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Traveling from Charleston, SC to Conway, NH I took along the Jackson Liska to fish from on Conway Lake in the scenic Mount Washington Valley. Conway Lake is roughly 1,300 acres with a maximum depth of 45 feet and is part of the Saco River watershed. I love the two weeks that I get to spend on this lake which is usually the last week of August and the first week of September. I enjoy fishing for smallmouth bass and occasionally I will hook up with a largemouth. Some days I will even target chain pickerel when using top water weedless lures in the lily pad areas of the lake. Other species in Conway Lake include the hornpout, yellow perch, small bluegill, landlocked salmon, and rainbow trout.

Well this write-up is not about Conway Lake or the fish that call the lake home but more about my two weeks experience fishing and paddling the Jackson Liska. In my opinion the Liska is an entry level fishing kayak that is very similar to Jackson’s fly fishing platform known as the Mayfly. The Liska has the same Hi-Lo seat that can also be slide forward and backward allowing the angler to trim the kayak for various water conditions. The height of the gunnels is slightly higher than the Mayfly and lower than the Coosa providing a kayak that is almost not affected by wind. The Liska also has a very open deck for the angler that feels that they need the room for tackle. So how did the Liska perform for me on Conway Lake?

Will I’m not going to write about every day that I was on the water but I’m going to bucket my experience into a nice weather type of trip and the other will be in stormy conditions with rain and winds that would gust to 30 knots. I found the Liska to be ideal for any lake similar to Conway Lake that is approximately 1,300 acres in size. On the day when the weather was calm to lightly windy the kayak’s maneuverability was super in my opinion. I was able to quickly position the kayak to fish a particular rock pile or point on the lake while fishing. When drifting a slight dip of the paddle helped with the staying in position which I would consider as both maneuverability and tracking.

While the Liska is reported to be 34” wide it is a very stable kayak for a big guy like me at 225 lbs. I was surprised at how fast the kayak is at this width. At times I felt that the kayak as not as fast but when I check the GPS reading for speed the system reported close to 3 mph. I’m pretty sure that the speed of the kayak is related to the low profile the kayak has and the hull design. Related to hull design; I was really impressed with the tracking of the kayak while I paddled and drifted keeping casting distance from the rocky shoreline.

For the two weeks in New Hampshire the weather was not that great for a few days. The rain storms and gusty winds did not hamper my desires to fish and further test the limits of the Liska as long as there was no thunder and lightning. I found the kayak easy to paddle in these conditions. Paddling into the wind I managed to more forward and not paddle in place. When paddling with the wind blowing at me from the starboard or port side of the kayak the wind would force me to paddle more on one side then the other to stay on target in my attempt to paddle in a straight line.

My final thoughts on the Jackson Liska are that this is a great kayak for the entry level kayak angler to an experienced kayak angler. The kayak easily handled the conditions of my two week test in New Hampshire. The layout of the deck of the Liska creates a clean slate on how an angler would personalize their own Liska. The deck is clean enough that my experience would also make a great option for a fly angler that is looking for a line management free (no issue) kayak that is very stable for standing and throwing the fly. I highly encourage you to check out this kayak for yourself at your local dealer and on the water. You will be convinced that this is a great kayak for your needs.