A 17' foot boat is your best bet, I think. Big enough to carry gear, but not too big for smaller waters or short trips. I don't take my wooden boat steelheading on the Alsea.
The bottom of my boat is double-sheathed marine plywood coated with carbon-fiber impregnated epoxy over fiberglass. Very tough and very slick (but very heavy).
Yearly maintenance is simple: interior is oil finish. I recoat that as soon as it gets warm enough each spring. The clear wood on the shear rails and gunnels is coated with spar varnish. This again is a once-a-year touch up. The remainder of the exterior is painted with a marine paint. I've only painted this once and never repainted.
Incidentally, the whole boat is glassed.
Get good oars! Get four good oars!