Talking Tactics Trout Fishing – kayaks and canoes

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    Hi All,

    I’m thinking about using a kayak or canoe to access some trout locations on a particular VIC river where there’s limited bank access.  I’ve white water canoed a bit (so have some skills & understand risks ect), but wanted to understand what the best approach would be to get to a location from a fishing perspective.

    The easiest would be to drop the canoe into water from upstream and paddle down, fish on the way to the pick up location (car pooling).  The risk in doing this is the possibility of scaring everything in the path of the canoe, unless I exited upstream of the particular fishing location, or avoid particular parts/runs of the river.

    Are trout that spooky of canoes??  What sort of distance leeway , or rest from fishing should one give before starting to fish?

    In VIC, we have some reasonable bank access along river so you could do a bit on foot, but NSW very different.

    I understand in NSW the law prohibit entry on private property, but allows people to stand on river bed within high-water mark of private property so you could paddle, then get out of the canoe and fish?

    In the last magazine there were some review of inflatibles which were interesting.

    I would welcome your advice on this.

    Cheers, Gerard






    In my experience which is NZ based, no the trout aren’t spooked all that much by rafts, but it is always best to pull onto a bank well upstream of where you want to fish.



    You will be fine in a canoe, they are very stealthy. Think about all the drift boats that are put to great use across America and a few guided operations here in Aus on out larger rivers (Goulburn, Tumut, Upper Murray feeders). Canoes only really spook fish if you bang equipment around in them like dropping oars/paddles on the floor or across the gunnels. Paddle drift cast repeat. If you have two people (assuming you do so as to have drop off and pick up points) then it’s easy with one paddling /holding mid current etc while the front fishes.



    Hi Gerard,

    Just a note on inflatables. I’ve been using an inflatable tandem kayak on Tassie stillwaters for a few years now.

    Very comfortable and stealthy way to get around but it’s not ideal for one person to fish from. Being low in the water means you’re mostly reliant on finding rising fish, rather than spotting them underwater. Once found, you have to put down the paddle, pick up the fly rod, get line out and cast. As soon as you put the paddle down you’re at the mercy of wind or current as to where you end up. Best situations are where you can paddle in to water plants on the surface and ‘park’ the kayak and cast to fish in open water patches.

    In a river, if you’re fishing on your own, you’ll probably just use a kayak for access and get out to fish I’d imagine, but that gives you a chance to stretch your legs and opens up more sight fishing opportunities anyway.

    I’ve found that trout won’t spook from the kayak until you’re almost on top of them and they’ll settle down and start rising again pretty quickly ( at least in stillwater ).






    thanks a lot for your responses guys…

    I do like the idea of an inflatible, there seems like a lot of good options written about them (in the mag), and on this forum.

    That you can get out and drag / carry it through shallows and to a destination is a plus.

    I note you use a tandem to fish solo., and that getting out is sometimes needed.

    Would a tandem (2 person) be better option given space, and what brand did you end up buying?


    Cheers, Gerard





    Got a Sea Eagle 385FT.

    I bought it to cross one lake to begin a walk in to remote lakes ( a trip I do multiple times a year ). Paddling the lake knocks about 5km walking off the round trip and I just leave the kayak tied up on the bank.  Needed the tandem so I had plenty of room for a full backpack. Really glad I didn’t get a single now, because I’ve used it in lots of other situations.

    It’s a lot of fun to fish with two people, one paddling, one casting.  Use it a lot in salt water chasing squid too.

    It’s light enough to carry short distances ( <100m ) but it is awkward.

    If the fishing isn’t firing, it’s THE best craft for late afternoon naps.




    Two of us were fishing a remote-ish section of the Big river last year when a couple of kayaks came straight through the run we were about to fish. If I remember correctly we picked 4 out of that run immediately afterwards.

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