The Au Sable Riverboat was originally built in the 1870's. They were developed as a flat bottom craft that allowed the lumber companies to move tools and equipment up and down the river system.
Without a keel, the craft was pushed by a pole from the stern, sat high on the water and was an excellent means of seeing the land from the "inside out" for timbering purposes.
Boats were typically built out of cedar and white pine planks, weighed 300 to 400 hundred pounds and were a very stable craft for transportation purposes.
The original designs were 24 feet long and (2 ½ feet wide) with a pointed bow and stern.
The Rube Babbitt family modified the design in the 1880's to accommodate fishing by adding a live-box.
This original design remains unchanged today offering a comfortable and pleasant fly-fishing experience away from busy public access sites.
Craftmanship -- Handcrafted Tradition
The riverboats of the 21st Century are very similar to the original riverboats in size and style. They remain approximately 23 to 24 feet long and 2 ½ feet wide.
The Old Au Sable Boat Company continues the tradition of building quality riverboats.
New epoxy plus systems, fiberglass, and beautiful woods such as mahogany, black walnut, oak, ash, cherry, cedar strip and okoume marine plywood are used to build these outstanding river craft.
Cushioned chairs, carpeted false floors, rod holders, and built in live boxes lend themselves to a comfortable style of fly fishing or simple relaxation touring river systems.
It is our belief that these riverboats would be easily adaptable to many slow moving rivers in the United States, South America, New Zealand and Australia, as well as parts of Europe. What a wonderful way to fish.