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A women and fishing from kayaks

Tips for a Fun, Safe Kayak Fishing Adventure

Fishing from a kayak is an active way to get close with nature. Kayaks are small, quiet and more maneuverable than any other boat. Plus, you can get close to shore where other boaters rely on less accurate, long distance casting.

  • Be a confident paddler. Learn basic paddling strokes and how to self-rescue. Hands-on instruction and online paddling safety courses are available.
  • Leave your packed tackle box home. Bring only basic tackle for the specific fish species you are trying to catch.
  • Check water levels and weather conditions. Never paddle when lightning is in the area. 
  • Be safe. Fish with a buddy and let someone know where you're going. Wear a properly-fitted life jacket and bring a first aid kit. Carry a cell phone in a watertight dry-bag for emergencies.
  • Tie down your paddle, tackle box and other fishing necessities to avoid losing them.
  • Bring plenty of water. Wear light, loose fitting clothing that dries quickly. Wear a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen.
  • Stay well downstream and upstream of low-head dams. Use caution fishing around wood debris (strainers) on outside bends of streams and rivers. Be careful paddling around obstructions such as snags, log jams, submerged logs and other debris.

Clean. Drain. Dry

You can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species by following these easy steps everytime you explore Iowa waters.

  • CLEAN: When you get your kayak out of the water, inspect it to make sure there are no plants, mud or debris on or in it, the paddles, and any equipment or trailer. If you find anything, remove it and dispose of it in the trash or on dry land away from water before moving to a new location.
  • DRAIN: Make sure there is no standing water in your kayak. Tip it upside down to make sure there isn’t any water in the bottom. Make sure your bait buckets and internal compartments are clean and dry as well. 
  • DRY: Use a rag or towel to dry your vessel including all compartments, livewells, and bait buckets, as well as your anchor (if applicable). If possible, dry everything for five or more days. Most aquatic invasive species can only survive in wet conditions, so this is one of the best ways to help prevent their spread.