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Top Spring Kayak Fishing Spots

As the weather warms, the lifecycle stretches awake as well. And fish ready to feed and breed. When properly prepared, you can enjoy amazing fishing in the spring. But be sure to take care. Spring can be a particularly dangerous time on the water as weather, water flow, and even the paddler’s skill can be a bit unpredictable as they shake off the winter stasis. 

Top Spots for Kayak Fishing Local Waters

  • Shallow water: In the spring as the weather (and water) begin to warm, fish start to move. Many species are heading to warm, shallow water (bays, coves, creeks, shore / banks). Kayaks are excellent this time of year because they allow you to get into shallow bays and inlets that large boats can’t. And they let you float to spots otherwise inaccessible by foot. Pike can be the first to move in spring as they are less affected by the cold water. But as the warm shallows begin to teem with baitfish, walleye, bass, and panfish all follow an easy meal, especially as they prepare to spawn. 
  • Moving water: Particularly in areas where water is moving (connecting lakes and creeks to the shallows) walleye can get fast & furious. 
  • Deep water: In very early spring, fish - like bass - are still in deep water. Pike are some of the first to head to shallow water, and also the first to return to deep water as the temperature warms. They prefer colder water.  
  • Structures: Points are excellent references for early season catches. Bass, walleye, crappies, stripers, and others will use these locations as a route from deep water to shallow water so dropping a line there can be an excellent way to capitalize on the fish as they make a meal of baitfish. Move from deep water on both sides of the point first and then move to shallower water systematically.

Top Spots for Spring Kayak Fishing Destinations

Maybe you are looking to up your fishing game and want to take advantage of spring time to do it. From coast-to-coast, here are some fabulous US destinations (maybe even in your backyard) that have great fishing in the spring. 


East 

  • Portsmouth, NH: Because of its northern location, this prime spot might need to be a late spring offering, but the area is known for its striped bass. They come calling around in May as they move into the Piscataqua River waterways. Followed quickly by flounder, bluefish, and even bluefin tuna just off-shore. 
  • Susquehanna River, PA: Spring is an excellent time to try out this unexpected gem in Pennsylvania. It boasts 400 miles of slow moving river perfect for kayak fishing. It is a hotspot for smallmouth bass but also boasts plenty of musky, northern pike, walleye, catfish, and panfish too.
  • Virginia Beach, VA: Virginia Beach and the surrounding Chesapeake Bay offer phenomenal kayak fishing for all skill levels. With its myriad habitats and tidal currents, you can fish everything from bass to bluefish to flounder to red drum. Spring is a particularly good time to target bass as they migrate through. 
  • Indian River Lagoon, FL: This lagoon is known as one of North America’s most biologically diverse estuaries so why wouldn’t you want to take the opportunity to drop a line here. It has over 150 miles of fishing area where you can catch snook, trout, redfish, tarpon, flounder, black drum, and sheepshead. Perhaps the best part is that you don’t have to pick a season. Fishing here is year round!

Central

  • Coeur d’Alene, ID: This charming city (the third largest in Idaho) sits on a lake by the same name which boasts some phenomenal kayak fishing. Starting in March, you can pull in monster Northern Pike who are feeding in preparation for spawning. Other nearby lakes offer kokanee, rainbow trout, and panfish. 
  • Dunton, CO: If you are looking to get off the grid, then this is the spot for you. A literal ghost town, Dunton has been revamped as a tourist site, which gives you access to the hot springs and vibrant wilderness close by. The altitude is over 8,000 feet so come prepared, but when you drop your line you have the potential of hauling in four types of trout: rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook. 
  • Lake of the Ozarks, MO: With more inlets, coves, and cozy fishing holes than you can shake a stick at, Lake of the Ozarks is a paddler’s dream. Just slinking around docks and backwaters could keep you catching smallmouth bass for hours, without ever hitting “big water” or the crowds. 
  • Devil’s River, TX: If you are looking to get away from it all this spring, then head to Devil’s River in Texas. This untouched and pristine gem is a sought-after location for its limestone formations as well as the exceptional opportunities beneath the surface. Largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and sunfish all make their home here.

West

  • Kenai River, AL: If you are looking for a real thrill, then the Kenai River in Alaska should go on your list. With unbelievable vistas and fabulous fishing, you are in for a trip of a lifetime. You might have to look to late spring to summer for the peak season. Chinook salmon run here, but you can also sink a hook into sockeye, coho, and rainbow trout.  
  • Lewiston Lake, CA: Want a one-of-a-kind fishing adventure in California? Check out Lewiston Lake. This lake in northern California is perfect for kayakers because it is quiet and restricts motors to 10-mph. Trolling motor kayakers and paddle / pedal kayakers can pull in big rainbow trout, silver, king, & steelhead salmon, large & smallmouth bass, and brook & brown trout on this placid lake. 
  • Stockton Delta, CA: Spring is a great time to target all kinds of fish in this prime destination. Located just south of the state capital, Sacramento, this delta offers up largemouth and striped bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, American Shad, Black bass, carp, catfish, salmon, sturgeon, and more. Just be careful to drain and clean your kayak as the delta has been exposed to many invasive species that need to be stopped (and that starts with responsible anglers & paddlers.)
  • Kona Coast, HI: If you are searching for a truly exotic fishing destination, why not go big and head to Hawaii. The Kona coast on the big island offers not just exceptional kayak fishing but some of the best fishing in the world. Choosing spring is an excellent time to fish since you will beat the peak season (and the accompanying crowds). Mahi-Mahi, tuna, and other trophy fish make this an unforgettable experience.

Spring is a fabulous time to get in some exceptional kayak fishing. Just remember to be prepared as water temperatures are still cold and weather can fluctuate rapidly. 

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