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Essential River Kayak Fishing Tips

Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Donnell Henderson

river kayak fishing

If you’re looking for a great fishing experience, river kayak fishing is the way to go. Many rivers offer excellent kayaking and fishing opportunities. In this blog post, we will provide some tips for having a great trip on the river. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, these tips will help you make the most of your outing. So grab your gear and get ready to wet a line!

The best river fishing kayaks are designed to provide anglers with a stable platform from which to fish in calm or slow-moving water. When choosing a river fishing kayak, it’s important to pick one that will fit your needs. For example, an inflatable kayak is good for transportation and easy storage if your place is small, but they’re not as durable as hard-shell kayaks.

A sit-in kayak with a rudder system for fishing rivers with strong currents will help you stay on course. Most fishing kayaks have one or two fishing rod holders, but there are also kayaks with four or more fishing rod holders.

Is River Kayak Fishing Dangerous?

You have heard river kayak fishing is dangerous, but do you know why? Here are five potential reasons:

  • The fast-moving water can be dangerous, and river conditions can change quickly.
  • You can become separated from your gear or get stuck in river rapids.
  • Many obstacles on the river, such as rocks and logs, can pose a danger to kayakers.
  • Knowing these dangers is important before embarking on a river kayak fishing trip is important.

If you are planning on going river kayak fishing, make sure you are prepared and aware of the potential dangers. Following some quick tips can enjoy a safe and fun river kayak fishing trip.

7 Major Tips While Doing River Kayak Fishing

Choosing the Right Gear

You can not carry tons of gear in your river kayak, but you need to choose the right gear for different conditions. In general, river kayakers carry a few essential items. Bait is one of the most important items. The type of bait you use will depend on the type of fish you are targeting.

Other essential items include a fishing rod, a fishing reel, and a line. A net is also a good idea. Nets can help you to land fish and keep them from escaping.

But before packing anything, ensure you’re not carrying too much stuff with you as it will not only make your kayaking difficult but also increase the chance of tipping over.

Study Water Behavior

Many river kayakers spend time studying the river before they start fishing. By understanding the river’s currents and eddies, kayakers can position themselves for optimal fishing.

River kayakers also study the river bottom to find areas that might hold fish. You can see multiple things, like somewhere near a rock or a hidden place where big fishes trap the smaller fishes or under a shadow of tree branches from where insects are falling in the river, which attracts the fishes.

All this information can help kayakers determine where to fish and what type of lure or bait to use.

By studying the river, kayakers can increase their chances of success when river kayak fishing.

The Art of Drifting

Drifting is a great river kayaking technique for those who want to fish in a variety of river conditions. By understanding the river’s flow and being aware of obstacles, kayakers can drift downstream and fish effectively. Drifting involves allowing the river’s current to carry the kayak downstream while the kayaker fishes.

It is most effective when there is a significant amount of river flow. This technique can be used to fish in an area for an extended period. When drifting, it is important to be aware of obstacles in the river. This includes rocks, logs, and other kayakers. It is also important to be aware of the river’s current and eddies. With this technique, you can cover a lot of rivers in a short period and increase your chances of success.

Head to the Edges

This is the prime location and a point where river fish feed the most. By casting your line near river banks or along weed lines, you are more likely to get a bite. You can also encounter an eddy line in the river, which is a great spot to fish. You can even do fly fishing from your kayak.

Kayak anglers take advantage of the structure and currents found in river eddies to target fish. By fishing in an eddy, kayakers can remain in one spot despite the river’s flow. This allows them to target fish that might otherwise be out of reach.

Eddies also provide kayakers with a chance to rest and relax while waiting for fish to bite. However, kayakers must be careful not to get too close to the eddy line, as they could be pulled downstream. Despite the dangers, kayak fishing in river eddies can be a great way to catch big fish.

Anchoring Kayak in a River

While river kayak fishing, it is important to be aware of the river’s current and anchor your kayak accordingly. By anchoring your kayak, you will be able to fish in one spot for an extended time. This is especially helpful when targeting larger fish that might not bite right away.

There are a few different ways to anchor a kayak on a river. The most common method is to use an anchor trolley. An anchor trolley is a system of pulleys and lines that allows kayakers to attach their anchors to the side of their kayaks. This system gives kayakers the ability to adjust their anchors as needed and keep their kayaks in place.

Another common method of anchoring a kayak is to use an anchor stake. An anchoring stake is a long, metal rod that is driven into the river bottom. Kayakers then tie their kayaks to the anchor stake using a rope or strap. This method is most commonly used in shallower river sections.

No matter which method you use, anchoring your kayak is a great way to stay in one spot and fish effectively.

Depends More on Maneuvering Than Paddling

River kayaks are designed for maneuverability rather than speed. This makes them ideal for fishing in river conditions. By using the river’s currents and eddies, kayakers can position their kayaks for optimal fishing.

Paddling a river kayak is different from paddling a regular kayak. River kayaks are often shorter and have a wider beam or width. This makes them more stable in river conditions. Always make your hips and shoulders square to the kayak. This will help you maintain control of the kayak and paddle efficiently.

When paddling a river kayak, always be aware of your surroundings. This includes obstacles in the river and other kayakers. An upstream battle becomes more about maneuvering the kayak than paddling. So prepare for every situation; you can also practice in a pool.

What makes good fishing kayaks are features that are designed with a fisherman’s needs in mind, such as having rod holders, which help you in shallow water when you want to use both hands. The flush mount rod holders can be found near the middle of sit-in kayaks, while the swivel rod holders are usually near the front of pedal kayaks.

Make Full Use of Your Kayak Weight

Let’s say you have got a big fish in your river kayak; the first thing you need to do is to stop your kayak. It’s very difficult to reel in a big fish when your kayak is still moving. To stop your kayak, you need to use your weight. This will help to slow down your kayak and give you more control.

Using your weight to stop your kayak is also a great way to control your kayak in river conditions. You can control your kayak’s speed and direction by leaning back in your seat and putting your feet up on the footrests. You can also use the kayak’s weight to your advantage when fishing in river conditions. You can raise the front of the kayak out of the water by leaning back in your seat. This will give you a better view of the river and help you to spot fish.

Safety Guide

Safety is the foremost priority while river kayak fishing. Remember to follow these safety tips:

  1. Always gather information about the river conditions before heading out.
  2. Wear a life jacket at all times.
  3. Pack essential safety gear, including a first-aid kit, whistle, and flashlight.
  4. Know your limits and fish within them.
  5. If there is a chance of storms, head for shore and take shelter.
  6. Make your kayak away from the riverbank.
  7. Be aware of obstacles in the river, such as rocks and logs.
  8. Avoid fishing in areas with high river traffic.
  9. Watch out for other kayakers and give them the right of way.
  10. Listen to the river and be aware of changes in river conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common river kayak fishing techniques?

River kayak fishing techniques include anchoring your kayak, using the river’s currents, and paddling efficiently. Always be aware of your surroundings and use your weight to control your kayak.

What safety precautions should I take when river kayak fishing?

Some safety precautions to take when river kayak fishing include wearing a life jacket, packing essential safety gear, and knowing your limits. Also, be aware of obstacles in the river and avoid fishing in areas with high river traffic.

What is some common river kayak fishing gear?

Some common river kayak fishing gear includes a life jacket, first-aid kit, whistle, flashlight, and anchor. You may also want to bring along a fishing rod and tackle. Comment below to let us know what river kayak fishing gear you use.

Where is the best place to river kayak fish?

The best place to river kayak fish depends on your preferences. Some people prefer calmer waters, while others like more challenging river conditions. Be sure to check the river conditions before heading out and choose a spot that is within your skill level. Also, avoid river kayak fishing in areas with high river traffic.

Want to fish in the ocean? Check out our saltwater kayak fishing tips. You may also want to check out our article on kayak fishing in general.


River kayak fishing is a great way to enjoy the river and catch fish. By following these tips, you can have a great trip. Just remember to stay safe and have fun. Comment below to be in your community. Also, don’t forget to check out our river kayak fishing gear.

Happy kayak fishing!

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