Somewhere between fishing from the bank in a lawn chair and gassing up the 20-footer, there's a whole class of watercraft ready to open up new water for you.
Float tubes and buster boats are just fine if you fish lakes or ponds, but they are NOT advisable or safe in rivers with any sort of current. Canoes have been a time-honored favorite, but not everyone has the necessary awareness of balance that a canoe requires.
Another great solution to cover both rivers and lakes is the inflatable pontoon boat. They can be easily disassembled for transport, and although they are rowed, most can be fitted with an electric trolling motor for still water.
On the other hand, 8- to 9-foot boats with brass oarlocks are entirely suitable for the Class III rapids that occur on many Western rivers. The stability of these boats is impressive.
Prices range from just over $300 to over $2500, depending on the size and features. You will pay more for a lighter, non-corrosive aluminum frame, for instance. Boats with urethane bladders will cost more than a model with vinyl bladders.
If you are going to run strong rivers, invest in a boat with brass oarlocks. These are stronger than cast zinc or stamped strap metal. Some boats are equipped with a "stand-up" fishing deck. These boats are generally on the spendier side, as are two-person boats. On many Western rivers a floatation device and spare oar are required.
On both still and moving water, an anchor system comes in very handy. Once you've gotten the hang of rowing, you'll find these boats to be a very pleasurable way to navigate your favorite water, or explore brand new territory.