Costco has Pontoon Boats on sale for $300

myt1

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At least the Costco in Mesa, Arizona has them on sale.

It's a bit of a beast, but I'm hoping it will work out for a float trip I plan on taking this summer down the south fork of the Flathead River.

It weighs almost 70 pounds, but the pack station says I can bring 150 pounds, so I guess I'll be okay.

This appears to be virtually the same boat, by the same manufacturer, sold at Bass Pro Shop and Cabela's for $600.

The oars or 6' long.

Should I upgrade to 7' oars?

Anyway, I thought this might be of some interest to some of you.

IMG_0882.jpgIMG_0884.JPG
 

scotty macfly

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Hey, that's pretty nice. I have a float tube, and it works fine, but I always wanted to be able to sit up a little higher so I can cast a little more comfortably. And at $300, that's a great deal.
 

100954

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The Costco in Fargo, ND Has them too. I looked at one yesterday. I have a Scadden Skykomish Sunrise which I paid $1,200 - $1,500 for years ago & the pontoon material seems to similar and just as tough as the Skykomish. The frame is not the same though. But still a good deal for someone who needs/wants one.
 

Car7x

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If you haven't been, You'll love the S fork - We did it way overloaded in a Smithfly 3 man. I had good outfitters on both ends, but the raft hardware got pretty beat up going in. If I were to do any pack in again, I'd be clear on when they're going to pack the mules and be there to 'help'.
However, I've also got an Aquaglide inflatable 2 man kayak. After seeing that I ended up rowing more than fishing in our situation, I think I'd bring that, running solo, and we'd all just stop to fish. Fewer mules to rent. And with a patch kit, you will make it home.
I'm a little scared of that frame/hardware and the overall burliness, if you are a savvy river guy that helps, but you are way in there. You should be solid on Class 3. We saw probably 20 packrafts, and outfitters whitewater rigs, no pontoons. That rig looks ok for flatwater, or the Madison, etc., but I wouldn't take it into a wilderness situation.
I wish we had milked the upper for bulls; we were concerned about making time and needn't have been, the lower can go pretty fast. And there is some stout water thru the Canyon. We needed every inch we had higher up, due to way over weight, thru the skinny water, and a couple hundred more CFS in the bigger water would have been pretty damn western. Make sure you can repair anything that is mission critical; it would be a long, long walk out.

I would get pro grade 7' oars, I run these (think mine are 8') for the raft:

SAWYER SMALL STEALTH (SST) OAR

You need 3. Those stock oars won't make it, sell them or save them for lakes.

Take some mahogany / brown attractors,and Adams. We had bad beta going in and our selection of dries was mostly attractors, and the cutts were much more selective than we'd been led to believe. We also were surprised at the people; quite busy. Make camp early and fish. Main horse trail and therefore campsites tend to be river right, with obvious exceptions.
Stay laser focused on river right once halfway into the Canyon. Really pay attention for the Gorge pullout. It doesn't look like the photos. There is a big beautiful obvious new pullout river right. The wooden sign further down is past the pullout, and the older pullout cove, and hard to see anyway. There is an obvious cliff pinch beyond, wth a log across high, and it dumps to the right. We missed the pullout and had an epic.
 
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myt1

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If you haven't been, You'll love the S fork - We did it way overloaded in a Smithfly 3 man. I had good outfitters on both ends, but the raft hardware got pretty beat up going in. If I were to do any pack in again, I'd be clear on when they're going to pack the mules and be there to 'help'.
However, I've also got an Aquaglide inflatable 2 man kayak. After seeing that I ended up rowing more than fishing in our situation, I think I'd bring that, running solo, and we'd all just stop to fish. Fewer mules to rent. And with a patch kit, you will make it home.
I'm a little scared of that frame/hardware and the overall burliness, if you are a savvy river guy that helps, but you are way in there. You should be solid on Class 3. We saw probably 20 packrafts, and outfitters whitewater rigs, no pontoons. That rig looks ok for flatwater, or the Madison, etc., but I wouldn't take it into a wilderness situation.
I wish we had milked the upper for bulls; we were concerned about making time and needn't have been, the lower can go pretty fast. And there is some stout water thru the Canyon. We needed every inch we had higher up, due to way over weight, thru the skinny water, and a couple hundred more CFS in the bigger water would have been pretty damn western. Make sure you can repair anything that is mission critical; it would be a long, long walk out.

I would get pro grade 7' oars, I run these (think mine are 8') for the raft:

SAWYER SMALL STEALTH (SST) OAR

You need 3. Those stock oars won't make it, sell them or save them for lakes.

Take some mahogany / brown attractors,and Adams. We had bad beta going in and our selection of dries was mostly attractors, and the cutts were much more selective than we'd been led to believe. We also were surprised at the people; quite busy. Make camp early and fish. Main horse trail and therefore campsites tend to be river right, with obvious exceptions.
Stay laser focused on river right once halfway into the Canyon. Really pay attention for the Gorge pullout. It doesn't look like the photos. There is a big beautiful obvious new pullout river right. The wooden sign further down is past the pullout, and the older pullout cove, and hard to see anyway. There is an obvious cliff pinch beyond, wth a log across high, and it dumps to the right. We missed the pullout and had an epic.
Wow, thanks so much.

I was thinking of upgrading to precisely the oars you mentioned; now, I will definitely get them.

I think we will be taking-out just before the gorge.

I've already started tying a bunch of size 12 black parachute Adams and Spruce Moth flies. I'll bring some smaller dry flies of different types too.

I was thinking of trying for some Bull Trout as well. I was going to get some large streamers in the six inch range.

That sounds like good advice to make camp early and then fish.

Thanks so much.
 

Car7x

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Hi Rick - Yes, you must exit above the Gorge. There is a camp a day or 3 before you get there, with a suspension bridge across - we never planned a stop or bailout there, so I don't remember my superficial research about it - but I think packers go in and out there all the time, so that is an option. Otherwise the exit is right at the Gorge.
If you go with that floatie, bring spare parts, bailing wire, probably a spare oarlock. Locktite everything, maybe even bring some some JB Weld. It is a marginal setup for a wilderness float; it could do the water under optimal conditions, but consequences are serious.
We took the web maps, blew them up and laminated them; did a map a day. I'd send them to you, but one of the other guys must have them, can't find them. A couple miles below the confluence, where you will likely be dropped, is the center of the best bull trout water, I wish we had stayed up there a long time and hiked up from there to hit the deep pools, lots of oxbow pools above where the outfitters like to drop you; that's the best big fish water. We did not want to miss our ride out a week later. Only place we saw a bear, big black long ways out.
Those oars may be on sale now.
Good luck - Costco bio wipes are key!
 

myt1

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Hi Rick - Yes, you must exit above the Gorge. There is a camp a day or 3 before you get there, with a suspension bridge across - we never planned a stop or bailout there, so I don't remember my superficial research about it - but I think packers go in and out there all the time, so that is an option. Otherwise the exit is right at the Gorge.
If you go with that floatie, bring spare parts, bailing wire, probably a spare oarlock. Locktite everything, maybe even bring some some JB Weld. It is a marginal setup for a wilderness float; it could do the water under optimal conditions, but consequences are serious.
We took the web maps, blew them up and laminated them; did a map a day. I'd send them to you, but one of the other guys must have them, can't find them. A couple miles below the confluence, where you will likely be dropped, is the center of the best bull trout water, I wish we had stayed up there a long time and hiked up from there to hit the deep pools, lots of oxbow pools above where the outfitters like to drop you; that's the best big fish water. We did not want to miss our ride out a week later. Only place we saw a bear, big black long ways out.
Those oars may be on sale now.
Good luck - Costco bio wipes are key!
Once again, thanks so much.

I ended up ordering the Sawyer SST oars. I spent more on the oars than I did on the boat, but I think the peace of mind will be worth it; particularly since I have zero experience with this type of thing.

Both of my buddies who will be on this trip are very experienced river runners, so they are kinda laughing at me for spending so much.

I'll definitely bring a repair kit and the bio-wipes sounds like a great idea too.

Thanks for the advice on the bull trout. Weight restrictions permitting, I'm hoping to bring a setup to target them, although my buddy doesn't think they'll be as high as the confluence the end of July, which is when we will be doing our trip.

This friggin' trip is almost four months away and I'm already peeing in my pants in excitement.
 

Car7x

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Yeah, have fun; the usual packer dropoff is about 3 m below the confluence. We - and everyone else - went in July, that's the only open season for bulls.
 

Sleddog

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I bought this pontoon from Costco last year. I use it on still water exclusively, so no experience or advice on rivers or streams.
My only advise is to use it several times before your trip. I like & use mine a lot, perfect for what I use it for. However, I have one bladder that constantly gets small pinholes in it. I've patched at least a half dozen pinholes. Windex works good for locating them btw.
I think I'll order a replacement bladder if it continues to be a problem.
 

patrick62

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I've had several pontoons similar to that Costco model and I can say without hesitation that they are for lakes and ponds. I wouldn't take one on a river, period. And even a big lake, with a good chop, will be iffy. I took one out on Lake Champlain once and almost got flipped when a small motorboat zipped past and left me flailing around in the wake. Didn't take much. AFter that I stuck to the shoreline and I was okay.
 

myt1

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Thanks, our trip is still two months away and I'm already having trouble sleeping at night due to the anticipation.

I still haven't taken my boat on it's maiden voyage yet, but I hope to get it on a lake in a couple of weeks.

I did upgrade the oars however. I've heard of people having trouble with the oars that come with the boat.

Sadly, I spent more on the oars than I did on the boat.

Still, I have spent pretty much the same amount of money if I would've bought the boat at Cabela's, and that would've been with the cheaper oars.

I added some 7' foot Sawyer fiberglass oars.
 

Chesterfly

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I have a Colorado classic pontoon pretty close to what you have I floated the St Joe , Kootenai and Clearwater river with it , no problems at all . One thing I would suggest is when in fast water keep her pointed with the flow not across it and you'll be fine . Good luck , would love to be going on that trip .
I just bought the Colorado and it is a great boat. It's on sale on Amazon for $299. I read reviews on the Costco boat and they were iffy. The same company makes the Colorado and its it's a step up from the Wilderness.
 

myt1

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I just bought the Colorado and it is a great boat. It's on sale on Amazon for $299. I read reviews on the Costco boat and they were iffy. The same company makes the Colorado and its it's a step up from the Wilderness.
Great, I just loaded my iffy Wilderness into my truck, and I plan on taking it for a shake down cruise on a lake in Arizona this weekend before taking it to Montana this summer.

I hope I don't have any issues.

I did upgrade the oars from the stock oars. I bought a set of Sawyer 7' foot fiberglass oars. They friggin' cost more than the boat, $392.00.

I'm a complete novice to floating a river and the last thing I wanted was an equipment failure several days into a week long float trip.

Do you happen to know specifically what was iffy about the Wilderness?
 

Leo222

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Hi, who can give advice? I want to give my old man a gift, I think to give a kayak. But I do not quite understand the topic, it is better to be inflatable, or with a seat on top?
When searching in Google, it shows that these are popular models: Vibe, Sun Dolphin and tamarack.
What can people with experience recommend? The price of the kayak or the possibility of transporting it to the fishing spot is not limited.
Thank you in advance for your help
 
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