BlogFebruary 2023

6 Types of Boats for Fishing Freshwater Lakes

6 Types of Boats for Fishing Freshwater Lakes

By Debbie Hanson

Feb 14, 2023

Summary of six types of boats for fishing freshwater lakes. Different types of fishing boats considering the size of the waterway, watersports, family activities

If you are interested in learning more about the types of boats for fishing freshwater lakes, it’s helpful to consider the size of the waterway. For example, jon boats are good choices for small inland lakes or ponds (covering perhaps a maximum of a few hundred acres), while bass boats and fish-and-ski boats are better choices for larger lakes (those covering thousands of acres).


Different Types of Fishing Boats for Freshwater

Check out this basic summary of the different types of fishing boats for freshwater so that you can make a good decision regarding the best boat for you.


1. Bass Boats

For freshwater bass tournament anglers who want to cover a lot of water in a short amount of time, a bass boat is a good option. A bass boat is the best type of boat for fishing large lakes and rivers. These boats are generally made with a modified V-hull that has a sharper V-shape at the bow to cut through chop, but then transitions to a flatter V at the stern. Most bass boats come with the latest marine electronics, a trolling motor, and side console steering.


2. Pontoon Boats

If you’re interested in the best type of boat for family and fishing on large to medium sized lakes, consider a pontoon. Pontoon boats provide a stable, safe, and easy-to-transport platform. Today’s fishing pontoons typically have at least one livewell, rod storage, tackle storage, and fishing chairs. They offer comfortable seating, plenty of storage, and a Bimini top for shade. Pontoons are a smart choice for family fishing trips but can also be used for a relaxing day of cruising too.


3. Aluminum Fishing Boats

One of the types of small boats for fishing is an aluminum fishing boat with either a modified v-hull or deep v-hull in lengths from about 16 to 20 feet. Most types of aluminum fishing boats offer a balance of toughness and the ability to smoothly slice through the waves. Look for all-welded construction, which will be more durable than riveted construction. Most manufacturers include features that add to fishability such as electronics, trolling motor, and interior lighting.


4. Jon Boats

When considering the types of small fishing boats that are available, jon boats are one of the most popular and affordable. Jon boats are a good first boat choice for anglers who want to explore small inland lakes or large ponds. They are rugged, durable, and easy to trailer from one small lake to another. Some jon boats come with center or side-console steering, but most small jon boats are operated with a low horsepower outboard and tiller steering.


5. Fish-And-Ski Boats

If you are looking for types of freshwater fishing boats that can double for watersports activities on a large lake, then a fish-and-ski boat might be the best option for you. They are popular multi-use boats in the 15-to-22-foot range that are set up for watersports and cruising in addition to fishing. Some fish-and-ski boats are designed with sterndrive engines that allow more deck space for activities like water skiing and tubing.

6. Deck Boats

When considering the best type of boat for fishing and family fun on a large lake, a deck boat is another option to consider. Deck boats generally range from 18 to 26 feet with a maximum passenger capacity of between 9 and 14 people. Most deck boats are constructed from molded fiberglass, powered by an outboard or inboard/outboard engine, and have several storage compartments under the seats or deck for watersports gear.


Now that you have a short run-down of some of the types of boats for fishing freshwater lakes, narrow down your options and get that much closer to living the boating lifestyle!

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.