Top 6 Freshwater Boats Favored by Fishers

Tracker boats to fishermen are like John Deere products to yardwork fanatics. I mean, who would voluntarily choose land over water? That’s another story. Anyway – Trackers are the most popular freshwater vessels on the market. Whether you’re new to freshwater boats or are looking to upgrade your rinky-dink canoe, Tracker is a solid brand to consider.

Freshwater Boats

There are several more fishing boat companies out there, like Ranger Boats and others. Even if all you’ve heard from your fishing buddies is Tracker, you should keep an open mind to other brands and types of Boats. This way, you’ll find the best boat for you, your budget and your purpose.

From professional-grade bass boats to family-friendly pontoons, there are several types and models that are favored by fishers and sportsmen. Your choice depends on what you need. Freshwater boats are ideal for all types of fishing and may be a great choice if you plan to fish more than parade your family around. If you’re keen to the latter and plan to throw some of your nieces and nephews off water tubes, go for a pontoon.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed when shopping for a boat. Here are six of the best boats on the market today.

1.  Crestliner 1760 Retriever Jon Deluxe

Jon boats are for no-frills fishermen. If you don’t mind minimal storage and small seating capacity, this brand is right up your alley. We’re talking affordability, simplicity and ease. If you’re like me, you don’t have time to learn the ins-and-outs of a luxurious vessel. Jon boats are no-frills vessels that will serve as loyal fishing companions on your local freshwater trips.

Hands (or rods) down, the best freshwater boat for new boaters is the 1760 Retriever. It’s compact yet still offers plenty of storage space and comfortable stern seating, giving you easy access to the tiller when cruising.

Small freshwater boats like this one don’t usually provide a ton of storage space, but you can easily store all the gear you need in the large bow storage space, which also includes a 16-gallon live well for your freshwater catches. Haul three times the load when you mount three fishing rods on the starboard rod rack.

Download our guide on buying a boat for more information on hulls, engines and deck layouts.

2.  Tracker Guide V-16 Laker DLX T

Of course, we had to include a Tracker right up at the top of the list. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that freshwater fishing boats are a specialty of Tracker. The company has gone above and beyond with the Guide V-16.

Visually, there aren’t many differences between the Guide and your average Jon boat, but start her up and you’ll quickly realize why fishermen gravitate toward Tracker vessels. Starting at $10,000, this model offers a deep-V hull, allowing more room and a drier, smoother ride. Don’t get too comfortable – as luxurious as she is, she’s meant for hard work and great fishing. But, if you happen to relax with a cold beer and some Bob Marley, start calling yourself Captain and offer up cigars to your mates, we won’t tell.

As easy as this freshwater fishing boat rides out on the water, its boat maintenance is even easier. It comes with vinyl flooring and decking, making rinsing and cleaning a breeze. The 15-gallon livewell has a standpipe overflow and features an additional bait bucket holder.

This model is considered one of the best freshwater fishing boats on the market for its functionality and comfort. If you allow, she can be your boat for life, with an extensive warranty, exclusive “Diamond coating” and corrosion and chip protection.

3.  Tracker Pro Guide V-165 WT

If Jon boats are a bit too “rugged,” perhaps the Tracker V-165 may be your best fit. This model is built for it all: fishing, water skiing, day drinki – I mean, tubing… because it offers speed, comfort and versatility. I always recommend this vessel for families that enjoy several different water activities.

Don’t worry – you’ll get to fish. Spanning 17 feet in length, you have plenty of room for all the kids, including their skiing and tubing gear, while still storing all your fishing gear on the boat. Sorry dad, water skiing is cooler than fishing to a seven-year-old.

While browsing freshwater fishing boats for sale, it can be difficult to understand the different features. Some of the most prominent features of the V-165 to keep in mind include:

  • A fiberglass construct with a safety glass walk-thru windshield.
  • A bow center lockable rod box.
  • Stowable navigation lights.
  • Marine grade vinyl flooring in the cockpit area.
  • Molded one-piece construction.

Tracker boats (like this one) also meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements and come with limited lifetime hull warranties. While this Tracker model starts at $23,395, keep in mind that your price point may increase if you add options, like the four-rod holder kit.

4.  Ranger 220F

Hate to burst your angler bubble, but if you have a family or plan to take friends out on your boat, you should look at vessels that are built for variety. In addition to serious fishing boats, Ranger Boats has several models focused on cruising and fun on the water. The 220F is a favorite pontoon boat among fishermen and day cruisers alike due to its comfortable design and insurmountable features.

This impressive freshwater boat offers a 12-gallon aerated livewell and a fiberglass console that includes a built-in footrest. If you’re more interested in cruising in style and comfort, the 220F is your best friend. From the dimensional diamond-patterned upholstery to the engine-enhancing motor extension, the luxury can be seen across the water.

5.  Ranger Z519L

Bass boats have stepped their game up. Just look at the Ranger Z519L, which is basically a floating spaceship. This boat takes fishing to a whole new level with technologically advanced features, including:

  • Digital switching.
  • Remote drain plug.
  • Big-screen navigation system.
  • Large, easy-to-read gauges.

If you’re shopping for serious freshwater boats designed to take you to first place in fishing tournaments and treat you to long days on the water, your search should stop here. The large hull makes it easy to maneuver but doesn’t take away from the 225-horsepower engine that can launch you across the lake in no time. The starting price for this Ranger Boat model is $60,000, but if you want a fishing boat that has all the bells and whistles, then this one is for you.

6.  Sea Ray SDX 270

As I’ve mentioned, Jon boats are great for no-frills fishing. But if you’re like me (and love when other boaters stop and stare at your ride), you should take a look at the new Sea Ray SDX 270. With plenty of luxury seating and a premium audio system, she’s designed for booze cruises and day trips more than serious fishing tourneys. Don’t let that stray you away from taking her to the top fishing spots; the boat has responsive steering and offers touchscreen navigation, helping you get from Point A to Point B.

There’s a seemingly endless supply of freshwater boats on the market, all of which come with different options and features. By determining your boating goals and reviewing the latest Tracker boats and other high-quality brands, you can easily find a vessel that fits your needs and your budget.

For more details on fishing boats and things to consider before finalizing a purchase, download our guide on buying a boat.