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Nate Whiteman

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Reply with quote  #1 
With the rivers lower than usual...for a couple years in a row now...we're looking @ rafts, for those who use them what do u have and why, also what do u like in a frame?
Jason Rice

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Reply with quote  #2 
Aire Super Puma or Super Duper Puma
Fishing frame from Aire, NRS, or other. 

Just got back from rafting the Middle Fork Salmon. Drove to Missoula and nearly everyone in the Bitterroot Valley had the above setup.

I've guided the White Salmon in Super Pumas with a paddle crew. Totally fun.

Also own a 16ft Aire gear boat with frame. 1997 boat that has been used hard (thousands of river miles) but still looks great. Stored semi-inflated in the barn over the winter. Last March, I had to bleed air from the tubes since they were getting too firm from the hot temps!

The Streamtech boats from Maravia are also super bomber. I've rowed the Maravia version of their Green Drake and its a great performer. I just like Aire boats better. 

Aire has the best warranty in the business also. 10 Year No Fault. You drop it off the trailer and drag it along I-84 at 70 mph, they'll fix it under warranty.

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Brian Yates

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Reply with quote  #3 
MARAVIA Williwaw 1.5, NRS Frame. I have owned this set up since 2003 and it is bomb proof. Used it for running 3-5 day guide trips and it still looks new. The new ones have a 10 year warranty on them but I have never had to use the warranty. I keep it outside but I do have a cover I throw over it and I keep it inflated.
The river I use it the most there is no fishing from the boat so I set it up with 2 seats in the front, Here is a pic of us dropping into Whitehorse with all the camp gear in the back;
 
dave serafin

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Reply with quote  #4 
You can't go wrong with the top brands. In no particular order the rafts that I looked at are, Aire, Maravia, NRS, and Sotar. All different materials, urethane, pvc, and hypalon, they are all good.

I have a Maravia Zepher and love it. We use it to access fishing areas on the Yellowstone river but do not fish from the boat often. The frame that I use is the Bighorn II from NRS.

Rafts are quite an investment and can cost more than a drift boat when you get into trailers and all the other cool gear. If you can rent a boat the first few times you see if its for you. They are a lot of fun. 
Dave

John Driessen

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Reply with quote  #5 
If money isn't a huge issue then I'd go with an Aire Super Puma.  I had an 11.5' regular Puma when I lived in Missoula and rowed the Blackfoot.  Perfect for tight turns and incredibly responsive.
That said, I now live on the Lower Salmon and bought a 13' Aire Tributary with and NRS fishing frame.  The Tributary runs about $1,000 less than a Super Puma, maybe little more especially with thwarts.  I prefer a smaller boat, I know some folks might say get a 14' but I really like making quick maneuvers and crab walking when I need to with ease.  If you get the 13' get 8.5' oars.  They're just way easier on the arms compared to a 9' oar.  I personally have the Cataract SSG oars and Cutthroat blades.  Love my setup.
$4,300 without a casting platform http://www.redsflyfishing.com/Aire-Tributary-13-HD-Fishing-Raft-with-Frame-p/aire-tributary-framed-raft.htm

Maravia's are great to, so are NRS Otters.  Aire rafts have a separate bladder which zips in so if you end up with a leak, just replace the bladder instead of messing around.

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Gene Stevens

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Reply with quote  #6 

If you're willing to spend the money the Sotar Strike Rafts are hard to beat. My raft is the 11'6" model made for fishing with a custom made in Montana frame. Contact John Herzer with Blackfoot River Outfitters for details. The guys been all over the world rafting and really knows his stuff. Herzer and Sotar worked together on the design of this raft. The smaller model works really well for me, I can get thru skinny water when other rafts/boats are struggling or stuck on gravel bars. I don't do multi day trips so the extra room on a larger raft is not necessary. Can also fish two people front and back, tight but doable.

Mark Pascarella

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Reply with quote  #7 
These guys gave 2 solid options

http://www.stealthcraftboats.com/hooligan/

http://www.stealthcraftboats.com/stealthraft/


Their other boats are pretty solid, I imagine the same attention to detail has been put into the raft line
Duggan Harman

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Reply with quote  #8 
The Hooligan looked pretty nice until I saw it was rated for Class 2 whitewater. WTH?
Mark Pascarella

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Reply with quote  #9 
Not too many type 4 and 5's in the GL region.
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