Where Do You Put Fish In A Kayak? (7 Simple Solutions)

Where do you put fish in a kayak? It’s a common question.

When you’re out fishing in a kayak, the last thing you want to do is spend time worrying about where to put your fish.

This blog post will discuss some tips on where to keep your fish in your kayak

We’ll also provide some helpful tips on keeping them safe and secure until you get them back to shore.

Where Do You Put Fish In A Kayak?

The best place to keep fish on a kayak is in a hard or soft-sided cooler with ice or an insulated bag with frozen water bottles. Keeping your freshly caught fish cold is ideal. However, fish are easily damaged and quickly spoil, so keeping them iced down is essential. In addition, don’t keep any fish you don’t intend to eat.

Man fishing from a kayakPin
Source: Depositphotos

#1 Use A Cooler To Keep Your Fish Fresh On A Kayak

Using a cooler is essential if you plan to keep your catch fresh during a kayak fishing trip. A cooler will help keep your fish cold and prevent them from spoiling.

Either a hard or soft-sided cooler works. Both types of coolers will work fine, but it’s best to choose one with a drain plug so that any standing water can drain out.

You’ll also want to make sure that the cooler is large enough to accommodate all of your fish. Once you have your cooler, pack it with ice or gel packs to keep the fish cold.

The downside to using a hard cooler is that not all kayaks have space for one since they take up a lot of room.

You should also place the fish in the cooler as soon as possible after catching them.

By taking these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, delicious fish even when you’re miles from home.

#2 Fish Stringer

If the conditions are right, a fish stringer is a simple but effective way to keep your catch fresh while kayak fishing.

A fish stringer attaches to your kayak, keeps the fish in the water it came from, and is designed to allow the fish to breathe and stay alive for some time.

There are a couple of caveats to using a fish stringer, though.

If you use a fish stringer in salt water, you might as well just ask another fish to eat your freshly caught (bait) fish. Or you might even be inviting a shark to take your catch.

So, while a fish stringer can work in freshwater, it’s not the best for saltwater kayak fishing.

Another thing to remember is that if you’re using a fish stringer, you’ll need to be extra careful when paddling.

A fish stringer is a great way to keep your catch fresh if you’re fishing in the right conditions, cold, deep freshwater fishing spots.

#3 Fish Basket

A fish basket is a great way to secure your catch while kayak fishing. Most baskets are made of mesh or wire, allowing water to circulate.

Fish baskets are similar to stringers, designed to help keep the fish alive in the water. These work best in cold water fishing locations.

Make sure to get a basket that’s the right size for your fish and your kayak.

Once you have your basket, securely strap it down, so it doesn’t float away with your prized catch.

#4 Kayak Livewell

For anglers who like to fish from their kayaks, a livewell can be a helpful addition. A livewell is a small tank used to store live bait or fish.

It is typically located in the kayak stern and is pumped full of oxygenated water to keep the fish alive.

Some livewells also have aeration systems that help to keep the water circulated.

It is important to select one that is the right size for your kayak and has enough capacity for the type of fishing you plan to do.

Batteries can power livewells and typically come with all the necessary fittings and hoses.

Using a livewell can ensure that your fish stays fresh until you are ready to clean it.

The biggest problem with a livewell is space; they take up a decent amount of room on a kayak.

Wilderness Systems sells a livewell, as do other kayak manufacturers.

#5 Kayak Hatch

The often forgotten kayak hatch can come in handy when you need a spot to hold your fish on a kayak.

Using an insulated bag and some frozen water bottles, you can create a makeshift cooler that keeps your fish fresh until you’re ready to clean them. 

A hatch will provide a secure, airtight seal (sometimes) to keep your fish fresh.

You can’t just toss a bunch of ice in your hatch, so an insulated bag with frozen water bottles is a great way to go.

This will help to keep the fish cold and prevent them from going bad. Also, kayaks can get very hot in the sun, so the insulated bag will help to keep the fish cool and fresh.

#6 Fishing Net

If you are short on options, a fishing net can work to keep your fish until you can clean them. It’s the best solution but can work in a pinch.

Basically, you hang the net over the side of the kayak, so the fish is in the water. It’s similar to using a fish basket or even a fish stringer.

A fishing net can work well in cold water but not in hot temperatures.

#7 Deck Bag

A kayak deck bag is a great way to keep fish on a kayak. The bag helps keep the fish contained and out of the way while you paddle.

Most kayak deck bags have a zip closure, which makes it easy to access the fish.

The bag can store other items such as bait, lures, and tackle.

When selecting a kayak deck bag, choosing one made from durable materials with a waterproof lining is essential.

This will help to keep your fish fresh and prevent them from spoiling in the sun.


There are several ways to keep your fish fresh while kayak fishing. You can use a fish stringer, a fish basket, a livewell, or an insulated bag.

You can also use a fishing net if you’re short on options. Make sure to select the right option for your type of fishing and kayak.

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About the author
Steve Morrow
Steve Morrow owns Paddle About, an outdoor recreation and travel blog. Steve loves to travel, kayak, paddle board, camp, hike, and spend time outdoors with his wife and two kids. When he's not exploring the great outdoors, Steve enjoys writing about his adventures and sharing tips for getting the most out of your outdoor experiences. He has a lot of interesting stories to share, and he's always happy to help others get more out of life.