River fishing is quite thrilling, and it gets even better if you have a successful catch. But, in order to reach your fishing goals, you need the right gear. And, river fishing kayaks make it to the top of the list of equipment that you need to have at hand. This is why we have researched and reviewed the best river fishing kayaks. Read on to find out what to look for and which options will be more suitable for you.
What Is A River Fishing Kayak?
A river fishing kayak is a special kind of boat designed for fishing in rivers only. It has a particular construction style that other boats do not follow. These kayaks are generally small, with a well-balanced base.
Difference between Regular and River Fishing Kayaks
Some of you might think of using a regular kayak for river fishing as well. But it is not a wise choice. Here is how river fishing kayaks differ from the regular ones.
- River fishing kayaks have a smaller and more compact design, as they have to accommodate lesser people.
- These kayaks are usually 12 to 14 feet long, while regular ones can be much longer than this.
- They have pedal-powered water wheels, unlike the usual kayaks, so that your hands stay free for fishing only.
- They have a wider base to provide you a more balanced kayaking experience. Greater stability and balance help you focus more on fishing than on trying to stabilize your boat.
Best Kayaks for River Fishing
The right kayak can make your whole river fishing experience even better than you imagine. So, it is better to go for the perfect one for you. Keeping this in view, we have reviewed the best kayaks for river fishing that you can go for in 2020.
1. Sea Eagle 350 FX Fishing Explorer
- Hull weight of 22 kg
- 79 cm x 48 cm x 25 cm when deflated
- Three recessed one-way air valves
- Quick inflation in 7 minutes
- Non-slip EVA padding on the floor
- Tube diameter of 29 cm
- Glued quadruple overlapping on the seam
- Helps in environmental conservation
- Accommodates only one person
The first kayak on our list is Sea Eagle 350fx, which comes highly recommended. It has a sleek and compact construction that you can count on for easy storage. The deflated boat has dimensions of 79 cm x 48 cm x 25 cm, which makes it easy for you to carry it along. It does not take much space, so you can take it along to all of your fishing adventures.
One of the most striking features of this boat is that it has three one-way air valves. This makes it easy for you to inflate and deflate it, especially when you have someone to assist you.
Moreover, there is a hull weight of 22 kg only, so there will be no problems in handling it. To add to all this, there is a tube diameter of 29 cm; thus, you can set it up in no time. The kayak inflates pretty quickly, too, as it takes only 7 minutes to be fully ready. There is active prevention of slipping with the EVA padding on its floor. This helps in keeping you balanced even when the boat gets all wet with the sprays of water.
Another great feature is that there are three chambers in it, so there are lesser risks of deflation in case of a puncture or leak. Its seams are quite secure too since they have glued quadruple overlapping. Hence, this is a great option to go for if you want something for yourself only.
2. Sea Eagle 380x Explorer
- Reinforced 1100 Decitex material
- Interior dimensions of 358 cm x 38 cm
- Class IV whitewater rating
- Can support up to three people
- 34 lbs electric thrust engine capacity
- Highly compact and portable design
- A convenient air pressure of 3.2 psi
- Removable drop stitch floor
- Max. engine weight of 15 lbs. only
The 380x Explorer inflated kayak by Sea Eagle is another one of our favorite options on the market. Its interior has dimensions of 358 cm x 38 cm, making it spacious on the inside. This goes perfectly with the seating capacity of two to three people. Hence, it can be great for you if you like to go kayaking with your adventure buddies.
Other than this, it has a reinforced 1100 Decitex construction material, which increases its strength and durability. It enables the boat to withstand regular wear and tear without any major damage.
Moreover, there is a whitewater rating of class IV, which makes sure you can go fishing in challenging waters as well. Furthermore, there is an electric thrust capacity of 34 lbs in its engine that keeps you pushing through strong currents.
Considering this, you will not have to worry about the rate of water flow when you go fishing. In addition to all this, there is an air pressure of 3.2 psi, which is fairly easy to maintain. This kayak’s overall design is quite compact as it has dimensions of 79cm x 51cm x 23cmwhen deflated. This way, you can easily pack and carry it with you when you go for your next fishing adventure.
Lastly, the removable floor has drop stitching, so it does not cause any issues while storing the boat after use.
3. Perception Rhythm Sit In Kayak for Touring
- 11-feet long boat
- Padded seat for comfortable seating
- Rear dry storage included
- Adjustable backrest for optimal comfort
- High portability with front and back handles
- Sleek design for higher speeds
- Pegs are adjustable for different paddlers
- Bungee cord rigging supported
- The rear hatch is not watertight
If you are looking for a river fishing kayak that is both high in quality and low in price, then Perception Rhythm 11.0 can be your best bid. It has high-density polyethylene construction, which protects it from all kinds of major damage. It actively prevents UV damage and scratches. It also has a high resistance to impact and abrasion, keeping your investment safe.
One of its best features is that the hardware is enabled to work well in saltwater in spite of all the harsh conditions. This way, the hardware does not get all rusty when it is exposed to water for long periods of time.
Moreover, it has an ergonomic seat design that provides you the optimum level of comfort. The perimeter of the sit-in cockpit is padded, so there is no injury to your legs in case of bumpy kayaking.
In addition, the boat is 11 feet long with well-balanced weight distribution to prevent toppling over. This, along with a sleek design, helps the kayak stay upright on unconventionally high speeds too.
To add to this, there are handles at the front and rear, making it easy for you to carry it. It also helps you drag the boat ashore before and after fishing. Also, there is a dry storage compartment where you can keep your gadgets and other important stuff.
The pegs in it are also adjustable, so paddlers can have them set according to their own comfort. It also supports bungee cord rigging, so you can use it for activities other than fishing too.
4. Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
- High-density polyethylene construction
- Top-mount fishing rod holder included
- Two 6-inch storage compartments
- 5-year limited warranty
- T-handles for a secure transport
- Multiple footrest positions for different riders
- Shock cords on the paddle keeper
- Durable UV-protected construction material
- Not for high speeds
This Lifetime Tamarack Angler has won our approval with its highly reliable design. It has a very stable flat base, which can take the challenges of rushing water currents quite well. It does not topple over easily, so you do not have to worry about losing your fish catch while using this.
Apart from this, there is high-density polyethylene material in it, which can withstand the harshness of weather. It also resists major damage brought about by the UV rays of the sun. In addition to this, there is a top-mount fishing rod holder in it where you can balance your rod. It helps prevent hand fatigue, which usually results from holding on to a fishing rod for too long.
The kayak comes with two spacious storage compartments where you can keep all your belongings safe from water. There is a paddle keeper on one side with shock cords, so you will not lose your paddle even when you are busy sorting the fish.
Furthermore, there are T handles on the front and back to help you carry it securely. There are multiple levels of footrests on the front that help you maintain your balance according to your height.
Moreover, it has cord straps for shock absorption both at the front and at the back. The warranty of 5 years is also a major attraction as it makes this boat more trustworthy to buyers.
5. SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba SS 12-Foot Sit-in Kayak
- High-density Fortiflex polyethylene construction
- Fishing rod holders for flush mount
- Lightweight and highly portable
- Paddles designed to offer high stability
- Rugged surface for easy balancing
- Foot braces are adjustable
- Spacious seating area
- Protective thigh pads to avoid shocks
- Rough and sharp edges in compartments
The Sun Dolphin Aruba SS is another amazing addition to our list of the best river fishing kayaks. It has all that it takes for a boat to be perfectly suitable for river fishing.
Its most distinguishing feature is that it is lightweight and highly portable. Its high-density Fortiflex polyethylene construction helps it stay safe from most kinds of damage. It also helps the kayak stay lightweight, which, in turn, improves its balance. What caught our eye in this kayak is the open storage tank. It provides you extra storage space to keep your fish catch and fishing gear.
The seating area is quite spacious, with a well-padded seat that feels comfortable even if you spend hours on it.
Moreover, there is a flush mount to support the fishing rod so that you do not feel any hand fatigue. It has a rugged surface that provides higher friction. This friction then prevents you from slipping or getting any injuries.
To add to this, the foot braces are completely adjustable, so you can have a comfortable positioning of the feet while fishing. There are thigh pads along with the seat too that protect your legs in case of shocks or jolts. So, this is an incredible kayak that you can invest your money in without any reservations.
6. Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-Person Fishing Kayak
- Reliable NMMA certified construction
- Trolling motor fittings for better fishing
- Multiple air chambers to support the boat
- 840D nylon cover prevents punctures
- Reliable 18-gauge PVC construction
- Secure storage of paddles in paddle holders
- Strong 1000D tarpaulin bottom
- The airtight system ensures protection from leaks
- Does not include paddles or pump
Next up on our review is the Sevylor Coleman Colorado with its military-inspired green appearance. Its 18-gauge PVC construction has helped it make big on the market. The kayak is highly durable due to its modified PVC material, which has been certified by NMMA for use in lakes.
In addition to this, there is an 840D nylon cover on it, which helps it stay safe from punctures. Usually, the kayaks fail to be reliable to you when a stone or rock in water punctures it. But, this is something that you do not get to experience while using Sevylor Coleman Colorado.
Furthermore, it has a 1000D tarpaulin bottom, which further increases its strength and durability. As this boat has multiple air chambers, it stays afloat on the water even when there is lesser air in one of them.
There are quick set rod holders on the surface, too, that help in hands-free fishing. You will like its paddle holders too since they keep the paddles secure and out of your way.
The D-rings are also a great addition as they help in keeping your fishing gear secure. So, overall, this is a wonderful kayak that will not disappoint you even in tricky waters.
7. Hobie 2019 Mirage Passport 10.5 – Pedal Fishing Kayak
- Weighs 75 pounds
- Dual mounting tracks to keep stuff dry
- Has two rod holders
- Hobie cassette plug to cover the opening
- ST fins help improve navigation
- Incredible mesh aluminum frame seat
- Stowable rudder for easier steering
- The hull design is stackable
- The seat is not adjustable
The Mirage Passport 10.5 is also a great kayak for river fishing as it has a simple and attractive design. It weighs 75 pounds, so it does not require much power to support its weight. The boat is also one of our favorites because of the cool powder blue color, which looks great on the water.
Moreover, there is an aluminum mesh frame on the seat, which helps it stay safe from ripping off. There is a Hobie cassette plug on it as well, which protects the opening. This way, the stuff stored inside the storage compartment has higher security.
Furthermore, there are two rod holders on its sides that help you balance your fishing rod easily. The ST fins are also a cool addition to this kayak as they help in navigation and steering.
Along with all this, there is a stowable rudder, which further increases the ease of steering. There is also a stackable hull design on it that you can rely on while you are out on a fishing trip.
Choosing a Kayak for River Fishing
Choosing the right kayak for river fishing is the first step to having an enjoyable experience. This is why you have to be careful of certain aspects when you set out to buy one. So, let’s have a look at those aspects.
The first thing that you have to look at is the construction material. It affects your whole experience as the construction material determines if your boat will be able to withstand all the damage. PVC and high-density polyethylene kayaks are generally more durable than the others.
The seating area and general room for your legs in the boat are also important to consider. Your legs should not feel cramped or fatigued when you are out there fishing. The seating area should also be spacious and comfortable for you to work from.
The footrests are also significant as they help you position your feet and legs at a comfortable angle. Adjustable footrests are better as they help you have better support according to your height.
Another important consideration is the size and number of storage compartments. Kayaks with storage spaces should be preferred as they help you keep your stuff safe from water.
Features to Consider
Well, we have already gone through some of the best kayak options that the market offers at present. So, now let’s see which features can be the ultimate make or break points for your purchase.
One of the most important factors to consider while buying a kayak is the level of stability that it offers. To get a more stable boat, you should prefer one that has a flat base. In addition to it, the distribution of weight affects stability too. So, you have to be considerate of that as well.
Now, the next crucial aspect to bear in mind is the maneuverability of the kayak. It should be easy for you to navigate and control your boat while you are out there to get an amazing catch. So, go for kayaks that are easier to steer and balance for you.
River fishing is one of the best water-based adventures to go for. But, to make the most out of it, you need to have a proper kayak. Considering this, we have answered some of the frequently asked questions to help you choose the right gear for you.
Are Sit-On-Top Kayaks Good for Rivers?
Sit-on-top kayaks are great for lakes and smooth-flowing rivers. But, if you are aiming to go fishing in a fast-flowing river, then you might have to reconsider your choice.
Can River Kayaks be Used on Lakes?
Yes, river kayaks can be used on lakes as they have a pretty similar kind of water current. You have to know your way with boats in either case. So, if you have a command at paddling a boat, then you can use a kayak on both rivers and lakes.
What Length of Kayak Should I Use for River Fishing?
The length of kayak that you should use depends on your own height and body type. But, generally, kayaks with a length of around 12 feet are considered ideal for river fishing.