The Mckenzie River Wooden Boat festival is this Saturday at Eagle Rock Lodge. This is a great chance to get out and see for yourself the history, evolution and present of these nimble, stable, beloved boats.! This show is a fantastic display of the huge gift that the fishermen of the Mckenzie River gave to the world of flyfishing!
At the show you will get to see not only the past but the present of wooden driftboats and how they remain relevant today. Many of the region’s top-builders will be there including the guys from Ray’s River Dories, Tatman Wooden Boats, Mckenzie River Driftboats, and others. I believe that the guys from Montana Boat Builders are coming all the way from Big Sky Country. I think though they’ll probably leave the stich-and-glue boat at home and bring a traditional framed Mckenzie boat. We’ll see . . . .
The Mckenzie River driftboat evolved for fishing the big waters of the Mckenzie. In 1925 Guide Veltie Pruitt built the first very light board and batten driftboat that began to resemble the modern driftboat. Later, Tom Kaarhus was the first to convert to plywood. These Mckenzies were square sterned boats (the square end was downstream) and the upstream end was pointed. It was left to Woody Hindman to build the double ender in the winter of 1939-40 that he converted to the final basic design of the modern driftboat we all love with squared of transom and the pointed downstream end in 1946. For a brief history of the evolution of the craft see Roger Fletcher’s site.
Don’t miss it! Go and and see some historic boats built by the legendary pioneers in river boat design and celebrate our region’s huge contribution to fly fishing throughout the world!
Oh, and make sure to sign up for our Sharkskin Fly Line Giveaway through May 1, 2008.