Stillwater News Press

May 10, 2014

Cross Timbers Outdoor Report: Get on the water the easy way

By Jon Kocan
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — One of easiest and fastest growing ways to hit the water requires no engines or trailers, and no registration.

Kayaks, canoes and even paddle boards for fishing are growing in popularity, and I can tell they work great. Want to fish a small body of water such as Boomer Lake? No need to haul out a big bass boat with a 150-horse power outboard. I have fished the lake several times in my canoe with a trolling motor to get me around.

Kayaks have surged in popularity in recent years. Many now are designed so anglers can stand up on them and fish. Outfitting a kayak can become very elaborate in a hurry.  I have seen them with trolling motors, depth finders, rod holders and whatever else that can be bolted, strapped or attached to them.

Kayaks come in many shapes and sizes. The best for fishing are models that are self-bailing, allowing water to drain in the hull. The stand-up models are very stable. It does take a little use to become comfortable, but after a few trips, standing and casting a fly rod is no problem.

Fishing from a kayak allows anglers to slip silently into discrete locations and find fish that others may miss. They work great for fishing bass on spawning beds and are far more versatile than most people think.

I have used kayaks to fish the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound. Don’t get me wrong, favorable weather conditions are required for their use on large bodies of water, but their versatility cannot be matched at times.

This is old news but new news to me. I have a canoe that has a title and Oklahoma boat registration numbers on the side. Previously canoes and bass boats had to be registered all the same.

Last July a bill went into effect stating that canoes and paddle boats will not be titled or registered. That’s great news for those use them for fishing local waters. I never understood why our state made people register canoes and kayaks when bordering states like Arkansas and Missouri do not. Regardless, it is no longer necessary.

As previously stated, I have a trolling motor mount on my canoe and use it for about half my trips. No registration is required for a trolling motor or any outboard motor under 10 horsepower.

Some may not approve of using a motor on a canoe, but it is easy to troll crank baits or bottom bouncer rigs with two rods locked into rod holders. Even easier yet is getting the boat to the lake, into the lake and then back out. No boat ramp needed.

The self-propelled segment of the boating industry has been growing rapidly, and these changes make it easier and more economical for those looking to utilize the convenience of self-propelled water craft.

Jon Kocan is an outdoor columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Kocan is a long-time local hunter. Email Kocan at