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Kayak fishing

Our canals and rivers are popular with anglers and canoeists alike. Some people choose to combine their hobbies and indulge in a spot of fishing from their kayak.

Kayak fishing courtesy of Stuart Benoit

Kayak fishing, unsurprisingly, is when you fish from a canoe or kayak. The sport is growing in popularity in England and Wales and our canals and rivers are great places to start. You can enjoy the activity from a canoe or a kayak, although the vast majority of kayak fishers choose purpose-built sit on top fishing kayaks.

Our waterways are perfect for getting started. Learning how to fish from your boat and land a catch takes practice and there's nowhere better to get acquainted with these skills. Our canals and rivers don't generally tend to have fast flowing water and you can master the skills you need in a relatively sheltered setting.

Please note that on the canal network the kayak must be moored to the towpath bank.

You'll come across a wide range of species in our canals. Roach, carp, pike and tench are just some of the fish you'll find.

Where can I fish from my kayak?

Most of the fishing rights on the canal network are licensed to angling clubs and many of them allow kayak fishing, but you must check first. Find your local angling club using the search facility on our angling pages.

Some stretches of our network may not be let to clubs for various reasons. To make these waters available the Waterway Wanderers scheme has been designed for the benefit of both angling clubs and individual fishermen.

On Waterway Wanderers stretches, you can get a discounted permit for the Waterway Wanderers scheme and a boat licence for your kayak directly from the Angling Trust. Further details can be found on the Angling Trust's website.

Where can I find a kayak fishing course?

Paddle UK and the Angling Trust both run courses, which will help you learn the skills and make the most of the sport.

Find out more about [kayak fishing courses at Paddle UK(

Kayak Fishing Safety

Kayaking fishing in sheltered waters is a great way to gain experience but it's easy to underestimate the potential hazards. To ensure you, your family and friends stay safe while enjoying your paddling experience here are some basic tips and equipment recommendations.

  • Undertake suitable training in how to use all of your equipment

  • Learn and practise techniques to get back onboard your kayak should you capsize

  • Ensure you are a confident swimmer and can swim a minimum of 50m in the sea

  • Ensure your kayak and equipment are well maintained and ready for the water

  • Check your craft has integral buoyancy fitted, the hatches and drain plugs are secure and watertight, paddle is in good condition, seat is firmly attached , and all gear secured safely

  • Wear a suitable approved buoyancy aid/personal flotation device (PFD)

  • Wear suitable clothing for the season and conditions, such as a suitable wetsuit/drysuit and layered clothing; wear a hat and gloves in cold conditions

  • On a sit-on-top kayak the paddle should be leashed to your kayak

Last Edited: 10 April 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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