Are ATVs Good for Fishing?

Fishing is incredibly popular and has the added bonus of providing a meal at the end of it. Often the best fishing spots aren’t well known or are difficult to access without an offroad vehicle or without trekking on foot for many hours. Today, I will explain whether an ATV is good for fishing.

Overall, ATVs are good for fishing. ATVs are more maneuverable than a full-sized four-wheel-drive vehicle and are more convenient than hiking. But, they also have ample space on the front or back for fishing and camping gear.

Below, I will explain what a typical setup would look like on an ATV when you go fishing with it, the advantages of using an ATV for fishing, as well as, some things you very likely won’t have considered when using an ATV to go fishing.

Yellow ATV in the forest

Advantages of Using an ATV for Fishing

There’s nothing overly bad about tramping to fishing spots or using a 4 wheel drive to go fishing. However, an ATV is also very good for getting to fishing spots. Particularly those that are very much off the main roads. Before, getting into the advantages here’s a quick rundown on how an ATV would be set up for fishing.

How an ATV setup for fishing would look

There is an area on the front of an ATV that has a metal rack that can keep a significant amount of equipment. There is also a similar area but usually a bit large at the rear of the ATV. Both, of these areas, can accommodate a sturdy box for a cooler, and fishing gear. It can be attached using strops.

Alternatively, equipment such as tents can be strapped to the front or the rear. There are a few different ways to fish. For example, you may use traps, hand lines, or rods. Traps and rods are fairly easy to transport, however, rods are a bit more tricky.

There are collapsable rods that are very easy to transport because they can be broken down. But, a non-collapsible rod tends to need a special attachment. There are fishing pole holders that can be installed on the front or the rear. These allow fishing rods to be stored on an ATV facing straight up into the air.

This can limit certain routes, such as those where there are low-hanging branches. But, if you absolutely must pass them, you can take them off, get past the low-hanging branches, then walk back and pick them up. And carry them to your ATV. You can also DIY a fishing pole holder and place it at an angle so that it doesn’t stick up into the air vertically but gives you a lower clearance by tilting at an angle.

Based on these facts using shorter rods, collapsable rods, or hand lines are more convenient. But, not overly so. And this is virtually the only drawback of using an ATV for fishing over a 4 wheel drive truck or SUV-type vehicle.

Here’s a video showing a simple ATV setup to go camping and fishing:

Now, here are the main reasons why an ATV is good for fishing.

1. You can travel to more remote areas than other forms of travel

Trekking/hiking are very fun and many people enjoy them. However, it does take a fairly long time to get anywhere. Going off-road using a four-wheel-drive vehicle such as an SUV or truck is also a good way to get to remote places.

However, they are much bulkier and use more fuel than an ATV. This means you can’t go as close to some fishing spots because you can’t get through narrow areas, or areas where there are overhanging trees. This makes ATVs superior to hiking and using a four-wheel-drive vehicle like a truck or SUV.

2. You can take more equipment than hiking as you don’t have to carry it

A key consideration when hiking or cycling to fishing spots is what you take with you. The more stuff you take the harder the travel will be. Therefore, you need to limit what you take more so than if you use an ATV or an off-road vehicle like a truck or SUV.

It can be quite fun to see how light you can make your travel gear, and how compact you can make your pack. However, it isn’t limited based on your physical abilities. Whereas, with an ATV you can pretty much take whatever you want within reason.

3. Access to better fishing spots than a 4 wheel drive vehicle or trekking

Often, but not always the best fishing spots aren’t frequented often. When they are they can be less plentiful with fish. Or, you might want to get away from it all, and not see anyone for a weekend. The reason some fishing spots are not frequented often is that they’re so remote or inaccessible.

ATV on the beach

4. It isn’t as physically tiring as trekking – more energy for fishing

Hiking is quite tiring, it involves walking for most of the day. Another good option is to cycle using a mountain bike. However, this too is quite physically demanding. Although, many people like exercise, it does limit how far you can go. And you’ll typically be physically exhausted by the time you reach your destination.

Therefore, with an ATV you can access these that hikers and people in four-wheel-drive vehicles like trucks and SUVs avoid because of how inaccessible they are. In the northern states of the USA and areas where lakes, rivers, and parts even oceans freeze over are great places to go ice fishing.

You may be wondering if an ATV is suited to ice fishing, or whether a snowmobile or trekking from a road is a better option. I explained this in detail in this article about whether you can use an ATV to go ice fishing.

Ice Fisherman in ATV Pulling Sled of Supplies

Can an ATV Go in Water?

When going fishing in remote places you may need to cross a river at the beach, or inland in a forest. Therefore, you may be wondering if it’s OK for an ATV to go through water. Here’s the answer.

ATVs can go up to 14 inches (35 cm) deep in water without a snorkel, and 3 feet (1 meter) with a snorkel. The owner’s manual for the most popular ATVs all recommended using a lot of caution and going very slow in water as there is far less traction.

A snorkel is used so that water doesn’t get into the exhaust pipe and the air filters. It sticks up about 3 feet (1 meter) from ground level. If going through water can be avoided it’s always best to do so. For a more in-depth discussion about riding an ATV in water, refer to this article I wrote about how deep an ATV can go in water. It explains what to do if you get water in the engine, how to safely ride through water, and how much a snorkel for an ATV costs.

Are ATVs Good for Hunting?

Hunting is a very popular hobby but often involves tracking animals for many hours or days. Or, going to very remote areas. For that reason, a vehicle is very handy but is an ATV good for hunting?

ATVs are very good for hunting. They have ample storage space for hunting gear, they use considerably less fuel than a 4 wheel drive vehicle like a truck, or SUV, they also are smaller and more nimble so can travel through terrain that a truck or SUV can’t.

ATVs are regularly used for hunting because of these advantages. As you may know, the one disadvantage is that an ATV is quite loud, and therefore, you still need to allow a lot of time to pass when you arrive at a spot, as they’ll spook animals. Or, you’ll need to walk a fair distance to an area that was out of earshot of your ATV.


I’m Rob, the owner of RX Riders Place. My family and I have a long history of riding dirt bikes and ATVs and want to share what we have learned.

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