How Do You Anchor A Kayak In A Lake?

Handling a kayak in a lake is more manageable than the river and the ocean. You don’t have to worry about strong waves or sudden winds that can disrupt your kayaking experience. So, how do you anchor a kayak in a lake? Especially if you’re trying to fish or enjoy the views?

In short, to anchor a kayak in the lake, you’ll want to:

  • Have a reliable anchor kit.
  • Position the yak where you want to anchor it.
  • Make necessary adjustments to prevent flipping the kayak.

This may sound complicated, primarily if you’ve never used an anchor on your kayak. We’ll cover everything you need to know about properly anchoring your yak. 

Anchoring a kayak isn’t hard per se, but it’s a risky procedure. A lot of things can go wrong, even in a lake. So you need to be fast, accurate, and skillful. 

You follow these steps!

How to Anchor a Kayak in A Lake in 4 Simple Steps

There are multiple methods for anchoring your kayak, but not all of them work in a lake. This method will have your kayak anchored in a matter of minutes, and you’ll be able to take off again quickly, without any hassle. 

However, you should note that this isn’t a quick-release method. So if you want to get rid of the anchor fast, you’ll have no option but to cut the line using a pair of scissors.

Step 1: Get Your Anchoring Kit Out

There are a lot of different anchoring kits available on the market. Here, we’ll use a conventional anchor trolley you can get at any store. 

The first thing you should do is prepare your kit. Take the karabiner, anchor, and anchor line out and keep them close. Then, grab the anchor reel because it’s the first item you’ll use. 

It should go to the center of the kayak before you proceed with the steps.

Step 2: Setup the Anchoring Equipment

Now that you have your items ready, you’ll start preparing the setup. Firstly, grab the karabiner and pass the line through it. Most kits it’s made of stainless steel to resist corrosion.

Next, grab the anchor and anchor line, and start clipping them together. 

Most kits have an anchor already attached to a chain, which you then connect to the rope using an available clip.

Step 3: Move Your Kayak to Where You Want to Anchor It

After linking the line to the anchor, move your kayak to where you want to leave it. You’ll likely have to go deeper if the wind is particularly strong. The same goes if the water is deep, so the anchoring line doesn’t get lost below.

When you’re sure that’s where you want to anchor your kayak, throw the anchor into the water. Before that, ensure the line isn’t tangled so it can drag smoothly out of the reel.

While dropping the anchor into the water, you’ll need to move the trolley to the kayak’s stern, where it should rest. Then, start running the trolley line through the cleat you get with your kit. 

You’ll find it has a zig-zag shape, so run the line through the curves until it’s taut and locked in place. 

This requires you to move quickly because it needs to be done while the anchor is still dropping into the water. If you attempt to do it after the anchor is already down, you may not be able to lock the line in place.

Step 4: Make Some Final Adjustments

Now, everything should be in place. But there are still a couple of steps you have to do. Firstly, you’ll want to loosen more anchor line. Avoid pulling it up entirely while the anchor is in place because any size tide will move it.

It needs to be slack enough for this movement, or you’re risking capsizing the kayak. At the very least, the line will pull the reel and compromise the integrity of the whole anchoring system.

So, let off some extra line, allowing the line to move with the wind without pulling the kayak. As a rule of thumb, the line’s length should be double the depth of the water.

Things to Consider When Anchoring Your Kayak 

Before attempting to anchor your kayak in a lake, there are a couple of things to consider. Otherwise, you may choose the anchoring equipment wrong.

Anchor’s Weight

You want your anchor to be heavy enough not to let the kayak off, but it shouldn’t be too heavy that it’s adding to the kayak’s weight. 

The water should be calm without strong wind if you’re kayaking in a lake. In this case, you can do good with a 3 pound anchor. However, if you’re in a river and the wind is strong, you can choose a 7 pound anchor for more safety. 

Anchor Line Length

It’s a silent agreement among kayakers that the anchor line should be double the water’s depth. So, if you’re leaving your kayak in 15-feet deep water, you’ll need a 30-feet rope. The extra length is essential to let the anchor drag without pulling the kayak down.

Plus, you never know when the strong wind will hit. For that, you’ll need a longer line to pull the anchor.

Anchor Trolley Positioning

Positioning the anchor trolley incorrectly is a common mistake among kayakers. Unfortunately, putting it in the wrong place can cost you your kayak. At the very least, it’ll put the kayak at the risk of flipping upside down in the water.

You have two options: either place it at the stern or the bow. Putting it at the stern will have the kayak facing downwind, which should keep it stable. Most kayakers anchor their boats using this method.

Alternatively, you can position the trolley on the bow. This keeps the kayak facing the up-wind, which should also keep it stable. The bow method is recommended for turbulent weather, which is unlikely at a lake.

Some kayakers may position the trolley at mid-ship, which is a total no-go zone. If you anchor your kayak this way, you’ll have the boat’s body facing all the wind from a side-on position. This way, any wind or turbulence can tip the kayak over easier than you can blink.

Chain Length

The anchor doesn’t connect to the line directly. Instead, there’s a chain between them that often comes already attached to the anchor. The chain should be two or three feet if the conditions are calm. 

You may get longer chains if you’re kayaking in particularly windy weather.

Line Material

You’ll have to consider the line material if you’re buying the anchoring equipment yourself, not getting them from a kit.

Most kayakers go for polyester lines, similar to those used for clotheslines. Polyester doesn’t stretch, and it hardly tears under pressure. On top of that, it’s not vulnerable to water and ties a knot nicely without tangling.

Line Size

The wrong line size can make a world of difference in your anchoring setup. Your line needs to be sturdy enough to hold the kayak’s weight. However, you don’t want it too hard or thick because it won’t allow you to attach a light anchor. 

The most versatile choice for most kayaks is a 3/16-inch line. It’s a moderate size that should be enough for kayaking in normal conditions. But, of course, in a lake, you won’t need a larger size.


The best way to anchor a kayak in a lake is to use an anchoring kit. Then you’ll want to prepare your setup and follow our steps above. The process isn’t complicated, but it’s better to be cautious because kayaks are lightweight—they can tip over at a wrong move, and you don’t want that to happen.

If you’re kayaking in a lake, you don’t have to worry about tides or strong wind, so choosing the anchoring kit and setting it up should be easy.

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