Fly Fishing from a canoe

Keep in mind, that I’m a flat water level canoer. So I’m out fly fishing from my canoe, and I’m fishing over the bow. All of a sudden I get into some crazy harmonic and it’s bottoms up! First time ever. Not really a problem, since I’m in Maine and I was the only one on the river (no embarrassment). But, here is my question: Which seat do you cast from when you fly fish? I was sitting in the stern seat facing the bow.

Second, anyone ever use an anchor when fly fishing? What did you use.

Thanks for the help.

Canoe anchor
I have spent a few thousand hours fly fishing from a canoe and never had that happen. I bet it was a bit of a thrill.

It is important to have your anchors off of either the bow or stern. If you have them over the side in the middle there is an excellence chance you will swim home. I use a double anchor system with one off of each end. You will need to have a loop to run the anchor rope through. I installed U bolts but have seen carabiners used. You then need to run the ropes to where you are sitting. I hold them with a spring clamp which makes it very easy to reset them as needed. The double anchor systems helps to keep the boat from swinging in the wind.

The nature of fly fishing is to keep moving. You will want to rig your anchors so that they are easy to raise and lower as you will do it a lot. I made my anchors our of five lbs of copper coated bird shot in a small nylon stuff sack. It is quiet when it hits bottom and does not scar the canoe when it is halted up and held against the hull. A friend uses a rubber coated dumbbell and an ankle weight.


Solo in a tandem canoe?
The stern seat is the most unstable place to be - unless you have enough ballast in the other end of the boat to trim it level. You were sitting in the narrowest part of the canoe. With no ballast to trim the boat, you are trying to balance your weight and the weight of the boat (some of that elevated from the water) on a short and narrow waterline.

You need to have the boat trimmed more level to get the best stability. Either sit in the bow seat facing the stern, kneel just behind the center…or do what I do - stand up just behind the center. In a typical recreational tandem, standing near the middle is quite stable, since the boat is trimmed more even and you are in the widest part of the boat.

And of course - you could also just add ballast ahead of center to trim the boat flat while you sit in the rear seat (if you must), but that still won’t be as stable as sitting closer to the center.

No - I do not use an anchor when fly-fishing. I would rather drift.

would just add a center seat set as low as is comfortable for you.

I sit in the stern seat …
… she sits in the bow .

If alone I’d have ballast in the bow . I like the way the canoe handles solo from the stern w.ballast in the bow .

I don’t fly fish but I do stand up and cast all over the place . Only once did I “almost” fall out . Stepped the wrong way not thinking and near lost my ballance .

I anchor when I want to , don’t anchor when I don’t want to .


Bow anchor. Never in much current either. As you’ve learned, it doesn’t take much pressure from current to make dangerous things happen.

Sit as close to center as you can when soloing in a tandem. Depending on your boat model, you can get snap in seats or something like a clip in hammock sort of seat. A lot of people flip the boat and sit ‘backwards’ in the bow seat (which is now the stern).

Also instead of an anchor, if you are fishing in mild current, then a drag chain may work for to just slow you down some. Hang a drag chain off the stern. It’ll keep you bow down stream and moving slowly, allowing for some nice long drifts.

My $.02
Since it came up again I’ll chime in, too. I used to fish from my OT Loon 138, in which the seat is just back of center. I tried an anchor but didn’t use it enough to carry it along. Never felt unstable casting, ever. The Loon has gone into semi-retirement and I now fish from an OT Pack Angler. It is about half the weight and slightly shorter. The seat is lower than the standard Pack canoe and is just back of center. It might tip a little easier than the Loon, but probably not much. Casting feels quite secure. Though it came equipped with a bow mounted anchor I haven’t used it much, either. Free drifting allows me to drop the fly over spots where I might not have spooked the fish with previous casts. I don’t do “false casting” in the canoe as I don’t find it necessary. I think that kind of motion makes too many waves and can lead to instability. Also, a short paddle close at hand is great for repositioning.

drag chainand and spackle bucket
I use the drag chain with the last 4 ft duct taped,also when the wind wants to take me up stream,i put a 1 gallon jug full of water in a 5 gallon spackle bucket off the bow.the 1 gallon jug keeps the spackle bucket down. TITE LINES FREIND!!!

you should spend some time just

– Last Updated: Jul-30-15 5:55 PM EST –

paddling the ponds/small streams to get comfortable with your BALANCE and STROKES = will make time fishing, whether it be flatwater or streams...seamless. You definitely want to get good trim by leveling the hull with weight up forward, but as mentioned the stock stern seat needs a lot of weight up front...much better a little more forward as mentioned...I've always like to make a seat more in paddling solo..from the minute I've bought the boat.
As a kid I/we chose large, flat rocks to tie up for an anchor but making, or buying one always saves time. With the weedy bottoms in some of the ponds I fish, when I do....the round coffee-can, filled with concrete & eye planted in middle works great, nothing to get hung up(majorly) in the weeds. If some of those bow-rigs are available they seem to be great, but if it gets hung up, for any reason, you're in for a dicey move to the bow on your hands & knees with the wind picking up = not my #1 option if you're up in the woods..and want a warm, dry day/evening. Doing it all by hand and tying off on a nearby gunwale may not make the most fashionable description for YouTube but will keep your balance safe & in you can at least choose what side to dump it over in... Not to mention you should be flycasting to the side, maybe at a quarter, but not directly in front..

fly fish
either turn the boat around and paddle from the bow seat, or put some weight in the bow. With practice you can stand to cast in calmer water.

bow seat
I haven’t had that happen yet.

When solo I flip the canoe around and paddle from the bow seat. I find the boat handles much better that way