River Fishing Safety Tips

I was enjoying a day's fishing on the River Tweed just on the outskirts of Peebles leading down to the Cardrona Hotel when I heard someone yell out.

Looking back I saw a bloke heading my way in the middle of the river laying on his back and coming head first. It transpired he had turned to go back to the river bank and lost his footing and ended up on his back and traversing down the river.

If I hadn't been there at the time to grab him; I don't know what might have happened to him.

There is nothing worse than slipping and ending up in the water and if you don't know your river craft when fishing you won't know what might happen to you when it does occur.

The aim of this article is to educate both the novice and expert fishermen on how to improve their river fishing skills.


River fishing is the method of fishing in a body of water that flows towards another river, ocean, lake, loch or sea. You can fish a river from the shore, by wading or if the size and depth of the river make it possible, via a boat.

A wide variety of different species of fish (including popular game fish) can be found inhabiting rivers or at least navigating them in order to reach spawning grounds or to catch fish when they migrate. Fishermen will need to use specific types of fishing methods due to the natural movement of a river.

Many rivers have dams and water locks that help control the flow of water. These structures can be a great place for large fish to congregate because of the water depth and temperature. However they can be a hazard to the wadding fisherman.


Get a Pair of Polarized Glasses - Depending on what river you plan on fishing in you may be able to see through the water with a good pair of polarized glasses. By being able to visually locate fish you can prevent a lot of wasted time searching for them also you can see the river bottom contours slightly better.

When you're fishing in a river you'll want to follow basic safety precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of other people around you.

You should always know how to swim or fish with someone who is able to swim. If you're wading in a river make sure to use a wader belt to prevent water from filling up your waders if you fall over.

If you're using a boat then make sure to follow all boating rules and regulations and remember that the depth and speed of a river can change quickly.

River Fishing Safety Tips:

Always dress appropriately, this includes waterproof fishing jackets, waders and footwear. Check the weather before you leave and be ready for any sudden changes in conditions that may occur.

Remember, the hooks on the end of your line are very sharp. Before you make a cast, make sure there is no one behind you.

If you go fishing alone, be sure to tell someone exactly where you are going and when.

If you're fishing from a boat, wear a life jacket.

If you are fishing in unknown waters with a strong current, go with a friend. Always carefully check out the area before wading in, and when you do wade in, do so carefully.

Carry a wading stick and take one step at a time to feel for any deep drop-offs.

What river fishing equipment are you likely to need to be safe?

Here is a little kit advice below.

Adequate footwear - Rubber soled boots for sand-based & felt soled for rock-based rivers. Water & wind resistant clothing .

Wading staff or stick to determine water levels Map of where you will be fishing.

A method of communication such as a mobile phone/radio.

First Aid Kit in case of minor injury.

If you do happen to have a mishap and end up floating down the river, try to right yourself if possible and retain your balance. If not try to make sure you travel feet first as there might be rocky outcrops in the water and it's better to hit them with your feet than with your head.

You can always mend a broken leg but not a loved one's broken heart.

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