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Are There Ideal Weather Conditions for Kayak Fishing?

As the days warm and lengthen, you might be gearing up to head out for a day of kayak fishing. But what weather conditions should you look for to make the day a success? There are few weather considerations that kayak fishers should consider – even more than shore/boat anglers.

Weather Condition Considerations for Kayak Fishing


Temperature is probably the most obvious and significant factor in picking the right day to fish from your kayak. Too hot, and you are sweating, miserable, in danger of heat stroke/sunstroke, and the fish are lethargic. Too cold, and you risk hypothermia, frostbite, misery, and the fish aren’t biting. Consider both air and water temperature when making your determination. A good rule of thumb is the 120-degree Fahrenheit rule: the sum of the air and water temperature should equal 120-degree. This is an ideal temperature for kayaking in general.

  • Water temperature plays a significant role in your decision to head out for a fishing session. The water should be 60-degrees or above. Spring and autumn are good times to reach this ideal. Kayakers take a greater risk of capsize or water exposure than boat fishers so take that into consideration when you launch.
  • Air temperature isn’t quite as significant as water temperature, but it certainly impacts your day. It can be especially helpful to know if you don’t have the water temperature available for a certain area. You can use the air temp to approximate the water temp. If you subtract about 10-degrees from the air temperature, you will have a close prediction of the water temperature. Air temp has a lot to do with your own comfort and there can be great personal preference as some people adore a 65-degree day while others don’t want to think about heading out until it is pushing 80-degrees.

Just remember the 120-degree rule.

Water Flow rate:

Before you launch it would be good to acquaint yourself with flow rate. Now, this isn’t so important on lakes and ponds where the water is mostly stationary; however, if you are fishing rivers, streams, creeks, you will want to know how the water is flowing. It is usually measured in cubic ft/second (or minute) but what you are really concerned about for fishing purposes is speed. If the water is flowing more than 5 miles/hour, you are going to have some struggles on your hands.

It becomes very difficult to stay still in these conditions.


Wind is another weather condition that can dramatically impact your fishing experience, especially on a kayak. High, gusty wind can be a recipe for disaster. There are ways to mitigate the impact of the wind and use it to your advantage so you don’t need to throw in the towel at the first sign of wind. But you will need to be prepared to deal with it. A steady, stable wind is better than a gusty wind.

To fish in such conditions, put your back to the wind and allow it to move you, rather like mother nature’s trolling motor. You will need to make more periodic adjustments and keep your rod and line low to minimize the effect of the wind.

Murky Water:

While clear water with good visibility is preferred for kayak fishing, you don’t need to nix the trip just because a good rainstorm tore up the lake. Dirty water that makes it hard for you to see the fish, can also throw a little wrench in the fish’s awareness as well. Sometimes murky water lets you get close and drop your bait right near them.

Ideal kayak fishing weather comes around about as frequently as a blue moon – and with your luck you are probably locked in the office. But even if the day isn’t a calm, 70-degree, slightly overcast stunner, you can still find many excellent days of fishing from your kayak.

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