livewells for kayaks [Answered]


As we venture out into the water in our kayaks, one of the main goals we have in mind is catching fish. However, once we’ve reeled in a good catch, we need to make sure it stays fresh and alive until we’re ready to bring it in. That’s where livewells come in handy. Livewells are devices that help keep fish and other aquatic species alive and fresh by providing fresh water and oxygen. In this post, we’ll discuss the different types of livewells available for kayaks, their features, benefits, and tips for using them effectively. We’ll also touch on some alternative methods for keeping fish fresh, so keep reading to find out more.

Livewell types and features

There are different types of livewells that kayakers can choose from based on their needs and preferences:

  • Built-in livewells – these are permanently installed in the kayak during production and can’t be removed easily. They’re great for anglers who fish frequently and need a more permanent livewell.
  • Portable livewells – these are usually smaller and can be easily added or removed from the kayak. They’re great for anglers who fish occasionally or those who rent kayaks.
  • Homemade livewells – these can be made from scratch using cheap materials that can be found at home. They’re perfect for kayakers who are on a tight budget or enjoy DIY projects.

When choosing a livewell, there are a few key features to consider:

  • Size and capacity – make sure the livewell is big enough to hold your catch and has enough capacity.
  • Drainage system – a good drainage system will keep the water clean and fresh.
  • Materials – look for a livewell made from durable and non-toxic materials that won’t harm the fish or the environment.
  • Oxygenation – some livewells come with aeration systems that help pump fresh oxygen into the water, keeping your catch alive and healthy.

Benefits of using a livewell in a kayak

Using a livewell in your kayak has several benefits:

  • Keeps your catch fresh and alive – livewells are designed to mimic the fish’s natural habitat, providing fresh water and oxygen. This helps keep your catch fresh and alive until you’re ready to bring it in.
  • Reduces stress on the fish – a livewell reduces the stress on the fish by keeping it in a familiar environment. This helps prevent trauma and injury that can occur during the catch-and-release process.
  • Allows for selective harvesting – if you’re fishing for a specific species, a livewell allows you to keep only the fish you need while releasing the others back into the water unharmed.
  • Provides flexibility – having a livewell in your kayak allows you to fish in areas that may be farther away from shore or other resources, giving you more flexibility and options for your fishing trip.

Tips for using a livewell in a kayak

  • Start with a clean livewell – make sure the livewell is clean and free from any dirt, debris, or chemicals that can harm the fish.
  • Monitor the water temperature – fish are sensitive to water temperature changes, so make sure the livewell is at the right temperature for the species you’re catching.
  • Use a circulating pump or aerator – these devices help circulate the water and provide fresh oxygen, keeping your catch alive and healthy.
  • Change the water regularly – changing the water in the livewell regularly helps keep it clean and fresh. Aim to change the water every 2-3 hours or as needed.
  • Don’t overcrowd the livewell – make sure there’s enough space for the fish to move around comfortably without being cramped or crowded.
  • Handle the fish carefully – when removing the fish from the livewell, handle them gently and avoid squeezing or damaging the gills or other parts of the fish.
  • Release the fish properly – when releasing the fish, make sure it’s back in the water and swimming upright before letting go.

Alternatives to using a livewell in a kayak

If you don’t have access to a livewell, there are still a few alternative methods for keeping your catch fresh:

  • Stringers – attaching the fish to a stringer and keeping it in the water is an easy and effective way to keep it fresh. Make sure to keep the fish away from the boat’s motor and propeller.
  • Coolers – if you have a cooler with ice, you can place your catch in there to keep it cool and fresh until you’re ready to clean it.
  • Buckets – placing your catch in a bucket filled with water can also work as a temporary holding spot until you’re ready to clean or release it.
  • Release immediately – if you’re strictly catch and release, avoid keeping the fish in a livewell, stringer or bucket for long periods of time. Release the fish immediately after catching it.

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What is a livewell in a kayak?

A livewell is a container that holds water and is designed to keep aquatic species alive, fresh, and healthy.

Do all kayaks come with livewells?

No, not all kayaks come with livewells. Some kayaks come with built-in livewells, while others require a portable livewell to be purchased separately.

How do I choose the right size of livewell for my kayak?

Livewells come in different sizes and capacities. Consider the size of your kayak, the number and size of fish you plan to catch, and how much space you are willing to allocate for a livewell.

How do I properly set up and install a livewell in my kayak?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific livewell model. Secure the livewell firmly in the kayak, install any required hoses or fittings, and test it before use.

Can I use a cooler as a livewell in my kayak?

Yes, you can use a cooler as a livewell. Just make sure it has enough room for your catch and adequate water flow.

How do I adjust water temperature in a livewell for different species?

Different aquatic species require different water temperatures. Use a thermometer to monitor water temperature and adjust accordingly.

Do livewells provide oxygen for aquatic species?

Yes, livewells provide oxygen through aeration systems or water movement.

How often do I need to change the water in my livewell?

It is recommended to change the water in your livewell frequently, approximately every hour or two.

Can I transport my kayak with a livewell still installed?

Yes, but make sure to drain the livewell before transport to avoid water spills and damage to your kayak.

What alternative methods can I use to keep my catch fresh on a kayak trip?

Alternatives include using stringers or coolers with ice or frozen gel packs, depending on the size and amount of fish caught.

Real experience

As soon as Carla got into kayaking, she knew she wanted to use it to fish. She wanted to catch something she could take home and be proud of, but she never expected the consequences of it – the fish die after being out of their natural habitats for too long, and she didn’t have a proper system to accommodate them.

But she didn’t want to give up her newfound hobby, and the idea of designing a livewell for her kayak sprouted in her head. Carla was excited to give it a shot, but she had no experience building things from scratch.

Nonetheless, she worked hard, committed to the process of building a livewell that could save her catch – she watched YouTube videos tirelessly, went through diagrams, and consulted with professionals.

And she finally did it! The livewell kept the fish safe and healthy, with enough water circulation to keep them oxygenated. She was ecstatic about the experience – it was as if she had discovered something magical inside herself.

Carla’s creation worked so well that she started to get interest from her kayaking friends who were struggling with the same problem. She started to make livewells for them, and before she even realized it, she had a business idea in her hands.

Carla started to design and create livewells for kayakers all over the state. And in no time, her innovation spread far and wide. Soon enough, kayakers were coming from other states, even from other countries, to try Carla’s game-changing invention.

Through her tireless dedication, Carla had discovered her true calling in life. The world now has a new hero, and every kayak fisherman out there owes her a debt of gratitude for keeping their catch fresh and alive.

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Having a livewell in your kayak can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping your catch fresh and alive. It not only reduces stress on the fish but also enables selective harvesting and provides more flexibility and options for your fishing trip. When choosing a livewell, make sure to look for one with the right size, capacity, drainage system, and material. Additionally, always handle your catch with care, monitor the water temperature, and change the water regularly. If a livewell is not available, there are alternative methods for keeping your catch fresh, such as using stringers, coolers, or buckets. Whichever method you choose, always remember to release the fish back into the water unharmed whenever possible. Happy fishing!

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