Anchor line length

I've recently moved back to Spokane County and am in the process of rigging up my skiff for local waters. Strictly local lakes and none of the big ones (Like Couer 'd Alene and Pend Orielle) You know, Badger, Amber, Medical, Waitts, Williams. Those local lakes. So, the question is, how long of an anchor line do I want? My thanks in advance.


Sculpin Enterprises
I don't know the depths of those specific lakes. You will read about folks flyfishing with chironomid nymphs in 20-25' of water on full sinking lines or very long leaders, but not much deeper. Add another 10 - 20 feet for scope and you have your maximum. If those lakes tend to be shallower, you could get away with less.



Active Member
The minimum length of your bow anchor line should be at least twice the depth of the water you intend to anchor in. The stern anchor line could be shorter. More is better. SS


aka Dave Hoover
I don't have much experience in anchoring small craft but anchor line just twice the depth of water (2:1 ratio) is very short even in light wind conditoons. I would say at least a 4:1 ratio is closer to what you want to have particularly if you expect to anchor in windy conditions. On larger vessels that utilize anchor chain, a 5-7:1 ratio is typically used.


Active Member
I haven't really used ratios or anything to determine my length. Seeing as how I am rarely fishing in water deeper than 15 feet, My anchor is 45-50 feet long tops. This seems to work for me in every lake that I fish on a normal basis in both my float tube or pontoon. When you start getting really long lines it can get messy.


colton rogers

wishin' i was fishin'
get 100 feet of rope and go test the waters. mark where the water depth is at various parts and add 15 feet to the longest one. 50 feeet should get ya by before trimming.
I do it completely different. Personally, I don't want any more rope in the water (or boat for that matter) than absolutely necessary. I want my anchor lines perfectly straight down to the lake bottom. Several reasons: less line to tangle fish on; less line to snag on objects in the water, less stretch to the line so the boat stays still; less line to pull up and put down when anchoring or moving; fewer weeds to drag along the bottom when retrieving the anchors - to name a few. I put 20 lb lead anchors fore and aft and they hold me in all but the stoutest winds. The anchors have to be angular (not round) and because I use an inflatable dingy I make sure they are flat bottomed. I have rarely needed more than 30'of rope for each anchor. If I do, I just splice them and use only one anchor. I also like a fat, soft rope; much easier on the hands. When chironomid fishing with either long leaders or wet lines, often we are parallel to the anchor line, right near the bottom. That would be a challenge with ropes scoped out fore and aft.


Indi "Ira" Jones
I agree with Mark. I use more weight versus more line and since I've started doing that I've had no issues in any of the winds I've fished. Some of you may remember me anchoring up in 20+ feet of water at Dry Falls a few years ago at our last big site outing. I used rocks from the shoreline in a fairly stiff wind and before long I had several folks join me in location and method of anchoring. My long anchor line is maybe 32'.



We're not talking about anchoring a 36' Grand Banks in Puget Sound. If you intend to flyfish you want your anchors straight down. No wind drift, no side to side movement. Add as much weight as needed to get you into a fixed and stationary position as Mark and Ira suggested.

I would think 50' would probably be twice as much as you'd need but it's easier to cut some off than it is to add length.

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I would think 50' would probably be twice as much as you'd need but it's easier to cut some off than it is to add length.
Reminds me of the first time I fished Omak Lake. After exhausting the water along the north beach, we decided to try casting in close to the shore along the west wall. That lake is so deep that within an easy casting distance of the shore, my anchor was unable to find bottom with 50' of line.
Couple more things, which I learned the hard way: tie off the end of your lines somewhere permanently in the boat. I lost one anchor by not doing that, and never did it again. It's also helpful to have each anchor, fore and aft, tied off in the middle and at the extreme ends of your boat: directly off the bow and directly off the stern. Tying them off mid-boat or 3/4 up or down the gunwale allows your boat to twist in the wind and current. Fish will actually congregate under your boat, as they do under a dock or stationary, fixed raft, but if your boat is moving, they shy away from it. Ropes stretch once they hit the water. Typically I have to re-tie at the cleat or ring after fishing for a half hour or so to take out slack. I like to drop the 20 pounds of lead and let it free-fall to gain speed and slam hard into the lake's bed. I want it buried.

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