with a 10H.P. motor...or up to maybe a 25 H.P. motor...just need to take consideration of shallow water and hazards..you will need as short a shaft under the hull as possible.....and definately a chain type anchor...that is a ball of chain on a rope...not a standard anchor..this is possibly the cheapest way to go....and yet still use your boat/motor for other type fishing....just anchor up at the holes.....and drop body baits..ie: Hot-n-tots.....good fishing :fish: :fish:
 

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I agree with what snaggs says. To add to that, certainly as wide of boat you can manage would be ideal. Jon boats go by floor bottom width to designate width, thus a 1648 would be 16 feet long 48 inch wide floor, which would make the overall width approx 68-70 inches at the top of the gunnel. I would recommend at least a 48 inch width for either a 14 or 16. Also, a modified V hull jon, which has a slight (about 6 degree) deadrise, may help a bit especially if you want to use it on small lakes.

As far as a tiller motor goes, getting the shortest shaft for the transom is definitely the way to go, but remember that the cavitation plate needs to at least be flush or just below the bottom of the boat. Regarding power, while a good idiom is not to worry about going fast on rivers, it is also nice to be able to put the boat up on plane. On the other end of the spectrum, a heavier motor may not be as manageable with trying to pull the motor up to help clear a suddenly seen obstruction. I have a 25 hp on my 1648, which I feel is a good balance of power and versatility. I can still put the boat up on plane with 4 people in the boat,but the motor still is somewhat light enough to manhandle. For this size boat, I would say that a 15 hp would be sufficient, especially if you fish by yourself or with 1 other person and while I can take up to a 40 hp on my boat, I would have a much harder time handling it. For a larger motor, you can get a power trim unit, but they do not react quick enough and also between the size of motor, the power trim unit, and having a battery for the power trim, that would add alot of extra weight and make the boat draft deeper.

One word of advice when on the river is to never lock your lower end unit in the down position.

For a chain anchor, the ideal link size is about 4-6 inches to give a proper density. And, unless you have a special source, chain such as this is not necessarily cheap.

Good shopping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Blue back- Can you help me find a site of place to get more information on a Rouge River Boat. Is that a model name?
 

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I've had a couple of different riverboats. this is my thoughts:

cost is a concern:

get a green boat (jon) in a 16' with atleast a 48" width. usually you can get something used that is setup pretty good for a reasonable cost. These boats are ideal for 1-2 passengers. 3 or more passengers off step really can throw a wake up. Plus its a bit crowed.

if you have few more bucks
I highly recommend getting a quality electric river winch. River larry or similar. If I had to choose between getting a jet and a good winch (fortunately i dont have to) I would get the winch.

if you have a few more dollars, I'd get a jet. with a 1648 you would want at least 40 horse jetted to 30. If you fished high bridge down on the manistee only...you would not need a jet. However, the muskegon can be a bit tough on props. a jet is definately an advantage. Another factor to consider is that if you fish in the summer in water with a lot of weeds....you need a trolling motor or oars. a jet is a big vaccum...it will suck up a bunch of weeds.

another discussion is the the tunnel hull. I had one boat with and one boat with out. if I was using a prop...I'd probably get a tunnel hull. if I was using a jet. no tunnel. the tunnel will give you a bit more motor protection..on plan but off step...the boat actually has more negative boyancy and sits lower in the water. so if you slow down in a shallow spot...you could be looking for more trouble. the tunnel also acts as a funnel for leaves...which plugs your jet.
 

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ok I had more thoughts...


the rogue is a great option....its an 18'x48" boat with a max hp of 20 horse. its a great boat and will out handle a similar class jon boat (by far). However, its going to come at a higher cost.

Another option would be to jump up a class to something like a an 1860 with a larger motor. a Hull design such as a rivermaster, fish rite, or tracy's will give excellent preformance and will row reasonalby well. with a rig like that you can cover a lot of water, have plenty of room.

or you could go even bigger get somthing with an I/O jet (v6 or v8) like a Wooldrige, alumaweld, or northriver. these boats motors are have an amazing amount of power and really fly (60+mph). However, these boats are designed to go through rapids and distances we do not have here in the midwest. these boat row like a tank. many don't have oars....why bother? Many people find these boats over kill in the river and not enough in the big lake. Ironically, they can come at a cost of a decent river boat + a small glass big lake boat combined.

hope this helps,

Good luck.
 

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At rest with my tunnel, I probaby draft 6" at the transom and that is with one "very" heavy motor. It is all relative to bottom width. My tunnel is probably 12" wide, so that still leaves 5' of bottom at the transom to float the boat.

For cost savings my ideal would be something like the rivited 16 Landau with the shallow tunnel. My buddy had one and I think it was only something like $1600 and was a great boat for the cost. If you were doing most of your time on the Mo, a jet is a must have. If most of your time is on the Big M, I'd opt for a prop, even in the upper water.

As for the 2 towers? Most that I've seen are people that are opting for two Power Winch 40's which provides a cost savings over a River Larry winch. On a 16' boat, a winch is nice, but is not that important since you'd probably only be using 40lbs most of the time anyway. I'd always opt for manual or River Larry and not any of the in between solutions like a 4 wheeler winch or 2 minkota or power winches. BTW, even though the Pontoon Power Winch is rated at 40lbs, it comes no where near to handling that kind of weight and is more suited for 20lbs or so. Any boat bigger than 16', a River Larry winch is a must have. I actually liked my winch as a 12v better than I do since Larry converted it to 24V.
 

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One other thing. If you are going to get a prop, definitely get a rock guard. I forgot the name of the one that I have, but it is a three prong fork that connects on top of the cav plate and has a rod the sits just ahead of the front edge of the lower unit and divides into three forks just before the skeg. Probably the most popular right now is a River Runner. Guys that I talked with like that one also, but state that it does take a few notches off the top end. Which is no big deal as you are not going to be going fast anyways.

Also don't forget the oars. Especially when the river is really low, it makes more sense to spot the car and float the section than depending on motoring back to the launch, especially if you plan on covering large distances.
 

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I have a 14ft jon boat and have been very pleased with it.

I have a 15hp with a prop guard, bow mount trolling motor (i use it a lot on inland lakes) and a manual winch that was made by the guy i bought it from (works great too). My chain anchor is in the neighborhood of 40-50lbs and is probably overkill, but when i fish places like below 6th street dam when the water is high I like the extra weight (my old anchor was about 30lbs and slipped a lot without lots of rope out).

Ive had this boat for 4 or 5 years and have fished the grand, muskegon, manistee and countless lakes (including spring trolling on lake michigan) and have felt "mostly" comfortable in it. It doesn't like waves too much (especially with a heavy anchor on the front) and I haven't dared to blast over the coffers below 6th street with it. If you are careful you can manuver the muskegon with out too much problem with a prop, i have only really had problems when the water is low in the summer and that is only between the dam and thornapple in a few places (carmical flats for one). I normally fish me and one other person, but have fished with three in it before, although it is a bit cramped.

And... you can get a setup like this for under 2 grand...
 
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