Yak Question [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Yak Question

12-21-2001, 05:20 AM
What type of lake or river situation is a Yak not suitable for ?

Trying to do some R+D on Yaks which I have not seen in the Midwest as to where it could be used, so by finding out from the experience on this board where it is not suitable will help me.

Note we have all types of waters here Lake Michigan (inland ocean, treacherous winds and waves), small streams, lakes, some larger rivers, relatively little white water though above class 3 in all but a couple of rivers.

Thanks in advance.


12-21-2001, 05:23 AM
Forgot, how do you transport them, trailer, car top, break down and put together at site etc..... ???


12-21-2001, 06:43 AM

To be comfortable in any type of whitewater river you would need a yak that wouldn't track as well on open water.

People talk about using their yaks on both, I've read reviews of the Manteo where people claim to have run up to class 3 rivers with it. I have had some whitewater experience and I would rather use a yak designed for that environment. I just don't see how you can eddy out with a yak like mine (a Manteo) that has such a defined center line.

People have put rudders on river yaks for better tracking on open water. Ask the Doogues what their impressions are of their river yaks in the ocean.

My $.02


12-21-2001, 05:49 PM
Thanks for the information and cross references guys. My R+D as to the applicability to mid west waters has started.

12-21-2001, 10:31 PM
Just how happy you will be with a river yak on open, exposed water is a function of two variables, your degree of patience and your fitness level.

You need to paddle very carefully and efficiently if you hope to proceed in a straight line. Also, no matter the conditions, you will extend considerably more energy than you would in even a recreational yak, all the while going slower for your troubles.

I would suggest a rear rudder and a front skeg of some kind to counteract the rocker of a river yak's hull. With the upturn at both the bow and stern any wind will spin you like a propeller.

A recreational or light touring yak would probably be your best bet. Most are wide and therefore stable, but, short enough to turn with less effort than the 17' behemoths that you see people paddling in the ocean. Let's face it, you probably aren't going to be running any rapids with this boat. You just want to be able to turn it with minimal effort in a relatively narrow river in your worst case scenario. Anything under 13' should accomplish that nicely if you paddle with the proper sweep strokes.

Hope this helps. You should pick up the latest issue of Canoe&Kayak Magazine. It is their annual buyers guide.

For the record, I just sold my whitewater kayak because I'm moving up to a touring yak this spring. After watching Roop and "The Penguin" disappear into the fog with alarming speed last summer during a clandestine yak attack I decided to upgrade. After about 15 minutes of paddling my Little Bro' and I came across them floating side by side waiting for the two of us to catch up. There is no comparison when it comes to tracking and speed(they were in a Manteo and Mr. Morin's Tribalance).


12-21-2001, 10:39 PM

Thanks for the good information. You are right I would not use it for white water but for open water lakes and michigan rivers of which some are narrow with tight turns. Really not much white water on the ones it would targetted for. Will check out the sources you references. Do you guys actually fish from the yak much or get out and wade ?

Have a good holiday !

12-22-2001, 07:20 AM
Any fishing I did from the kayak was of the blasphemous spinning variety. I have a hard enough time throwing a tight loop with both feet planted firmly on the ground, let alone sitting in a bobbing kayak.

Mostly I used it to access places that the nautically challenged could not reach.


12-22-2001, 08:41 AM
Yes that is the way I see it also. A pontoon boat may be more appropriate for me, but I am still in R+D mode. Kayak would be great if Lake Michigan had islands, tidal rivers entering, and lots of flats to fish. Such is not the case though. It is all open water in the southern end of lake michigan, Chicago area where I live. The trout and salmon do come in close to shore in the spring and fall spawning runs and you can catch them off of the various pier heads where the rivers enter the lake. Many of these have protected harbors with break walls, which are not reachable from shore. But a kayak or pontoon boat would make those accessible and you would have them all to your self. As long as the coast guard lets you fish from them. Never seen any one fishing from them. Would have to check that out.

Rivers here do not have high vertical descents and limited white water, nothing serious unless you go to Northern Wisconsin.

Have a good holiday !

12-22-2001, 09:21 AM
...As long as you're kickin' tyres...you mentioned pontoon...
Decisions, decisions...

12-22-2001, 12:51 PM
Thanks, interesting looks to big for our rivers here

Check these out, probably ok for michigan rivers but not for still water lake conditions

More research is needed and field testing. Need to find out who in Chicago area carries these.

Out Cast Boats (http://www.outcastboats.com/)

12-22-2001, 01:26 PM
I see there is one dealer in IL. downtown Chicago will be down there over holiday and take a look at these and talk to them.
This is beginning to look like more of my solution. We will see no rash decision making needed etc.... There is always the canoe option again also. Drift boat is probably not cost justifiable. Still have 3 boys in HS and college, my fishing time is limited due to their activities, mostly football and baseball games, etc.... for another four years at least