Tips for river trips


A few tips about river trips… I know they seem obvious but I've forgotten some of these things (you might have too)

Know your weather forecast ! A quick visit to Weather channel homepage allows you to get an hourly forecast. Another weather tip - major temperature changes are generally accompanied by windy conditions.
Try to avoid last minutes stops on the way to your destination. These always seem to take longer than you think. About distance - the longer it takes you to get there (and back), the less time you'll get to spend there. Longer trips work better when you're spending more time there. Keeping short day trips close to home allows more time spent in the outdoors.

Water - never forget a supply of fresh water for drinking and cooking washing dishes, …and Coffee! (I know you won't forget food!)

Matches. And some Cup cozys (...unless you like warm soda)

Sunblock never forget it, your favorite hat and good BUG repellent with "deet"…

First Aid kit !

Your Camera, and a valid Fishing License.

Sunglasses…and keep those Car Keys safe! (last time I used a shoelace tied around my neck just to be safe)

Rain gear (something to keep you dry- hooded rain suit, poncho, tarp, even cheap pocket sized rain ponchos keep you dry) check the forecast before you go. This will help decide what clothes to pack, and how much rain gear you may need.

Pack clothes and food in something waterproof, and in smaller packages…a few smaller packages of gear are more maneuverable leaving more leg room etc… Plastic garbage bags work good to keep things dry, and you need them anyway for trash.

Pack as light as possible. When in doubt leave it out is the rule unless you are close to the car. This includes food also. More about that in my sample packing list...

I love my MSR Isobutane stove. Light, convenient, packs very small. The fuel is in shaving cream sized, sealed lightweight cans. Great if you need to simmer, or don't like burned food. for fast Coffee from your aluminum/stainless percolator they're awesome. Just like cooking at home. Well worth the $55.00 investment.


Keep your live bait in good shape with a nice aerator, or be prepared to put dead suckers/minnow on ice for Cut-Bait. In a separate cooler from your food, of course!

Be ready to wade when it's warm. Old sneakers or beach shoes are all you really need to wade in to launch boats, seine bait, or fish. Nylon beach shoes with rubber soles work good. Run a shoelace through the loop in the back and tie around your ankle. If you step in some sticky muck, you won't lose your shoes. Carry worms or chubs in waterproof bag with ice while wading...For more information about catfishing basics,Catfishing Basics

If you're using an outboard motor, bring a few tools in case of breakdown. Maybe an extra Shear pin. Bring enough fuel, or have access back to car to re-fill tank.

Those blocks of pink hard foam insulation sheets are good to make lids for those Playmate coolers (keep ice longer), they also keep snelled hooks and dip-worms neat. You can use a block for cleaning fish or cutting up bait to keep your knife sharp.

If it's raining, you can still start a campfire by dousing your firewood with a little gas from your boat motor.  A tarp makes an awning to keep gear dry.

Take gear your comfortable with. A motor prone to acting up isn't good for covering lots of water. Then stay close to camp.

I like to be prepared for mult-species. Take terminal tackle for a few different approaches. If catfish aren't hitting, but backwater Crappie are, shifting gears will provide more fun. I remember an 8 lb Carp caught when the Kalamazoo river was fast and high and we weren't catching any Bronzebacks. Hey at least we avoided the "skunk."
for info about catfishing, follow some of my Links

Take me to the River…Drop me in the Water… - tunes are nice for the car ride there. I'm partial to Outdoor, American, and traveling themes. My favorites include country and bluegrass, Let it Bleed (Stones), 70-72 Grateful Dead, Allmans, LedZep III, Mellencamp, Neil Young, or some of my favorite mix tapes (Twangy Tunes, Road Songs, and River Tunes.)

Lastly, take your trash out with you or dispose in a proper waste receptacle. Catch, Photo, and Release any BIG ones. Leaving only footprints is something good to strive for.  

If you have favorite tips you want to share (or recipies) just e-mail


More Info

Good sources of info for trips are

Walking Softly in the Wilderness by John Hart (sierra club books) - goes into packing, gear, stoves, tents, etc; and

Dan Gapen's River Fishing- a happy world has lots of useful info on boat tripping.


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