River's Touch Friends


Harold Dynamite Payson was a grand master of small wooden boat construction, modeling and story telling. He served as my mentor over the years, and it was Dynamite who talked me into recovering the McKenzie and Rogue River boats that had either been, or were in danger of being lost to time. Age and circumstance caught up with Dynamite and he passed away on March 23, 2011. I, as did Dynamite, retained my tactile approach to the laying down of lines, modeling and boat building. Dynamite was a legend in his own time, and people sought him out from around the world for his plans and his knowledge. Our collaborations spanned the continent from my shop in Oregon to his shop in Maine. I miss him very much, and am privileged to have been both a friend and partner. For more about Dynamite, go here.


Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures. A.J. DeRosa and his crew of professional guides/hosts offer unique, comfortable and elegant family friendly summer river experiences on the Snake, and equally appealing winter adventures along the Sake, to and from their Tipi Camp. Originally known as Woodenboat Tours, the boats are all vintage McKenzies. Winter travel is by horse drawn luxury sleighs along the river bottom to and from Tipi Camp. A.J.'s private Tipi river camp is the venue to treat his guests to gourmet meals that accrue from his outdoor cooking skils.  
 Rays River Dories. The “highwater mark for wooden drift boats" remains. David Hayes is continuing what Ray Heater started: high quality Rogue and McKenzie River dirt boats. Ray is retired, and his former partner, Cyrus Happy continued when Ray departed. Cy has mentored David Hayes for several years and has now passed the craftsmanship on to Dave.  David grew up in Portland, Oregon where fishing and handcrafting articles from wood became his passion. Over the years, his wood crafting passion moved to drift boats and today is a nice match for Rays River Dories. Check out the web site.  
Jasun Cajune of Livingston, Montana has set the high-bar for stitch and glue constructed boats at Cajune Boats. His exquisite boats can be commissioned, and in recent years Jason has begun to offer boat kits. While he appreciates the history of these boats as evolved through frame construction, he  has added his own designs and ingenuity through the technology of stitch and glue construction.

Down home Boatworks


Down Home Boatworks is owned and operated by Dave Zielinski in Western Pennsylvania.  He started building drift boats out of the love for flyfishing, rivers and big wild fish.   He's am a long time fly fisherman and my earliest memories are those surrounded by water and boats.  He built our first boat in the spring of 2000 from a set of lines off an original 16' driftboat.  One boat build led to another and before I knew it, I was building boats for my friends who shared my passion for fly fishing and river running. He's also a bird hunter, ukelele craftsman, song writer, jammer and wonderful friend who tested the efficacy of one my boats that appears in my book, The Trapper.  

Sandy Pittendrigh of Bozeman, Montana owns and operates Montana Riverboats. His popular boat plans (stitch and glue construction) are offered on line through subscription. In addition, he is a notorious fly tier, great story teller, and hosts the very informative and popular boat builders' forum. Forum participants are generally interested in stitch and glue construction, but there is interest for everybody.  

Brad Dimock is an author, river historian, wooden boat aficionado and Colorado River Guide. He owns and operates Fretwater Press, a small, independent publishing firm that offers unique biographies, logs and novels about icons of the Colorado. Brad co-authored The Doing of the Thing, the Brief, Brilliant White Water career of Buzz Holmstrom, and it was this book and the successful effort to resurrect Buzz's boat, the Julius, that brought Brad and I together. Noted, among other things, for his bad hair days, he is best known for his little publishing house, author, as a river guide, historian, and now, boat builder.  

Kenny, Kelsey, Dave

Helfrich Outfitters. Originating with Dave Helfrich, eldest son of Pricne Helfrich, his outfitting torch has been passed to his son, Kenny and granddaughter, Kelsey. Dave was an invaluable resource in my search for the original boats and the stories of the people behind them. Unfortunately, Dave passed away on October 7, 2016. Dave's tradition of excellence has been expanded with Kenny and Kelsey and their guiding crew. The Middle Fork of the Salmn, the Main Salmon, McKenzie, Wild and Scenic Rogue and Owyhee Rivers are their venues.  

A Helfrich Outfitter, Aaron and Jonnie Helfrich. Aaron is a Prince Helfrich grandson, and son of Prince's youngest son, Dean. A fishing or rafting river trip with these two and their guides is a memorable experience. Fish full or half-days on the the crystal-clear waters of the McKenzie River. Enjoy multi-day fishing or scenic trips through the Rogue's designated Wild and Scenic canyon, the John Day’s basalt canyons teeming with smallmouth bass or the Owyhee’s geologic grandeur. Check out these adventures by visiting their site and follow their links to their variety of journeys.  

Hayes Custom Boats and Guide Service,
Jayson Hayes of Cedar Flat on the McKenzie River.
 Jayson specializes in hand crafted custom wood McKenzie style drift boats. With nearly 20 years of experience, he also repairs and restores these timeless, classic boats. The majority of his boat building is from October to April, while his springs, summers and early falls are spent providing guided fly fishing trips or  relaxed floats on the McKenzie, Willamette and other local waters. Visit his site, or email ( jhayes5573@yahoo.com), or give him a call at (541) 912-9146.



Explore Oregon

Our friends at Travel Oregon, the "official travel guide to Oregon," is a site that highlights the wonders and travel opportunities of this great state, and especially, Grant McOmie, creator and presenter of Grant's Getaways. This feature is presented weekly on Portland's KGW- 8, and he recently featured the All Oregon Boat. Grant's enthusiasm for the out-of-doors, our Oregon heritage and the value of both preservation, restoration and history of things wild and beautiful such as Oregon's rivers and drift boats, makes him a darn good friend.





Outdoor Ventures teaches advanced river skills, rowing lessons and paddle instruction for the professional river guide and private boater. Learn to read river water, run rivers safely and confidently in whitewater dories, driftboats, paddle rafts, gear boats, catarafts and even inflatable kayaks. Learn to run some of the most scenic whitewater and salmon, trout and steelhead rivers in the Northwest. Oregon rivers include the McKenzie, Willamette, Santiam, Umpqua, Rogue, Siuslaw, Lake Creek and many other coastal rivers. Washington has beautiful stretches of fishing water on the Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Calawah and Hoh river. We specialize in one on one rowing and paddle training based on the individual students needs. Owned and operated by William Blair.



The Book










Drift Boats and River Dories


Half hulls


The McKenzie River

Boats  from the book


About Us

Contact Us

Friends (links)



Silhouettes (new)


The Rogue River

The Julius



For Collectors

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Coffee Table