When fly fishing for a float tube gives you good access to areas hard to reach from shore. Read our guide to learn more about float tubes for fly fishing.

What is a Float Tube?

Float tubes consist of an air bladder that is covered with a protective cover. Some look like a doughnut and some are a U shape. The fly fisher usually wears stocking foot waders to stay dry and maneuvers about using swim fins. They are basically a floating chair and are designed for still water fishing.

Read on below to review the advantages and disadvantages of a float tube, and what to look for when purchasing.

Where will float your boat?

Float tubes are great for lake fly fishing. Check out our lake fly fishing guide for good tips and techniques. Shop our curated fly boxes to be prepared to match the hatch.

Advantages of Float Tubes

• They are very lightweight and portable. This allows a solo fly fisher to access areas in a lake or backcountry waters that a bank fisher just cannot get to.

• They are very affordable, a lot less than most fly fishing boats.

• They require less setup time than a pontoon boat (although not by much).

• They work very well in small lakes and ponds.

• A pontoon-style tube can be fairly easy to maneuver.

• Most have storage compartments near each arm.

Disadvantages of Float Tubes

• It should not be used on a river, especially if the water is moving at all. This can be really dangerous.

• On larger lakes, winds can blow you around, although if you stayed on the edges of the lake you may be OK. A pontoon boat would be a better choice on large lakes.

• It is hard to cover a lot of water in a float tube.

• If you are thinking of packing one into the backcountry remember that the water may be cold. Your waders and fins will add extra weight. By the time you get there you may be too tired to fish.

• A round tube can be harder to maneuver and has more drag.

• They are subject to punctures. Wear a life jacket.

• Kicking it about the lake is a workout (OK, maybe this should be up in the advantage section).

Float Tube Summary

The float tube is very portable, inexpensive and safe in still waters. They are great for fly fishing small ponds and lakes. They can be a lot of fun, but pay attention to the weather and be sure to wear your life jacket.

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Our state and river fly fishing guides will provide you with the insight you need to get out on the water. Everything from suggested access points, flies to bring by season and local fly shop and lodging options. Enjoy the Water