Best Salmon Fishing Boats for the West Coast


It’s easy, actually. Find a lodge or fishing operation that carries its’ guests in covered cabin cruisers with an open deck for fighting the fish. But here is what you need to know. Many lodges, especially those who advertise remote wilderness locations, find the cost of transporting larger boats and the necessary fuel prohibitively expensive. In order to conserve fuel, management generally is forced to make one of two decisions. Guests find themselves fishing in small open boats, generally in the 15-18 ft. range, or sharing the company of 20-30 others on a 50 ft. plus ocean cruiser. Lodges that offer comfortable accommodations and covered boats for 2-5 people often charge upwards of $1,000 per day, per person! The following pointers will help you decide which type of boat is right for your next expedition…. Please note that this is our opinion and you are free to choose which you like!

There are 3 main types of fishing boat in use today on the west coast. The hard-top cabin cruiser style, the soft –top, and open boat.


25 ft Grady White SailfishThe soft-top is either 100% canvas top, or canvas wrapped around a fiberglass or aluminum roof. This type of arrangement is popular on walk-around style boats, such as many Grady-White models. While the Grady-White is a good fishing boat in Florida, the 24-29 ft models popular with some west coast guides offer limited protection for all but the captain and one other person. The sad part for finding boats is that most boats are designed this way. All guests unlucky enough not to score the only other seat behind the windshield find themselves halfway under the canvas, subject to all the boat spay and rainstorms that frequent the Pacific Northwest. Some people try and extend the cabin a little which does help the two people up front. It is recommended to wear warm rain gear or floater suits while fishing this type of boat on the west coast.


13 ft Boston WhalerThe open boats are often dory style or center console Boston Whaler style boats. Guests are often seated ahead of the console, not only taking the full force of the wind and rain, but also the pounding of the waves since they are so far forward along the boat’s hull. Rain gear is a must, hampering movement and providing more opportunity for sleeves and or other bulky outdoor clothing to get caught in a screaming reel.


29 ft Trophy with twin 250 Suzuki MotorsMy favorite type of fishing boat is the hard-top cabin cruiser style boat with an open deck and deep gunnels. The majority of this boat’s style on the market, from the cabin cruiser and motor yacht, place the engines directly under the fishing deck. Standard even on large fishing cruisers are deck gunnels that barely come past the knees. The last thing you want is for your friend to lose his balance and take an unplanned swim. It happens more than you would believe. Ask Salmon Eye about our boats with waist high gunnels or rails. An easy transition can be made from the fish fighting platform to the comfort of an all enclosed cabin with enough interior seating for up to 5 larger people.