Anchor a kayak in river

How to Anchor a Kayak in a River: Detailed Guide

There are various reasons as to why we go for kayak fishing rather than use an ordinary boat. The main reasons are that the kayaks are relatively affordable and are also very easy to use. Most of them have ample storage on top, and all you need to do is throw your gear in, and you should be ready to go.

These vessels also tend to be smaller and therefore, easier to control.

Stability Issues

However, a nagging issue with kayak fishing is stability. While the only thing affecting stability in still waters is the wind, you will get an extra problem in rivers in the form of currents. No sooner have you found a promising area than you are moved away from your target.

This article aims to educate you on how you can anchor your kayak in the River so that you do not drift away from your target area in case of winds and currents.

Also Read: How To Swing Flies for Fly Fishing

Types of Boat Anchors

The primary method of keeping any floating vessel in one place is through the use of an anchor. You may think that anchors only apply in the larger vessels, but the same principles apply in keeping a kayak in place as well.

We shall have a brief look at some of the anchors which would be most appropriate in keeping your kayak in place.

A River Anchor

As the name suggests, this anchor is specially designed for rivers, as well as lakes, and mud-bottomed ponds. It is a three-fluke style and should hold the vessel in place on a rocky or muddy bottom.

You should find the three blades to be useful in anchoring and easy retrieval as well.

Claw Anchor

Also known as Bruce anchor, this particular tool is lightweight at 4lbs and comprises of two flukes that generally perform well in softer bottoms.

So if you are looking for an anchor that would not get stuck in rocky bottoms, this would not be an excellent place to start.

Grapnel Folding

With a four-fluke design, this anchor is highly popular with canoe and kayak users. It is available in 3lb, 5lb and 7lbs and has folding arms to enhance easy storage.

It comprises of three blades that cut through mud and water quickly for easy retrieval.

How To Anchor A Kayak In A River Using Fluke Anchor

Fluke Anchor for Kayak

Image of a fluke anchor. Photo Credits: Wholesale Marine

Also known as Danforth, this is a versatile anchor that works well in a wide range of bottoms. It would hold well in gravel and sand bottoms, but you are likely to encounter some resistance in rocky bottoms.

A fluke anchor is an excellent choice for fishing as well as leisure vessels.

Mushroom Anchor

As you may have guessed by now, this anchor is shaped like a mushroom and is ideal for muddy and weedy bottoms. It creates suction with the bottom, and it features drain holes that would allow for easy retrieval.

Additionally, it features a rubber coating that gives you silence even when you drag it on your vessel’s floor.

Note that

Whenever you face strong currents, it would be wise to avoid using an anchor that is attached to the side of your vessel. This is because the vessel would be easily flipped over by the current and as a result, become flooded with water.

The result would be catastrophic.

One way to avoid this problem is through an anchor trolley or pole.

Anchor Poles

This pole is usually attached to the vessel, and once it hits the bottom after lowering, it should keep you in place. They are available from battery-powered and remote-controlled models to PVC and ordinary garden poles.

The main advantage with anchor poles is that they are easy to set up while the retrieval is straightforward as well. This allows you to move to a new location much faster.

Anchor Trolleys

This trolley would be convenient in anchoring your kayak in a river as it allows you to position your vessel towards or away from the wind. Further, if you intend to alter your positioning, all you need to do is to drop the anchor and then pull the available trolley cord.

You should be glad that with this device, you can easily switch from bow to stern without having to get out of the kayak.

Other Ways of Keeping your Yak Still in the River

There are other simple means that you can use in ensuring that your kayak stays put as you fish or enjoy the sun in the River. Let us briefly go through the methods.

Drift Chutes

Anchoring a kayak using a drift chute

Image of Kayak anchored using a drift chute. Photo Credits: Kayak Sportfishing.

A time may come when you do not want to stop entirely, but you only wish to slow down. This is where the drift chutes would come in handy. Once you release it, it traps water, and this should have the effect of slowing you down.

This method should come in handy when you are up against a big and robust fish as it would aid you in applying the much needed extra pressure.

Once you are done with it, pull it out of the water, allow the water to run out and then toss it in the storage area.

If you have a party to go to after that, the chute’s shape allows you to use it as a hat.

A Dog Leash

If you have a dog leash which you think is strong enough to hold on to your anchor, you can use it instead of the nylon ropes which break apart easily.

To wrap it all up

Apart from enhancing your success in fishing, the ultimate goal of an anchor is safety. It would be quite scary if you intend to stick to a particular point, but instead, you drift away into another zone. This area may be a rapid or a waterfall, and this would spell doom for you.

We, therefore, advise you to learn how to use it appropriately before the time when you actually need its service comes about. This should ensure that you get maximum results out of the anchor without having to compromise your safety.


We hope this article shall be of great use if you have always wondered how to anchor a kayak in the river as you fish.

Also Read: How To Oil A Fishing Reel

Erick Thompson

Hi, I'm a fishing & kayaking enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tidbits with newbies, intermediates, and experienced anglers alike.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *