Kayaking is more popular than ever! Here's your place to discuss all things kayak - rigging, equipment, outings, etc.
Jan Tue 21, 2020 8:46 pm
Hey everybody. I am in need of a bit of info if a few of you wouldn't mind sharing.
I may have the blessing to get a fishing kayak this spring and I need to pick some brains. This would be my first kayak and I don't own a boat. I live in joliet and I mostly wade the rivers. I was looking at the ascend 10' from bass pro. And yes, probably add a trolling motor.
1) How difficult is kayaking in the rivers? I imagine not too difficult in the dupage. The kayak may just need to be used as transport between spots on the kankakee and fox though. I'm familiar with the usgs website and know which flows are safe to wade, so I also know which flows not to kayak in.
2) Are there any public bodies of water (not rivers) that are decent fishing that you're willing to share? Where do you guys take your fishing kayaks? The cooling lakes? forest preserves? Inlets off rivers?
3) Are there any permits required?
4) It would be mounted on a roof rack on top of my car.
Any general information I should know? Stuff you learned the hard way? Any advice?
Jan Wed 22, 2020 7:05 am
No registration if you don’t motorize it. Add the trolling motor add the registration also. If it’s safe to wade it’s safe to yak.
The places to yak are endless depending on how hard or easy your access area is. You could have the “Skifish” mindset and throw that yak off of a bridge after hiking for a mile or hit only paved ramps. I would say do a little of both if possible.
I lived in Chicago so my spots were mostly close by. Up and down the DPR and local FPD lakes. Kenosha harbor is good in the fall and so is Waukegan.
Wear your PFD at all times. Keep a dry bag stowed in your yak with some extra clothes. If you don’t tether your gear to your boat figure on losing some of it eventually.
I wouldn’t do any rigging until you fish from it at least half a dozen times. You will find that you might mount something where you thought it was a good spot then later find out it wasn’t so good and end up moving it. Also take it out at least once without bringing any gear. Test it to see how stable it is and when the water warms up flip it over intentionally to see how hard it is to re-enter.
I car topped my canoe and yak for years. I used 2 cam straps over the yak and lines off the bow and stern to secure it. No matter how careful you are your vehicle will get a few scratches from putting the yak up there so plan on some type of protection for it. I draped bathroom rugs over the contact points. The rubber backing grabbed the vehicle and the carpet allowed the yak to slide right up.
You will need a cart too so plan on making one or buying one. I did both. Youtube is a great resource for ideas on carts and for rigging as well.
If you find that yakking is your thing then start saving some more money because you will probably end up buying a better one after a few years.
Jan Wed 22, 2020 9:20 am
And how is sitting in the current fishing? Do you drift too fast? How about paddling upstream? Im trying to weigh if the kayak will be more trouble than its worth.
Jan Wed 22, 2020 9:22 am
And thanks Joe that is great info.
Jan Wed 22, 2020 9:42 am
you can't take a kayak to any of the cooling lakes. Why would you anyway? It's a death sentence on most days. Long ass paddle on others. But, regardless, it's illegal.
Trolling motor on a 10 footer? I'd be interested to hear how that does. I'm no expert, I'm truly interested.
Yak on the duper in warm weather would be great. I grew up in Plainfield wet wading that whole stretch. I would imaging only using the yak to get to spots faster.
On the fox it's more risky with the deeper holes. Just check the flow and know your limits or you'll be walking that bad boy upstream a long ways. Not that I know about that personally or anything......
good luck. I loved my yak when I had it.
Jan Wed 22, 2020 9:56 am
I usually paddled and fished upstream then floated and fished back downstream to my original put in. Depending on the flow upstream paddling is totally doable. I would anchor and fish a lot too and also beach my boat and wade for a bit.
I never mounted a motor on my canoe and when I got a yak it was a Hobie so there was no need for a motor.
Getting a yak will expand your opportunities immensely.
Jan Wed 22, 2020 10:04 am
Thanks billebob. I love wading through there. Grab my pack and my net and go. Keep it simple.
And yeah I had no idea on the legality of it, just considering everything.
Average wadable flow on the dupage isnt bad to paddle upstream? The trolling motor would probably be for zipping upstream to different spots on the fox or kank.
How is facing upstream, paddling, fishing, paddling, and so on. Is it a lot to try and manage?
Jan Wed 22, 2020 12:24 pm
Good info here. If you get a yak I recommend a day on the south Fox. Ayres Landing in Wedron will shuttle you upstream & then you float down to their location. Bass, Cats, Muskie & great scenery.
Jan Wed 22, 2020 1:22 pm
Thanks rambler. I imagine that gets pretty crowded in the nicer months if thats a service they offer. How far do they take you upstream?
Jan Thu 23, 2020 8:22 am
It does get busy on nice weekends. But if you can do it on a week day you'll have the river mostly to yourself.
If memory serves, Ayres offers 2 trips - 1 is 4 hours the other is either 6 or 8 - don't remember. There's a good spot to stop for lunch just below the US 52 bridge. Be sure to have some singles with you - they charge for stopping. I think it's like $3 per boat. Honor system but they keep an eye on things.
Here's another trip worth considering - especially if you're going alone. Get off I 55 at US 6. Go west thru Channahon & keep an eye out for the sign to the I&M Canal State Park. Turn left & go down to Bridge St. Turn right go across the bridge (the DuPage) and left into the parking lot. You'll see immediately that the Dupe is on 1 side & the I&M is on the other.
Put your boat in the Dupe. It's not far (maybe 1.5 - 2 miles) to the confluence with the DPR. Paddle downstream. Good smallie fishing along there. When you hit the DPR keep to river right. Plenty of fishing opportunities along the bank, especially if you tuck into the backwater behind Moose & Conroy Islands. Paddle down to McKinley Woods FP. You can easily portage from the DPR to the I&M there. The I&M has almost no current so paddling back to your car is easy. There are lots of LMBs in the canal. Carp too.
If you want to take a great side trip while you're there, drive west on US 6 to Tabler Rd & turn left. Go to the T & turn right. Park & walk east on the tow path across the bridge. Aux Sable Creek flows under the bridge & has a good population of smallies. UL gear is best.
If you check things out on google maps you'll see what I mean. Have fun.
Jan Sun 26, 2020 2:43 pm
I did the Ayers Landing trip this summer (at Rambler's suggestion - thanks). Took the short hop which puts you in just south of Rt. 52. That was a nice 1/2 day float trip. Other trip is up to Sheridan, which is more like an all day float. I went on the weekend and yes there were lots of people, but not many fishing. So I could pick my spots. Since I brought my own yak it was like 30 or 35$ which I thought was reasonable. Plan to do the longer trip this year.http://www.ayerslandingcanoerental.com/index.html
Looking forward to trying his other suggestion - a circle trip, unique for a river.
Sit-on-top (SOT) or sit in Kayak? I bought a $200 end of year special SOT 10' from Walmart 2 years ago. Be careful about your center of gravity. My seat is a thin piece of foam, so I use a PFD seat cushion, extends the time before I need to get out and stretch. But it does change the stability.
I mostly fish the Fox, and find the yak a nice change from shore hopping. Either with a buddy or getting my wife to help with the shuttle service, I drop a car at the take out point. Shuttle to my entry point upstream. Enjoy a nice float and fishing trip, without having to paddle upstream. This gives me access to islands and stretches only able to get to with a wade. Often I beach the yak, then work the area in my waders. Able to fish much more area in one trip. Avoid spots which receive too much shore pressure.
Cooling lakes are only for motor boats. I think they don't want you to get caught in the forced circulating current - Liability thing.
There are lakes around the area which are great to fish. That's where the cradle comes in. Often parking and entry point are a ways apart.
Summer of 2019, also did a nice stretch from Oswego down to Saw-wee-kee park; which is ~ 1/2 mile downstream past the Orchard Rd bridge. Plan to do that again.
Jan Sun 26, 2020 10:31 pm
Great advice above on all fronts! If you try kayak fishing you will like kayak fishing
my vote is buy the yak you want to buy 5 years from now so you don’t go spending money on an entry level rig now. I can loan you my Ascend D10T sometime for you to try out, it’s a bit customized but no real way to mount a trolling motor on it due to weight of the battery, motor, you, and gear. (Plus you need registration for the motorized watercraft stuff) There are some awesome kayaks out there now for a decent price with many options and most are even available for demo. Some like the one I purchased have an option to install their trolling motor through the hull. Buy once, it will save you money in the long run
I know cause I done did it! Hell you can try both my yaks to see the difference. I put my heavy ass bass destroyer on top of my camper trailer without too much difficulty.
Jan Sun 26, 2020 11:06 pm
Rambler, badger, and polish... fantastic info boys. Thank you so much. I'm mostly just hesitant about how difficult it's going to be dealing with current, trying to paddle, and fishing! An old friend of mine had the ascend and I liked it. Any recommendations for similarly priced kayaks? I guess the more I look at it, there really are quite a few spots to take it.
Jan Mon 27, 2020 9:25 am
on the fox anyway, going upstream in any sort of current was a challenge for me when trying to fish. Depending on flow, I'd push forward, cast once or twice and then I'd be out of the spot. in any sort of heavier flow it was not fun. I definitely got to a spot and anchored up in those circumstances. Here's some pricing on that Ayer's place:
$55.00 - Route 52 to Ayers Landing (per canoe)
$55.00 - Sheridan to Ayers Landing (per canoe)
Overnight Trips are also available, please call for details.
New at Ayers:
Kayaks - $45 per
Same price for a 12 or 6 hour trip? Doesn't seem right but OK. I'm going to put this on my list as well.
Jan Mon 27, 2020 10:17 am
Billiebob's right. Anchors are manditory on rivers and flatwater. I use a 20 lb mushroom on 20' of nylon line. There are plenty of reasonable options.
PS I have a 12' Old Town solo canoe not a yak. But I paddle it like a yak.
Jan Mon 27, 2020 12:24 pm
That being said, be careful anchoring in heavy current. Read up on proper technique for doing so. 20 lb is pretty heavy for a yak/canoe. I use a 3# foldable and also own a 10# mushroom that I never use. I'll admit that the 3# does slip from time to time when not a lot of rope is let out but 90% of the time it is enough.
Jan Mon 27, 2020 12:40 pm
Great advice above on all fronts! If you try kayak fishing you will like kayak fishing
my vote is buy the yak you want to buy 5 years from now so you don’t go spending money on an entry level rig now.
I recommend going in the opposite direction. There are a lot of used kayaks that you can get at a very good deal. I see them all the time on Facebook and I'm not even looking for them. Have to imagine there are a lot on Craigslist especially as we get closer to spring.
Get the used kayak from someone who is upgrading and find out if kayak fishing is for you. While I know I am in the minority, I have used my kayak very little since buying it and regret the purchase overall. Wish I had bought a cheaper one that I could unload now but if I sold mine I would take a huge loss so I keep it thinking I will start using it. You can always turn around and sell the kayak in a year or so after you have figured out exactly what you want. And if kayak fishing is not for you then you would not have lost much in the process. The worst situation would be what I did. Buy a kayak for over 1K and use it less than 10 times in the 7 years I have owned it. Good luck.
Jan Mon 27, 2020 1:32 pm
Oops - typo. My anchor's 10 lbs. Goby's right about being careful in current. I try to anchor out of current & cast to eddies.
Jan Tue 28, 2020 11:05 am
Bassin' Ted wrote:I recommend going in the opposite direction. There are a lot of used kayaks that you can get at a very good deal. I see them all the time on Facebook and I'm not even looking for them. Have to imagine there are a lot on Craigslist especially as we get closer to spring.
I ended up paying more for the roof rack and the life vest than for kayak itself
Jan Wed 29, 2020 6:51 pm
As I remember the web site listed prices for using their gear. I think the prices are the same for either trip, their gear or yours. They loaded/unloaded my yak nicely. Try not to have too much gear. You ride an old school bus - seats designed for folks much smaller than me. But for me it was worth it.
I do not fish upstream in the Fox, current most of the time too much for me. I fish as I float or beach the yak and work an area b4 moving on. The more I go, I learn which spots are more worthwhile.
I hope to try a few areas on the west branch of the Dup this year. Looks like paddle upstream might be more manageable. the challenge can be: low flow - too shallow to paddle upstream.
I found a foam pad roof package for $35. Works great, no rack required (GMC Jimmy with its own rack). Came with 2 chinch straps and 2 lines for front and back.
I have yet to use an anchor. I did find a free 10# workout weight which will also get a try out this year. I figure, even if it bounces along the bottom, it should slow me down enough for more than one cast in a good spot.
Jan Thu 30, 2020 7:18 am
I've found this site to be helpful in the past in the review section.
Jan Thu 30, 2020 11:52 am
Bass Resource has great some great threads on their bass boat/kayak page about kayaks. Their recent threads on pedal-drive kayaks are very informative.
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