Fishing on a kayak combines the joy of angling with the pleasure of floating in peace. With the best river fishing kayak, it opens you even more enjoyment and adventure opportunities on the water.
But not all fishing kayaks are the same. There are different types with different maneuverability, stability, can, and other capacities. So, I am here to tell you about those. I as well have put together a jargon buster and a buyer's guide. You will be able to identify your best fishing kayak right on.
Here are the best river fishing kayaks (Dec 2023 Update):
- Best Overall: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak
- Affordable: Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
- Highest Capacity: BKC RA220 11.6' Single Fishing Kayak
- Best Overall: SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak
- Best For Smaller People: Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
- Best For Mild Water: Sun Dolphin Excursion 12-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
|Top 6 Best River Fishing Kayaks|
|Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak||Read Our Review|
|Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak||Read Our Review|
|BKC RA220 11.6' Single Fishing Kayak||Read Our Review|
|SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak||Read Our Review|
Best For Smaller People
|Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak||Read Our Review|
Best For Mild Water
|Sun Dolphin Excursion 12-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak
- Plenty of storage
- Easy to maneuver
- Very stable
- Drywell is not waterproof
- Not very comfortable seat
The Skipjack gives excellent steering ability on a 9-foot footprint. Thanks to its compact profile, you can easily make tight turns and maneuver in fast water. It's yet a pretty lightweight kayak that is easy to transport to the water's edge.
I don't expect to win any race on this yak, but it accelerates well, giving the speed I want. Add to that, the hard-chined hull with its molded-in water channels really improves tracking for you to go straight with not much controlling effort.
This kayak features a center dry well between the paddler's legs for fast access. There are hatches in the bow and stern locked by adjustable bungees for more storage. You can find four capped flush-mounted fishing rod holders along the hull that are right within your reach.
|Vibe Kayaks Skipjack 90 9 Top Light Weight Fishing Kayak Specifications|
The compact and hard-chined hull allows easy maneuvering and gaining speed fast
It's easy to get this boat ready and float while all you have to do is to throw the angler and count the fish at the end of the day.
Affordable: Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak
- Lightweight for carrying
- Great stability
- Low price
- Several storage compartments
- Hatches are not waterproof
Kayaking without breaking your bank is not a dream. This ship is not only handsome but also low in pricing.
It's easy to drag this boat to the shore with the reinforced carry handle in the front. Inside the deck, there are adjustable footpegs on each side for leisurely paddling. The yak is lightweight, making it ideal for tracking yet remaining stable.
This boat is designed with comfort in mind. It equips patted knee grips on the side to protect your knees. Besides, you have Two flush mount and one swivel fishing rod holders built-in for fast access.
|Sun Dolphin Journey 10-Foot Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak Specifications|
Ergonomic design for excellent paddling and tracking at a low price
It's not easy to find a yak of this good low pricing.
Highest Capacity: BKC RA220 11.6' Single Fishing Kayak
- Great rudder system
- Watertight hatches
- Stable enough for standing up
- Heavy loading
- Lack of comfort in the chair
Don't let weigh bar your paddling interest. This yak can carry a mass of 450 pounds on its sturdy hull. That makes the unit a bit heavy. And if you want to free your hands from throwing the rods, the rudder control is there to help. You can pedal with your legs without needing to steer.
With a stable platform, this yak allows you to stand up for long casts. And on your lucky days, feel free to fill your catches in the large storage compartments.
|BKC RA220 11.6' Single Fishing Kayak Specifications|
Rudder system for hand-free paddling and made to carry a heavy paddler
The yak opens the chance for big dudes to fish and float with no concern of flipping or tipping.
Best Overall: SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak
- Solidly built
- Great tracking
- Very lightweight
- Carry heavy guys
- Little storing
- Sharp plastic
- No rod holders
Love this boat for its ergonomic and bright design with sufficient features for your fishing hobby and more.
This sit-in yak with a 10' Large open cockpit is able to accommodate up to 250 pounds. Inside, there is a seat that is adjustable for back support. The hull is crafted from rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene that adds to its stiffness and resistance to sunray.
It's also got adjustable foot braces for added stability when you float on this boat.
The only complaint I'd like to put is about the hatch in the stern. Apparently, it's not super watertight.
|SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Aruba 10-Foot Sit-in Kayak Specifications|
Whitewater, river, lake
Hull made of rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene for amazing toughness
If you require nothing more to get to the water and catch some trout for dinner, this boat serves you well.
Best For Smaller People: Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
- Track well
- Very stable
- Easy to carry
- Small storage
This yak is a lightweight unit for a small paddler to be able to drag it to the shore without help (if there is, it's good.)
On this boat, there are two flush mount rod holders. More than that, I liked the adjustable footrest that gives me maximum comfort for a long day.
Stability on this yak is pretty impressive. I tried to tip but guessed I needed more effort and beyond. And that is why a lightweight paddler can feel safe in this unit. Adding to that is the tracking ability, which allows you to keep the boat to stay on the course well.
|Sun Dolphin Excursion 10-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak Specifications|
Rivers and lakes
Built to float with extreme balance and 4 rod holders
No more worries about not being able to weigh your yak down as this one is built to float no matter what.
Best For Mild Water: Sun Dolphin Excursion 12-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak
- Light in weight
- One person can carry
- Comfortable seat
- Generous storing room
- Thin plastic hull
You're probably the one who only desires some peace on your weekend floating and fishing. If you need such a boat that is perfect for that tranquility on water, this Excursion 12 will give you that.
Like the Excursion 10 above, but longer, this boat gives you pleasant and smooth steering and tracking advantages. Gaining speed is also easier on this thin and long profile. Fishing? Well, you have 2 rod holders in the back and extra storage with the P.A.C. (Portable Accessory Carrier.)
Now! Because this thing is slim and light, it's great on mild water like lakes or rivers rather than racing type.
|Sun Dolphin Excursion 12-Foot Sit-in Fishing Kayak Specifications|
Mild water, lakes, rivers
Slim hull for accelerating and extra storage compartments
It's easy to drag this yak to shore and enjoy the ride in peace.
How To Choose The Best River Fishing Kayaks?
To further determine the best yak for yourself, please consider these aspects yielded from my years of kayaking.
- It's worthless not being able to steer the direction you want on the river. Many times, you will meet twisting watercourses that require good maneuverability. With that, you can stay mobile while navigating your boat off obstacles.
- Typically, yaks with a high rocker and low waterline are better in keeping its speed and accelerate. On the other hand, shorter hull yaks are more stable and easier to transport.
- Stability is a vital criterion for kayak fishers. With great stability, you can stand up and cast without fearing the boat will capsize.
- To have that good stability, you need the kayak to have a wide beam with a flattened hull. Although these boats won't give you an advantage in speed, it edges into tight turns instead of cutting through the water. That makes your boat plan across the surface for the greatest stability.
- You should have enough room for your fishing gear and catch. Shorter yaks with shorter designs usually have limited internal space. So, it should have bungee storage to store your waterproof items.
Which Brands Make The Best River Fishing Kayaks?
- Vibe only focuses on one thing thorough their history, which is making the best water gear for paddlers. The brand commits with quality and passion and manufacture yaks of high standards, featuring great functions and affordability.
- Sun Dolphin is a true destination for paddlers of any level to shop and learn to kayak right. Fishing kayaks from the brand come in a large variety, cost, and features. If you dive into their kayak collection, you will encounter a list with abundant options.
Are sit on top kayaks good for rivers?
Sit-on-top kayaks are more suitable for the ocean, but it's fine on rivers and lakes too. The boats are made to flow in peace on calm water. Yet the sit-on-tops are comfortable when the water and air are warm as you will sit with your whole body exposed.
What kayak is the most stable?
Sit-on-top kayaks with a higher center of gravity offers more stability. Also, they tend to have more extensive decks, which let you get in with more ease. So, I can tell that sit-on-top yaks are more stable.
Is a sit on top kayak better for river fishing?
With a sit-on-top yak, you can stand up to cast and get off with ease. Many sit-on-tops feature convenient rod holders and generous storage compartments. However, when compared to a sit-in kayak, it's hard to tell which type has the upper hand. It really depends on your preference.
How can I make my sit on top kayak more stable?
It's possible to modify your kayak to make it more stable. There are several modifications you can add to increase stability on your yak. The most prevalent methods are adding ballast, foot pedals, or adjusting the seat.
Do kayaks tip over easily?
Kayaks are made to give you safe rides on the water. They usually have designs that provide maximum balance, thus won't be tipped over easily. Unless you don't grab on your tipping point, it's likely to make you capsize.
If you asked me which one I would definitely pick out of this list, I would say I'd go for the Skipjack series of Vibe. The yak is just amazing in giving stability, storage, comfortability, as well as affordability.
It took me a long time, long enough for me to confidently evaluate and conclude which is the best river fishing kayak. So, you can trust my kayak experience.
If anything else is in your mind, let me know. I'll help with whatever I have. Thank you!