10 Best River Fishing Kayaks in 2019

Buying Guides

Kayaking is a fun activity – whether you prefer the calm tranquility of the fresh waters or the adrenaline rush of threading fast-moving streaming water.  To top off the unbeatable fun is when you add fishing. Combine kayaking and fishing and you have the ultimate fun. Sometimes, the most you have access to is inland rivers and lakes or you simply prefer the fresh catch of your local rivers.

With the latter, a kayak designed for river fishing is ideal. River fishing kayaks are designed just for the activity – they offer great maneuverability and the stability typically ideal for threading continuously moving water. Additionally, the best river fishing kayaks are built and come with equipment to make the experience much more convenient.

Listed below are the 10 best river fishing kayaks in 2019 and they offer quite a competitive option of contenders to choose from. It all depends on the best features you are looking for. So go on and take an exploring ride to find your match.

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler River Fishing Kayak

The Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler River Fishing Kayak combines rugged construction and fishing-friendly design to deliver unbeatable performance. To focus more on the fishing tasks as you enjoy nature, an optional rudder system comes with the kayak for hands-free operation. The paddle holders and two flush mount rod holders on the other end help you organize your space and ease accessibility when kayaking.

Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler River Fishing Kayak
Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 Angler River Fishing Kayak

To ensure you have as much space, the kayak comes with 6” lockable hatch with dry bucket storage as well as molded-in outer storage secured with bungee cords. For all-day comfort, the river kayak comes with a molded-in seat with patented Comfort Plus Seat padding and adjustable backrest.

Features

  • Optional rudder system
  • Molded-side carry handles and bow/stern toggle handles
  • Two flush mount rod holders and dual paddle holders
  • Patented Comfort Plus seat

✅ Pros

⛔️Cons

  • Ample storage
  • Very fast on water
  • Works great on flat waters
  • Minimal holders for fishing rods

Specifications

Weight:  56lbs
Weight Capacity: 325lbs
Length:13.4 ft
Width:28”
Type:   Sit-on-top

Sevylor Coleman Colorado River Fishing Kayak

River fishing just got a whole lot better, with the Sevylor Coleman Colorado River fishing kayak – you can now take a buddy either you to your next expedition.  The 2-person sit-in features a strong enough 18-gauge PVC and tarpaulin construction to offer a stable ride for two. The multiple air chambers complement the kayak’s construction making sure the vessel stays afloat even when one chamber is punctured.

Sevylor Coleman Colorado River Fishing Kayak
Sevylor Coleman Colorado River Fishing Kayak

The touch nylon cover on the other end delivers more protection on those splashy river trips. To make the most out of your budding fishing trip, a Sevylor compatible trolling motor can be adding for an effortless, hands-free pedaling. And the paddle holders on the sides will add extra space and organization by helping store your free paddles away.

Features

  • Patented Berkeley Quick Set Rod Holders
  • Mesh pockets and D-rings to attach extra gear
  • Airtight system to avoid leakage
  • Sevylor trolling motor compatible

Pros

  • The flat, stable hull design
  • Highly durable materials
  • Motor compatible

⛔️ Cons

  • Paddles and pump are sold separately

Specifications

Weight:  41lbs
Weight Capacity:470lbs
Length: 10.9 ft
Width:     39”
Type:        Sit-in

Sun Dolphin Sun Dolphin Bali River Fishing Kayak

For full protection and safety when fishing, the Sun dolphin is a great choice. With just the right size, this is the best kayak for both fishing on lakes and rivers – as it maintains excellent stability and maneuverability. The hard shell single-person river kayak also features a high-density polyethylene construction and finished with a UV-stabilized Fortiflex coating for weatherproof protection.

Sun Dolphin Sun Dolphin Bali River Fishing Kayak

And since you want to fully enjoy the calm and runny streams of the freshwater, the multi-chine hull design makes the ride experience much more effortless.  The stern hatch on the other end lets you store all your precious catch for later savoring. The back padding on the molded-in seat also ensures the ride is as comfortable as can be.

Features

  • Portable Accessory Carrier for extra storage
  • Adjustable foot braces
  • Padded backrest
  • Shock cord rigging for gear security

✅ Pros

  • Weather-resistant
  • Excellent maneuverability
  • Easy to transport

⛔️ Cons

  • Molded seat not cushioned on the bottom

Specifications

Weight 44lbs
Weight Capacity:250lbs
Length:10 ft
Width:    30”
Type:Sit-in

Malibu Stealth 12 River Fishing Kayak

The Malibu Stealth 12 River fishing kayak is best river kayak – ultimately designed with fishing as the main activity in mid. The sit-on-top solo kayak comes fitted with a gator hatch, center bait tank, and ultra-comfortable seat. The gator hatch features a removable tray and an easy to open secure lid. The dry compartment inside the hatch offers a large space to store your catch or more sensitive items. You can even remove the lid, to expose much larger storage space.

Malibu Stealth 12 River Fishing Kayak
Malibu Stealth 12 River Fishing Kayak

The center bait tank offers even more space – like the name suggests, particularly deal for bait and lures. The raised seat gives you the much needed perfect position for fishing. The cushioned chair and back seat on the other end provide all-day shock-absorbing comfort.

Features

  • Fishfinder and live well tank
  • Standing platform with traction pads
  • Highly comfortable back and bottom padded seat
  • Gator V3 large storage space

✅ Pros

  • Very generous storage space
  • Livewell tank
  • Very stable on rough waters

⛔️ Cons

  • Not very fast

Specifications

Weight: 90lbs
Weight Capacity:450lbs
Length: 12.4 ft
Width:33”
Type: Sit-in

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 River Fishing Kayak

The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 River fishing kayak boasts a unique flare hull design which guarantees unbeatable stability and maneuverability over a range of waters – especially rivers and lakes. The unique flat and multi-chined design also allow for easy acceleration and responsiveness especially on high currents and nearby obstacles. The unique sit-on-top design provides easy accessibility of gear and agility when moving whilst maintaining protective attributes that sit-in designs offer.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 River Fishing Kayak
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 River Fishing Kayak

The patented and practically designed Phase 3 AirPro seating system delivers back and leg support and thigh padding for ultimate comfort. a smaller hatch on the front and a molded-in bungee cord secured rear provides storage for gear and your catch. The immediate hatch close to your seat offers convenient bait storage.

Features

  • Self-bailing tank well with protective bungee cords
  • Patented Phase 3 AirPro Seating system
  • Patented Slide Trax Accessory system
  • Keepers XL foot brace system

✅ Pros

  • Highly stable and fast
  • A very comfortable seating system
  • Plenty of dry storage

⛔️ Cons

  • Compact foot space

Specifications

Weight:55lbs
Weight Capacity: 325lbs
Length:10 ft
Width: 30.5”
Type:Sit-on-top

FeelFree Moken 12.5 River Fishing Kayak

Whether you are a beginner or professional angler, the FeelFree Moken 12.5 River fishing Kayak fulfills your needs – thanks to the stable and fat-moving design. The flat and multi-chine hull design allows you to easily stand as you fish whilst the modular Uni-Track system allows for superior tracking. And for a breezy take in of nature or on more windy days, an optional rudder system helps to steer the kayak.

FeelFree Moken 12.5 River Fishing Kayak
FeelFree Moken 12.5 River Fishing Kayak

The cost-cutting, all water kayak comes with an ingeniously designed padded seat. The seat is also fabricated with high breathability so on those super-warm days, your back and bottom ae not drenched in sweat. The roomy leg space on the other end allows seating in a natural position to prevent any strain or body pain.

Features

  • Front and rear Uni Track rail system
  • Stand up leash and traction pads
  • Fitted wheeled keel
  • Molded paddle parks

✅ Pros

  • Easy transportation
  • Uni-Track system
  • Very stable

⛔️ Cons

  • Seat is non-adjustable

Specifications

Weight: 72lbs
Weight Capacity:419lbs
Length:12.5ft
Width:32”
Type:Sit-on-top

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 River Fishing Kayak

The Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 River fishing kayak comes with a super comfortable sit-on-top seat and can easily be removable to create as much space on the deck as possible. The Made in The USA River fishing kayak further features accessory mounts and bungee cord protected storage for a true outdoor utility look and convenience for your gear and fishing equipment. Whilst still able to easily maneuver the channels, the length on the kayak boasts high speed as the wide hull enhances stability.

Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 River Fishing Kayak
Perception Pescador Pro 12.0 River Fishing Kayak

To ensure leakproof protection, the kayak features are one-piece sturdy synthetic material construction with built-in buoyancy to guarantee all-day floatation – even on the roughest of waters. Additionally, the kayak incorporates a high-quality industrial molding with weatherproof and abrasion resistance. The latter guarantee performance and material durability.

Features

  • Fishfinder console
  • Paddle park with mesh storage covers
  • A highly comfortable seating system
  • Leakproof one-piece construction

✅ Pros

  • Very tough and durable construction
  • Generous legroom
  • Front and rear tank well storage

⛔️ Cons

  • Limited dry storage space

Specifications

Weight:64lbs
Weight Capacity:375lbs
Length:12ft
Width:32.5”
Type:Sit-on-top

Hobie Mirage Outback River Fishing Kayak

If you are looking for a vessel to conquer rough, high- currents and fast-moving water with – the Hobie Mirage Outback river fishing kayak is the best river fishing kayak for this. The river fishing features strong and impact-resistant synthetic plastic construction – perfect for river paths. The flat hull design offers optimum stability for agile casting and enhanced fish sighting.  Additionally, the revolutionary Guardian transducer shield offers a multidimensional view below.

Hobie Mirage Outback River Fishing Kayak
Hobie Mirage Outback River Fishing Kayak

For better tracking, the river kayak is fitted with a Mirage Drive 80 with Kick-Up Turbo fins and ARC cranks for enhanced versatility, speed, and noise-canceling performance.  Additionally, the Kick-UP rudder system with dual steering prevents drift and able tight water navigation. Plus, the newer version comes with a wider seat for all-day comfort.

Features

  • EVA traction standing deck
  • Vantage CTW wider seat
  • Dual rudder system steering
  • Guardian retractable transducer shield

✅ Pros

  • High-quality pedal system
  • Value-adding accessories
  • very stable even on rough waters

⛔️ Cons

  • very expensive

Specifications

Weight: 81lbs
Weight Capacity:400lbs
Length:12ft
Width:33”
Type:Sit-on-top

Native Watercraft Slayer River Fishing Kayak

The unique propel pedal system on the Native Watercraft Slayer fishing makes forward and backward tracking for the kayak unbeatable. On at least 3.5 miles an hour, the kayak works wonders effectively threading waters. At 4,2 miles per hour,  you can relaxingly pedal the kayak whilst with powerful pedaling, you can move up to 5.2 miles per hour. The 18-foot minimum depth, wide hull, and flat deck enhance the kayak’s stability whilst its strong synthetic material fabrication withstands strong winds and current – perfect for river fishing.

Native Watercraft Slayer River Fishing Kayak
Native Watercraft Slayer River Fishing Kayak

To ensure comfort all day, the kayak is fitted with a highly stable am chair with shock-absorbent padding. And if you want the traditional paddle kayaking, you are still able to use the kayak’s paddles. The paddle holders and rod mount holders on the other end effectively organize the kayak leaving you more space to access your gear, fish, and pedal comfortably.

Features

  • Streamlined pedal cranks for easy pedaling
  • Aggressive non-slip pedals with high traction pins
  • Impact-resistant rugged construction
  • High-performing pedal-drive system

✅ Pros

  • Comfortable seating system
  • Highly stable on the water
  • Smooth pedal system

⛔️ Cons

  • High priced

Specifications

Weight: 63lbs
Weight Capacity:350lbs
Length:12ft
Width:31”
Type:Sit-on-top

Sun Dolphin Excursion River Fishing Kayak

The Sun Dolphin Excursion River fishing kayak features a well-protected one-person covering design. The sturdy synthetic material construction withstands the versatile environment of a typical river. The length and proportional width of the kayak offer great maneuverability, stability, speed, and tracking. The lightweight design on the other end makes it easier to handle and transport – simply toss it on the roof of your car or back of your truck for easy transporting.

Sun Dolphin Excursion River Fishing Kayak
Sun Dolphin Excursion River Fishing Kayak

And as you move it from your car to the water, the conveniently placed carry handles and its lightweight finish makes handling a breeze. The front dry hatch and rear molded deep space with bungee cord protection offer ample storage space whilst the captain seat features comfortable back cushioning.

Features

  • Weatherproof and UV-resistant
  • Two flush mount and one swivel rod holder
  • Protective thigh pad and adjustable padded seat
  • Shock cord deck rigging

✅ Pros

  • Large front hatch
  • Very fast
  • Very comfortable seating

⛔️ Cons

  • No padding for the bottom of the seat

Specifications

Weight:41lbs
Weight Capacity:250lbs
Length: 11.5ft
Width:29”
Type:Sit-in

Buying Guide

How To Choose A River Fishing Kayak

☑️ Maneuverability

When looking for the best river fishing kayak, maneuverability is a very important feature to consider. Kayaking on the river involves a lot of maneuverability thus, a shorter kayak is ideal. A shorter kayak allows you to maneuver obstacles that typically occur on the river unlike open waters or on the ocean.

Additionally, kayaks designed for use on the river tend to be slower in speed and tracking. However, they are normally quick at accelerating to allow easy maneuverability. The shorter length and hull of river kayaks also makes them easier to transport and handle as well.

☑️ Storage

Internal hatches are probably the most storage space you’ll get in the best river kayak. Additionally, gear space with bungee cords provides extra space for equipment you don’t mind getting wet. Unlike touring or ocean kayaks, river fishing kayaks don’t come with as much space. However, river fishing kayaks also do come with rod and paddle holders to help store them.

☑️ Stability

Because the nature of rivers involves running water down or downstream, your river fishing kayak must be stable.  This reduces the risk of toppling over as well as it makes moving around to access your gear much better. Thus, river fishing kayaks tend to be wider beam with a flat hull. This also makes turning easier and reduces speed which is not needed on the river.

☑️ Location

Many amateurs tend to confuse river kayaks and lake kayaks – because they differ from each other. If you are fishing in fast-moving waters, a covered deck, also known as a sit-in kayak is much better because it effectively keeps you dry and warm.

On calmer or slower moving waters, a sit-on-top, more open deck kayak is ideal.  This helps you to easily fish. If you are on a standing kayak, it gets even better because you can stand up for easier fishing.

☑️ Price

The best river kayaks come within a varied range of pricing. It all depends on your budget and what you are looking for. When looking for an ideal kayak to invest in, have your features figured out and lined up. With the latter, you can spot a good value.

☑️ Portability

The portability of your kayak is important. You want a kayak that is easy to handle, carry and transport especially if it’s a solo kayak and you are on your own.  Inflatable kayaks are perhaps the best portable options. However, there are also some really good hardshell options.

☑️ Propelling

The majority of river fishing kayaks are powered by paddles. However, some are also powered by pedaling – either manually or by an electric- motor. Propelling by motors offers hand free movement of the kayak, thus, it allows you to focus on the fishing activities. 

☑️ Comfort

Comfort for your river fishing kayak is also very important. The seating system on your kayak is important to examine. You want your seat to be wide enough to accommodate different body sizes. Additionally, a seat with shock-absorbing padding (EVA padding is the best) on the back and bottom go a long way to leave you comfortable all day long.

Make sure you have ample leg space and seating space because this helps you to maintain a natural position as you kayak and fish. Maintaining a natural seating position helps to alleviate the risk of back and body pain or strain. Additionally, on a long day of kayaking, it enhances the body’s endurance thus, preventing fatigue.

Furthermore, sit-in kayaks provide coverage and work best on rivers with fast-moving currents because they protect you from getting wet as well as from low temperatures in case the water is cold. Kayaks that come with paddle holders and rod holders also help organize the kayak. This helps with to ease agility and access to your gear and equipment.

FAQs

What Is A River Fishing Kayak?

As its name suggests, it is designed for river fishing. River fishing kayaks are designed for use with fast-moving, slow-moving and calm waters.  Typically, the best river fishing kayaks tend to be shorter and wider. This helps to enhance maneuverability (on characteristic river channels with obstacles or narrow passages) as well as stability. Typically, a length of no more than 12 feet and a width of at least 30 inches are ideal

Will Any River Fishing Kayak Accommodate All Body Types?

Knowing the weight capacity of the kayak helps to understand to what extent a kayak can support. Keep in mind weight capacity includes both you and your gear. Additionally, the stability of the kayak is important to help support bigger body frames as well as taller individuals.

Is Pedaling Better Than Paddling?

Pedaling provides a hands-free movement of your kayak thus, allowing you to focus on other tasks or simply enjoy nature. However, some people prefer the traditional paddling to work up their muscles and to get that true feeling of kayaking.

Can You Tip-Over When Fishing On A Kayak?

A stable kayak will least likely pose a risk of tipping over. However, if you don’t follow the rules of kayaking, you might tip over from the kayak.  It begins with your positioning on the kayak. Always keep your head within your kayak’s centerline, because your body tends to follow through which results in you falling into the water.

However, it is also important to have your safety equipment such as a floatation device with you and know how to save yourself in case you get into an accident and find yourself alone.

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