best fresh water fishing boats

Best Freshwater Fishing Boat Types

Written by Boatsetter Team
July 19, 2021

Last Updated on July 24, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

When you are looking for the best freshwater fishing boats, it is a good idea to rent a few models before deciding to invest a large amount of money in your own boat. Here at Boatsetter, we have highlighted some of the most important factors to consider when you are looking at the best freshwater fishing boats available today.

Freshwater fishing can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise, and it provides lots of ways to bond with your family and friends. Sometimes you can even cook the fish you catch directly on your boat. Getting out into nature is an added benefit, and freshwater fishing also supports the environment.

Freshwater fishing boats can mostly be used to catch many different species, but they can also be perfect for watersports and entertaining guests on a scenic sunset cruise along the water. The delicious fish cooking on the grill will leave your guests with all kinds of long-lasting memories to cherish. If you are thinking about a freshwater boat, you can choose a few of the best types.


Often able to comfortably hold between six and ten people, bowriders have wide-open bow areas. While they are often used for recreational watersports, a bowrider can also be used for freshwater fishing. Bowriders are versatile because they can do a lot of things well. You can use them for towable watersports, which is great for getting your kids outside and away from the screens. The bowrider market offers entry-level runabouts under 20 feet long to luxurious offerings with bow and aft seating and a mid-cabin with a head compartment and a berth.

Bass Boats

bass boat fishing

Often used for tournaments, bass fishing boats have ample deck and storage room for two to three onboard anglers. When considering bass fishing boats, remember that these are not all-purpose fishing boats. Design features that make them so effective for bass angling, like the low profile, maximized casting decks, and minimized seating, all mean that they won’t be the best boats for other activities. Bass boats are generally more expensive than many other boats of the same size, especially for top-tier models. The main cost is the initial purchase price.

Center Consoles

center console boats

Center consoles are good freshwater fishing boats because of their large deck space. The best center console boats are also designed to handle all sorts of sea conditions. Even the smallest center console boats are usually designed to provide a safe, comfortable ride over long distances. All mid-sized or large center console boats carry the features and fuel capacity to venture far offshore.

While there are very large and expensive multi-engine center consoles for experienced boaters, there are also much more affordable ones for beginners. When looking for the best center console boat you can get for the money, you will find that single-engine boats are often priced in the same range as a new car.


One of the simplest freshwater fishing boats, dinghies, are small and lightweight boats that can easily be towed or placed on a regular car. Dinghies are utility boats used to haul people, gear, and other provisions back and forth to a larger cruising vessel. They generally have a hard floor and inflatable rubber or synthetic tubes. They are very buoyant and stable, which is necessary for good fishing boats.

Ownership costs for dinghies are usually low as compared to other boats because of their simplicity. There will be the initial purchase price, but most dinghies can be stored in a garage at your home. Dinghies over eight feet with a outboard motor will need to have a state registration sticker, so there will be a low fee.

Deck Boats

Ideal for large groups of people, deck boats have a large and generous deck as well as a powerful engine that makes them great for watersports. Some of the more versatile deck boats can also be used for recreational freshwater fishing. Probably the best thing about these boats is that you can bring all your best friends along. With a deck boat, you have the room to accommodate even more people than you could with some other boats.

Inflatable Boats

inflatable boats

Inflatable boats are easy to store, and they can be quite cheap to purchase or rent. They are also sometimes large and powerful enough to use for scuba diving, motorsports, and fishing. Today, many boats come with inflatables that can be used to carry items back and forth instead of having to take the bigger boat closer to shore.

Storage or dockage is another cost consideration. Smaller inflatables can be stored on trailers outside or in a garage. Larger inflatables may be kept at a dock and in the water year-round. Motorized inflatables will include the cost of one or more engines and possibly a trailer as well as state registration for both.

Many recreational boaters are fond of inflatables due to their buoyancy (which also increases their load-carrying capacity), their stability (which makes them much safer), and their durability (because the soft sides leave no dings). Ownership costs for inflatables vary, but they are based on complexity, size, construction, and brand.

Jon Boats

Jon boats are flat-bottomed vessels, generally built of aluminum. They usually have square bows and are lightweight, but you can find models in fiberglass or polyethylene resin. The majority of jon boats are small and light, and most have a bench seat built in. Jon boats are an excellent option if you are new to fishing boats or have a tight budget.

Jet Boats

Known for their speed and maneuverability, jet boats are powered by an inboard water jet pump. Thanks to the recent innovative advances in hull designs, there are no limitations to what you can do with a jet boat. They are very well-suited for watersports but can also be used for recreational fishing. Slow speed maneuverability, such as when you are trying to dock the boat, has been greatly improved over the years, and the fuel consumption of these boats has also become a lot more reasonable.

Pontoon Boats


Buying a modern pontoon boat can be expensive or economical because there are pontoon boat prices that fit every budget. When you work out the ownership costs of a specific pontoon boat, a very important factor to figure in is storage or mooring costs, especially if you don’t have the space to keep it on a pontoon trailer at your house.

Pontoon boats usually have large, boat-wide decks and plenty of seating areas. They also offer a stable platform for freshwater fishing. Pontoon boats are popular because they can be used for all kinds of things like day cruising, watersports, swimming, and fishing. There are also performance pontoons with big outboard engines, as well as several new luxury-oriented pontoons.


Built mainly for fishing, these can be ideal freshwater fishing boats for the whole family because of additional onboard amenities such as plumbing and stowaway seating. The design has an efficient, open cockpit in the rear with a deck that’s easy to clean, live wells and bait wells, rod holders and tackle storage, and fishing and navigation electronics.

The smallest walkaround models have one cabin with room for just a berth and a portable toilet. Small walkaround models are often designed to be fairly cheap, but they also have very basic angling features and small cabins. The cost of a new walkaround boat is directly related to the level of amenities and the overall size. As they get larger, the price goes up, and so do the features.

Sportfishing Boats

Sport fishing boat

These high-performance freshwater fishing boats are equipped with everything you need to improve your fishing experience. They are the perfect types of boats for pursuing big gamefish. They often have massive fuel tanks for taking long lake fishing trips in the open waters of big lakes like Lake Michigan. Whether you are considering some of the best sportfishing yachts in the world or the most modest models, you can be sure that these boats cost far more than many others. The purchase price is sometimes measured in the millions of dollars, so they can be the perfect type of boats to rent by the day with a bunch of your closest friends.

Use Boatsetter to Discover Your Boat

The cost of the freshwater fishing boat that you choose will probably be one of the most important aspects of your decision. Before buying a boat, explore all your options by renting out several boats and trying them first. Then you can make a better decision based on your budget and preferences. You might select a pontoon boat to sail in shallow waters, a center console or sportfisher for longer freshwater fishing expeditions, or a powerboat for taking your whole family water skiing.

Whether you are taking your boat out on the water or trying out a new boat that you have rented, you will always need to spend some time getting to know some of the specific characteristics of the boat. This is especially true when you are trying out some of the newest models available today. Getting to know all of the latest features of the newest freshwater fishing boats can bring home a big catch for dinner.

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