7 Essential Freshwater Kayak Fishing Tips

Kayak fishing has gotten quite popular over the past few years. Still, kayak fishing is not a new sport, it has been around for decades if not for millennia. A kayak’s main purpose remained the same throughout the years; Fishing and transportation.

Kayak fishing is broken down into two main types, freshwater fishing, and saltwater fishing. Here are the most important tips you need to know for freshwater kayak fishing.

1. Angling And Kayaking Skills

One very important tip is to practice angling and kayaking separately. Each of these skills is essential for a safe fishing adventure. It is much better to have sufficient experience with each skill separately before mixing them both on the water.

If you start practicing both skills from scratch at the same time, it will take you longer to become better at each, and it will eventually slow your learning curve.

2. Freshwater Kayak Fishing

Freshwater fishing is either done on moving water or still water. Moving waters like a river or a natch. And still water like lakes and ponds. Knowing what kind of water you may fish in is incredibly vital to make your mind up the kind of kayak you may be fishing in.

In case you opt to fish in moving water, you need to have a wide, stable, and maneuverable kayak to allow you the flexibility to handle currents. And in such a case, you want to have an anchor handy just in case of bad weather conditions.

Still, water fishing is way less complicated, if you go fishing in a lake or a pond and the climatic conditions are not stable, then still, any kind of kayak will be sufficient for your needs.

Kayak Fishing in Moving Water

Catching fish in moving water is incredibly exciting, but keep in mind how reeling could affect your positioning. A large bass as an example will easily move your boat sideways or, perhaps worse, flip you over in a giant river!

A tip to always follow while going after big species of fish is to use a net to land your target. A net will be very helpful to keep you stable and prevent you from tipping over while reaching for a big fish.

When the river or stream changes course, moving water naturally flows at different speeds, those different speeds are often encountered in smaller water bodies and rarely exist in larger water bodies.

Fishing in those areas is always productive as you can find many fishing hotspots for trout or smallmouth bass and even some of the large river walleyes.

Kayak Fishing in Still Water

Lake fishing is much simpler than fishing in a river. While fishing in a lake, you can be less worried about the unstable water conditions and currents. Even though it might be a bit tricky to find and catch fish in still water, it’s not something a fishfinder and a net can’t fix!

Fishing in still water is less complicated when it comes to water conditions, the wind in a lake can push you in circles, unlike rivers where the wind usually pushes you in one direction. By following a few simple techniques, your still water fishing will be easy and enjoyable too.

A quick fix for the wind pushing you in circles is to learn how to cast with one hand and paddle with the other. By doing so, you can have a better positioning of the kayak and continue fishing in the same spot that you choose.

3. Using Fish Finders

Fishfinders are essential, especially if you plan to fish in a lake. The best fishing spots mainly depend on the size of the lake you’re fishing in and the type of fish you are targeting. Species such as crappies and perch are schooled up for most of the year and can be easily found even by the most basic fishfinder out there.

Other species like panfish can also be easily found if you paddle up while looking for schools of fish on your fishfinder. One great tip as well is to try to fish in areas that other boats can’t reach, such as dense grass flats or thick Lilly pads.

4. Using Live Baits

Finally, once you reach a good fishing spot, it is time to pick the perfect bait. Live bait is the best to use in mainly all kinds of fishing situations. Live bait fishing is reliable and powerful, with many species found in any of these water types.

It’s easy to rig minnows on a drop shot rig or a simple jig. Sometimes it is a bit challenging to quickly hold and use live bait. Nevertheless, new creative containers for live baits offer a solution to this problem.

Those containers fit perfectly in most kayak cup holders. They allow you to easily pick up and use a minnow. Bait containers also come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate the size of minnows you prefer to fish with.

5. Must-Have Equipment

Here are the most important items that you cannot go kayak fishing without:

  • Rod and reel
  • VHF radio
  • GPS
  • Baits
  • Dry Bags
  • Dry clothes
  • Tackle Box
  • Multitool

Having this equipment handy will ensure you enjoy your entire fishing trip without having to go back to shore for any missing item. And since there is nothing worse than catching a fish and having to leave your rod to grab a tool, make sure you always have these items within your reach.

6. Safety

It is always better to be prepared for any situation you might encounter while fishing. Fishermen say, “dress to swim and rig to flip.” It is better to be dressed according to the water temperature, not the apparent weather. 

Being in a kayak makes you kind of exposed to all elements. There is no chance that you can find drinking water out there, and you never know how long it will take you to get back to shore and find some.

Here are some must-have items on your packing list for your next fishing adventure:

  • Flaring signal
  • Marine whistle
  • Flashlight
  • Extra water bottles
  • Throw rope
  • First aid kit

7. Weather

Always bear in mind that the weather conditions are going to heavily affect your paddling. Some kayaks are too light in weight that they catch wind too nicely and might get flipped over. Keep an eye on changing conditions of the weather for better safety.

Final Thoughts

Light weight packing will make everything easier for you. Having a good understanding of the water and weather conditions will make your fishing trip safer. Once you have all of these tips taken care of, your fishing trip will be unforgettable.