Montana drift boat: the progress of restoring my classic Osprey

“ least as close to home as we could store it for now.”

It was a nice July evening near Yellowstone National Park, a great adventure and anniversary trip was had and Michelle and I were covered in dirt from head to toe. The night before, we had camped out in the park at Canyon Village and awoke in the middle of the night to a frenzy of sirens and hollering. Nothing too extreme though, just an official park ranger blaring his horn to ward off that sneaky grizzly bear that was looking for a bite of human food. The ranger woke up our neighboring campers and educated them on keeping their food stored correctly (they must have been from out-of-state)! Our trip was nearing its end, but my new journey was just about to begin!

We stopped in Livingston, Montana to take a look at a drift boat I had been drooling over for a while. Although it had some bow damage from the previous owners slamming it into a boulder, I wasn’t discouraged at all. We shook hands and the new title was in my hands.  My Subaru Outback peddled down the road like this was completely meant to be. We did however have to pull over outside of Butte, Montana to give the engine a rest (something started smelling a little funky). Brought it home, or at least as close to home as we could store it for now, and my visions and dreams began.

The old wood was actually rotting and molding! Osprey circa 1980s

The old wood was actually rotting and molding! Osprey circa 1980s

With my boat parked at my Aunt’s house outside of Missoula, we only ventured out on the river with it three or four times that first summer. Moving ourselves, the two cats, and the drift boat to Lolo has been amazing, I mean, the Bitterroot River is right outside my front door! So the only logical thing to do was start tearing the boat apart. I didn’t want the small fiberglass bow damage to grow anymore, so work had to begin. Deconstruction of anything is actually something I realized that I enjoy. I spent many sweaty days this past June and July taking out screws and hammering and prying away at the old wood. I currently have it all stripped of its gunwale (the wood strip that runs lengthwise along the boat), the seats and seat platforms are completely out, and I’ve sanded the old glue away. I am more than halfway at this point and am planning for the next stages; the fun part: building it back up.

A little boo boo.

A little boo boo

Below are photos that show the boat in its current state. It is a big turquoise hull of a boat sitting there at the moment (still covered of course). I plan to start patching up and layering the fiberglass on the bow and then onto the painting. Any color ideas!? I also have some exciting ideas for the new seat platforms, making them double as a storage or dry box underneath the angler. Stay tuned, its coming along nicely!

Stripped of its old wood.

Stripped of its old wood.

Old wood dies hard.

Old wood dies hard.

Time to repaint the inside, stain some wood, and go on an adventure!

Time to repaint the inside, stain some wood, and go on an adventure!

My personally recommended products relating to this topic:

MFC Boat Box, Olive, Large Fly Foam

Montana River Maps & Fishing Guide

Drift Boat Strategies: Rowing and Fishing Skills for the Western Angler (The Pruett Series)

HALF DAY Swan River Fly Fishing Guide Trip – Drift Boat Fishing with Outfitter



Maker! Web Designer • Front-end Developer • Digital Marketer • Musician • Montanan • Founder @mathsondesignco @whiskeywoodcreations | Former Marketing/Media @DIY_PETE Writing, woodworking, songwriting, blogging, and more. @scottmathson

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Posted in Art, Fly Fishing, Gear & Reviews, Outdoors & Exploring, Uncategorized
2 comments on “Montana drift boat: the progress of restoring my classic Osprey
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