Rivers and streams with low hanging vegetation, swift currents and shallow boulders are some of the best places to utilize your kayak to overcome hurdles a fly angler must navigate when targeting trout, panfish, or even carp on the fly. When selecting a kayak, rod or anchor all of these factors must be considered. 

Tracking can become an issue as keels don’t fare well without the ability to retract, and pedal drives are all but cumbersome additions to a deck that will constantly hold your fly line as you strip and mend. Simplicity is key for this type of fishing as portaging is a foregone conclusion. 

Use your yak to access eddy’s and pools unreachable to the wade fisherman. Drift runs at the pace of the flow with minimal mends. These techniques will produce presentations that trout can’t resist.

The cardinal rule of nymphing still applies, if you’re not catching rocks, you’re not deep enough. You are going to lose fly’s and you are going to break off, but you’re also going to catch fish. Stick to shorter rods, and weighted flies as your mobility will allow for access to deeper runs. Never drop an anchor that can’t be easily freed as the last thing you want to do is swamp your boat if flows increase. Safety is always paramount as tailwaters can be treacherous. 

I’ve found that using the boat to guide my drift works best. Use the strip set when you see any variation in your indicator or line when nymphing; if stripping, just hang on. Taking these factors into consideration and applying these techniques will reduce the probability of a skunk and lead to what we’re all after… that elusive tug.


Mitchell Atherton

ACK Kayak Fishing Team