Best Fishing Canoes Reviewed and Tested

The canoe is an ancient design that’s stuck with us because it’s so useful. For many fishermen, the canoe provides a stealthy craft capable of getting into waterways that no boat is capable of; and opens up a variety of fishing opportunities not available to the land based angler. While kayaks are prominent on the fishing scene these days, the canoe remains a highly versatile alternative – in many circumstances more versatile than a kayak. But what really separates canoes from kayaks is their ability to transport loads – people and their gear – to places that can’t otherwise be reached. For this reason, this list has paid particular attention to those canoes offering the best mix of fishing capability and transporting usefulness. We’ve avoided the cheapest alternatives in order to showcase real ‘working’ canoes – any of the options below will make a good fishing craft if it’s unique features and limitations are recognised.

Our Top 3 Picks

Journey 156 – Mad River Canoes
  • Journey 156 – Mad River Canoes
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • spacious
  • Price: See Here
Spirit II – Wenonah Canoes
  • Spirit II – Wenonah Canoes
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • lightweight
  • Price: See Here
Guide 147 – Old Town Canoes
  • Guide 147 – Old Town Canoes
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • affordable
  • Price: See Here

 

Best Canoe Manufacturers

There’s no ‘best’ canoe manufacturer out there, but some names are synonymous with adventure fishing. None more so than Wenonah – the famous Minnesota canoe manufacturer that prides itself in the prevalence of its canoes found traversing lakes and portages throughout the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, MN, and Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

Another big name in canoes is of course Old Town, which has expanded to provide to a global market – both in canoes and kayaks. Old Town canoes are known for their ruggedness – they make fishermen happy worldwide.

Mad River Canoes can’t be overlooked in this list. They provide similar crafts to those of Old Town, and again are well regarded as rugged and trustworthy crafts. There are designs for all kinds of water conditions, and plenty of these canoes turn up on remote rivers and lakes.

Some other old favourites make an appearance in this list – like Grumman canoes which got many an adventurer into wild fishing locations when motors were allowed on all North American waters. Newcomers to the scene also deserve a mention for their innovative approach to the time-proven canoe design. MYCANOE take the craft in a new direction with their folding canoe.

Things to consider when buying a Canoe

It’s important to answer some questions before starting to shop for a fishing canoe:

  1. Will you be fishing alone or with someone else?

The choice between a solo and tandem canoe is the most definitive one. There’s no way that two anglers will be fishing together in a solo canoe. But if you like to fish alone, a specifically designed solo canoe offers greater responsiveness in design while cutting back on unnecessary weight. If you think that it’s going to be a mix of solo and tandem fishing; then several of the options on this list work reliably as a solo craft without becoming too unwieldly. Generally speaking, a canoe up to about 16 feet in length is easiest to control solo when winds, waves and rough waters make their presence known.

  1. Are you day tripping or making a fishing expedition?

Some canoes are better designed for quick fishing trips and single-day outings. A small canoe with a limited carrying capacity isn’t as well suited to expedition trips as a larger craft designed to carry large loads including anglers, fishing and camping gear.

Other factors also come into it – many heavy canoes can carry plenty of gear, but they are no fun transporting long distances between waterways. These canoes are good choices for day trips and short excursions; but no fun while traversing the Grand Portage.

  1. Will you be portaging a lot?

It’s part and parcel of river and lake fishing – carrying your gear around obstacles and between water bodies. Not all fishing situations require portaging however – fishing saltwater estuaries, large lakes and rivers may not require any at all. It’s worth choosing a canoe designed for portaging if it’s going to be a feature of the waters you fish. The number one accessory here is a yoke – which enables the carrier to put the canoe on their shoulders. Some of the canoes on this list come with yokes – and others are suitable to be outfitted with a detachable one. Others don’t have a yoke option, and are therefore better for short carries, preferably with a friend to help.

Canoe Design Features

Several design features can be incorporated or altered to make a canoe more or less suitable for specific uses. In general, canoes can be designed for running rivers and dealing with white-water; for travelling long distances in open water; or a combination of both to create an all-rounder. Other design features change the load-carrying capacity of canoes, and how they are affected by winds and currents. The following are key design features of a canoe.

Length

Length dictates the manoeuvrability and speed of a canoe; as well as altering its stability and carrying capacity.

Short canoes are more agile and better at dealing with fast direction changes, as might be encountered in streams and rivers. They do this at the expense of speed and paddling efficiency.

Long canoes deal better with the forces of drag and can be paddled faster. They are also more efficient to paddle over distance as they follow a straighter line – they track better – thus requiring less paddle strokes to stick to a straight line.

Rocker

The rocker describes how much curve exists in the bottom of the hull from bow to stern. Canoes that have no rocker will sit flat on the ground from bow to stern. These canoes track well through the water but can’t make a fast turn. Canoes with a high rocker will rest on the ground in the centre of the hull while the bow and the stern sit off the ground. These canoes are much more responsive to turning forces and make for good river-running crafts; but are less efficient long-distance paddlers.

Beam

The beam of the canoe is its width at the widest point. This affects the canoe’s speed, stability and capacity – but only in relation to its length. For example, a 14’ canoe with a beam of 38”  is much less streamlined than a 20’ canoe of the same beam – while the shorter canoe may feel more stable due to the distribution of weight on the water’s surface.

Chine

The chine is the shape of the hull’s transition from bottom to sides. This affects the stability of the canoe. Canoes have both primary and secondary stability. Primary stability is how well the craft balances when sitting flat on the water. Secondary stability relates to how stable the canoe is when leaned sideways. Soft chines (for example a ‘shallow arch’ hull) allow the canoe to lean to the side predictably and make for a craft that has good primary and secondary stability. A flat bottomed hull has high primary stability but poor secondary stability, as once it is leaned beyond its pivotal point it will suddenly capsize.

Depth

The depth of the canoe affects its wind profile as well as its carrying capacity and seaworthiness. Canoes with a low depth are easier to control in the wind – especially by the solo paddler; and can make for a much more enjoyable fishing craft. Low depth profiles have a reduced carrying capacity and seaworthiness, however, and are better suited to flatwater conditions.

There are many other design features that determine a canoe’s performance, however those listed above provide a simple explanation of some of the key considerations to make when choosing a fishing canoe. As you can see, there’s no one ‘best’ design for a fishing canoe – which makes it so fun! You can choose a specific design to best match your personal needs – all of which contributes to the appreciation of a good day spent canoe-fishing!

 

10 Best Fishing Canoes

 

1. Journey 156 – Mad River

1. Journey 156 – Mad River
The Journey 156 from Mad River is a great all-rounder – in design, construction and affordability; and that’s why it sits at the top of this list.
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Versatile Design

At 15’ 6”, the Journey provides enough room for two and their fishing gear; and is moderately useful for extended camping trips to find fishy waters. The shallow arch hull and flared sides offer good stability and improve the canoe’s performance in waves.

Features and Specifications

15’6” length
37” [email protected] gunwale
83lb weight
Moderate rocker
Shallow arch hull
Flared sides
Webbing seats
Yoke
Triple tough polyethylene construction

Price/Value

The Mad River Journey 156 is an affordable canoe. It offers great value for money in its versatility and durability.

Verdict

The Journey by Mad River Canoes is a great option for a fishing canoe, well suited to two anglers and their fishing gear. Its design offers improved capability in rough waters through its flared sides and shallow arch hull. This canoe can still be handled relatively easy by a solo paddler.
Pros
  • Durable construction can take abuse
  • Flared sides improve performance in waves and rough water
  • Yoke improves transport efficiency
Cons
  • Length limits capability for extended fishing trips
  • Heavy

2. Guide 147 – Old Town

2. Guide 147 – Old Town
If you’re looking for a tough, affordable fishing canoe that you can move about in without risk of capsizing, the Old Town Guide 147 is a great choice.
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A Tough All-Rounder

The Guide 147 is as tough as nails when it comes to construction. This is a great canoe for taking on a shallow-water fishing adventure when rocks and other obstructions pose hazards for a canoe hull. Its length makes it suitable for one or two people; although it is not as responsive as a specifically designed solo craft. A great, and affordable, fishing canoe.

Features and Specifications

14’7” length
38” [email protected] gunwale
82lb weight
Moderate rocker
Shallow arch hull
straight sides with chines
moulded seats with backrests
Yoke
3 layer polyethylene construction

Price/Value

The Old Town Guide 147 offers great value for money. It is one of the least expensive canoes on this list; and offers a tough and reliable fishing craft for the price.

Verdict

The Guide 147 is a great choice for fishing rivers and streams, especially where the canoe runs the risk of getting knocked around. It’s a very stable canoe, and chines improve secondary stability when dealing with rougher water. This isn’t a fast canoe, being relatively wide and short, and therefore isn’t as well suited to open water and lake fishing.
Pros
  • Durable, stiff canoe
  • Chines increase secondary stability
  • Sharp entry lines improve paddling efficiency
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Seat backs can be a nuisance

3. Spirit II – Wenonah

3. Spirit II – Wenonah
The Spirit II takes expedition style canoe fishing to the next level. This is an ultimate all-rounder that’ll take adventurous anglers to the furthest realms of wilderness fishing; and take all conditions in its stride.
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A Feather-light Two Man Canoe

One thing that Wenonah offers is light-weight, durable canoes. The Spirit II is constructed from Flex-core with Kevlar®; a laminate of composite fibres; giving the canoe a great balance between stiffness, durability, and light weight. For lakes and rivers, this is a perfect canoe; and anglers appreciate the weight on portages.

Features and Specifications

17’ length
35” [email protected] gunwale
54lb weight
Moderate rocker
Flex-core with Kevlar®
moulded seats; adjustable front seat
Yoke

Price/Value

The Spirit II is an expensive canoe. What you get for the price is the superior light-weight combined with toughness of hull construction; and a well-made design that can be used on almost any waters.

Verdict

The Wenonah Spirit II is expensive when compared to other options; but offers a fantastic canoe for the adventurous fisherman. At 17’ it’s a great option for two anglers embarking on extended journeys to secluded fishing waters.
Pros
  • ‘All-rounder’ canoe design
  • Light weight
  • Great for extended trips
Cons
  • Expensive
  • More fragile construction

4. Saranac 160 – Old Town

4. Saranac 160 – Old Town
The Saranac offers an affordable, simple fishing canoe that is set apart by its included features – like the centre storage compartment; moulded fishing rod holders and storage trays. The centre storage compartment even doubles as a third seat.
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Affordable Convenience

The Saranac offers a lot of perks to day-tripper fishermen that aren’t included in other canoes on this list; and all at an affordable price. The trade-off is weight; durability and design.

Features and Specifications

16’ length
37” [email protected] gunwale
89lb weight
Moderate rocker
Flat bottom hull
straight sides
contoured seats with backrests
centre bench seat/storage compartment
moulded-in fishing rod holders, storage trays, paddle rests and cup holders
thermoformed polyethylene construction

Price/Value

The Saranac 160 is a low cost alternative to many other canoes on the market. It offers several features that’ll attract anglers to this canoe.

Verdict

The Old Town Saranac 160 offers angler-friendly features in an affordable package. The in-moulded components add considerably to the canoe’s weight; and replace a yoke for efficient transport – but are useful in their own right. This canoe is a good choice for those not wanting to fork out a lot of cash; and those most interested in day trips on calm waters.

Affordable Convenience

The Saranac offers a lot of perks to day-tripper fishermen that aren’t included in other canoes on this list; and all at an affordable price. The trade-off is weight; durability and design.

Features and Specifications

16’ length
37” [email protected] gunwale
89lb weight
Moderate rocker
Flat bottom hull
straight sides
contoured seats with backrests
centre bench seat/storage compartment
moulded-in fishing rod holders, storage trays, paddle rests and cup holders
thermoformed polyethylene construction

Price/Value

The Saranac 160 is a low cost alternative to many other canoes on the market. It offers several features that’ll attract anglers to this canoe.

Verdict

The Old Town Saranac 160 offers angler-friendly features in an affordable package. The in-moulded components add considerably to the canoe’s weight; and replace a yoke for efficient transport – but are useful in their own right. This canoe is a good choice for those not wanting to fork out a lot of cash; and those most interested in day trips on calm waters.
Pros
  • Includes many convenient features for anglers
  • Low cost two man canoe
  • Low profile limits impact of winds
Cons
  • Flat bottom provides minimum secondary stability
  • Thermoformed polyethylene not as durable/tough as other Old Town models

5. Origami Folding Canoe – MYCANOE

5. Origami Folding Canoe – MYCANOE
The Origami folding canoe from MYCANOE offers a novel and innovative alternative to the regular fishing canoe. Folding down to an easily storable size, this canoe can be stashed in the car for whenever the user requires it.
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A Simple Pack Canoe

The Origami folds down to a size of 37 x 8 x 25” and is easily stored. This makes it a convenient option for those with limited space. It can be fully constructed in 10 minutes.

Features and Specifications

14’ 7” length
35” [email protected] gunwale
52lb weight
400lb recommended capacity
2 seats included with 8 optional positions in canoe
Comes with carry case
Double layer marine grade custom manufactured polypropylene hull (10 year warranty)

Price/Value

The Origami folding canoe sits in the middle of the price range on this list. It costs less than other similar sized demountable canoe options on the market. It’s a great choice for people living in the city who don’t have storage space.

Verdict

The MYCANOE Origami folding canoe offers an innovative solution to the space required to store and transport a canoe. For inner-city fishermen; or those without suitable transport for a regular fishing craft; this is a good alternative. The hard plastic hull can’t be torn or damaged by a stray hook or fishing knife, either.
Pros
  • Folds away for space saving
  • Polypropylene hull offers ruggedness and stiffness
  • Adjustable seat positions
Cons
  • Has to be set up before use
  • Folding plastic will eventually wear out

6. Discovery 119 – Old Town

6. Discovery 119 – Old Town
This is the first specifically solo canoe on the list. The Discovery 119 is a nifty size for the solo angler looking to cast a line into a variety of waters.
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A Solo Canoe for Rugged Adventure

The Discovery 119 offers a tough polypropylene canoe like the Guide and Journey series; in a pocket-sized package. For the solo fisherman; this is a fantastic all-rounder craft for running rivers and streams, and will take to open water.

Features and Specifications

11’ 9” length
5” [email protected] gunwale
49lb weight
Moderate rocker
Shallow arch hull
straight sides
webbing seat
Three layer polypropylene construction

Price/Value

The Discovery 119 is the most affordable solo option on this list. It’s great value for a tough river runner fishing craft.

Verdict

The Old Town Discovery 119 makes a great choice for the solo angler looking to get onto the water. It’s low cost and versatile design make it suitable for a variety of fishing applications. It’s best suited to river and stream fishing; and shorter fishing trips – as there isn’t much room for much camping gear.
Pros
  • Agile length for manoeuvrability
  • Rugged hull construction
  • Light weight
Cons
  • Short length makes less efficient for open water/long distance paddling

7. Argosy – Wenonah

7. Argosy – Wenonah
Taking over where the Old Town Discovery leaves us, Wenonah’s Argosy fills the gap for the solo fisherman looking to venture further and onto bigger waters.
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Efficient Solo Design

The Argosy offers a more efficient paddling experience with its 14’ 6” hull; better suited to distance travel. It’ll track straighter; meaning less switching paddle sides when using a single paddle; but also retains a lot of agility with its moderately high rocker. The slight tumblehome sides add considerably to this canoe’s secondary stability.

Features and Specifications

14’ 6” length
27” [email protected] gunwale
46lb weight
Moderate/high rocker
Tumblehome sides
webbing seat
Tuf-weave® Flex Core

Price/Value

The Argosy is an expensive solo canoe; but offers a great cone design from a renowned manufacturer.

Verdict

The Wenonah Argosy is well suited to a variety of river fishing applications; and will take to lakes quite well. Its Tuf-weave® Flex Core construction is Wenonah’s durable option for composite canoes and performs well; providing lightness and toughness.
Pros
  • A great river runner solo canoe designed to handle flat to white-water
  • Light weight, composite material construction
  • Room for plenty of fishing and camping gear
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not as rugged as other solo options on list

8. Champlain – Wenonah

8. Champlain – Wenonah
The Champlain is the ‘big rig’ of two person canoes – and comes into its own for those wilderness fishing trips encountering big waters and carrying lots of weight.
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Mastering the Big Three

Wenonah states that the Champlain stands apart when having to deal with aspects of the big three: big people; big loads; and big waters. This canoe is designed for those epic wilderness fishing adventures; and will carry the anglers and weeks’ worth of supplies into the unknown – and out again. At 18’ it’s long; and when well loaded it’ll cut through a lake and big waves like no other.

Features and Specifications

18’ length
5” [email protected] gunwale
57lb weight
Slight rocker
Shallow arched hull
yoke
moulded seats; adjustable front seat
Flex Core with Kevlar® construction

Price/Value

The Champlain is another high-priced canoe; but offers state-of-the-art design and manufacturing; as is the case with all Wenonah products. It’s worth the money if you’re planning many big trips to wilderness fishing destinations.

Verdict

The Wenonah Champlain is a well-designed, lightweight canoe for extended fishing expeditions on open water. This is the best choice when a lot of gear is going to be required; for other trips the Wenonah Spirit II may be the better choice.
Pros
  • Great load-bearing capacity
  • Efficient open water travelling design
  • Light weight construction
Cons
  • High bow and stern can catch wind when lightly loaded
  • Expensive

9. Square Stern 19’ – Grumman

9. Square Stern 19’ – Grumman
No list of fishing canoes can overlook the timeless appeal of aluminium crafts. Grumman is known for producing quality canoes – so we’ve included the ‘almost-a-boat’ 19’ square stern canoe for fishermen looking to travel further and carry more under motor power.
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Room for a Motor

The Grumman square stern provides a reinforced transom suitable for a 5hp engine to be fitted. This turns the large canoe into a great freighter that’ll carry three anglers and their gear all over the place in search of fish. For exploring fishermen wanting to get in and out of the bush quickly, this is a good choice.

Features and Specifications

19’ length
40 1/8” [email protected] gunwale
119lb weight
capacity 1005lbs
Enclosed flotation compartment
Ribs for stiffness
Three aluminium seats
aluminium construction
Rated up to 5hp motor

Price/Value

The Grumman is the most expensive option on this list but offers an affordable alternative to a boat. Its design also makes it more versatile than a fishing boat in shallow water and rivers.

Verdict

This is a tough and durable canoe that can be fitted out with a motor. It’s a good alternative to a boat and will get anglers and their gear into places that a boat could never reach.
Pros
  • Heavy-duty workhorse canoe
  • Aluminium construction is durable
  • Extremely stable fishing craft
  • Can fit a motor
Cons
  • Very heavy
  • Not versatile in small waters

10. Next – Old Town Canoes

10. Next – Old Town Canoes
The Next by Old Town offers a transition between a kayak and canoe, and provides a handy solo fishing craft.
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Cross-over Design Features

Having characteristics of both canoes and kayaks, the Next is an interesting alternative to the regular canoe. It’s well designed for use with a double paddle; and its flat bottom provides good initial stability – a useful feature for fishing. The poor secondary stability of this craft is offset by its tumblehome sides, allowing the craft to lean further before taking on water. Its low profile makes it less prone to being pushed by the wind.

Features and Specifications

13’ length
29” [email protected] gunwale
59lb weight
minimum rocker
Flat bottom
Pronounced tumblehome sides
Removable cushioned seat
Asymmetrical hull design places pivot point below paddler

Price/Value

The Old Town Next is relatively affordable for a solo fishing canoe. It offers a unique blend of features for the price.

Verdict

It's an interesting approach to canoe design and offers several features that make it a good fishing canoe. Its low profile on the water liken it more to a kayak than canoe; and reduce the forces of wind upon the craft. The flat bottom also offers good initial stability for fighting fish and casting baits.
Pros
  • Low profile minimises effects of wind
  • Minimal rocker enables straight tracking
  • Good design for double paddling
Cons
  • May prove ‘tippy’ due to flat sides

Criteria for Evaluation

Specificity of Design

While there are many canoes that are well designed all-rounders; there are few quality canoes that aren’t designed for anything in particular. For this reason, the final list placed importance on those canoes best suited to particular applications – be that solo fishing; solo fishing and expedition; tandem fishing; or tandem fishing and expedition. Other notably different, but well designed; options were also included to cover the emerging pack canoe trend; as well as motor-suitable crafts.

Construction Material

Many low cost alternatives exist in the fishing canoe market, but these do not live up to expectation in regard to durability and toughness. The least specialised hull construction in the above list is that of the Old Town Saranac, which covers the low-cost day tripper canoe. Although this craft offers many features not present in others on the list, its construction does not stand up to the quality of the others. It is still a reliable canoe, but has none of the specialisation of the others.

Flex Core with Kevlar® construction, as found in the Wenonah canoes on this list, is a less durable hull option than some materials – however it’s strength, stiffness and light weight set it apart for expedition travel on lakes and in areas where portaging is frequent.

Three layer polyethylene hulls, as found in Old Town and Mad River canoes, is a superb material for hard work in abrasive conditions, as commonly found in rivers and streams. This hull material is a great choice where knocks and scrapes are an inevitable part of a day on the water.

Stability

Stability is important for all canoes, but for fishing especially it should be favoured. A stable craft – with good primary and secondary stability – enables anglers to move about without fear of capsizing. Fishing offers a unique set of circumstances in that being able to stand in the canoe is of great advantage. Therefore a craft that can accommodate this is fantastic. Where possible, canoes were chosen that provided a suitable degree of primary and secondary stability so that an angler can stand and move about, dealing with sudden movements and pulling forces imparted by hooked fish – without the canoe suddenly and catastrophically unbalancing.

Fishing Canoes Maintenance Tips

Just like everything else you spend your money on, your fishing canoe is an investment you want to keep for some time before you need to buy a new one. The best way to ensure that the canoe remains in the best condition is to maintain it well. While most people who use fishing canoes may know a few tips here and there on how to maintain theirs, in this article, we have collected all these tips and put them together.

The good thing about a fishing canoe is that it is not very difficult to maintain if a few things are considered in advance. The issues you will need to think about, regarding maintenance, include proper storage, transportation and above all, use.

Read the owner’s manual

The people who manufacture your fishing canoe know their story; possibly the reason why you have trusted than enough to buy one. Reading the manual helps you obtain the highest satisfaction from your fishing canoe. You also want to ensure that you are not doing things that will void your warranty.

Understand the material

The first thing you will need to do is to understand the material from which your fishing canoe is made. This is important because different types of materials should be maintained in different ways. Some of the popular materials used in making fishing canoes include wood, Royalex, fiberglass, and aluminum. All these materials respond differently to the elements.

cleaning a fishing canoe

Canoes made from wood are affected by the elements more than those made from other materials such as plastic and aluminum. These types of canoes need to be protected with a layer of water resistant material such as varnish or paint. Those made from composite materials and fiberglass are generally hard on the outer layer but may need to be repaired by someone qualified to do so, if they happen to get damaged.

Store the canoe properly

It doesn’t matter whether you are storing the canoe for months or you are just putting it away to use it the next day, you will need to dry it first. It is essential to ensure that no water remains in any parts of the canoe by turning it upside down and then raising it off the ground. It’s important to make sure the canoe is never placed in direct sunlight, even when you’re storing it for just a short period of time.

If you’re planning to store the finishing canoe for extended periods of time, it should always be covered if not stored inside a garage. A big canvas over the canoe usually does the job. However, always ensure that there is an abundant circulation of air. If the air doesn’t circulate properly, this could lead to mold growth. Mold doesn’t look good on any material, especially wood.

The canoe should always sit in a manner which is balanced while in storage. Storing it on one side for long periods of time will warp the canoe. No matter how badly you need space, never put anything on top of the canoe as this could also compromise the shape of the vessel.

Clean regularly

Always remember to wash you fishing canoe after using it in salt water or any other water that could be polluted. Every time you use the canoe, it attracts dirt and if the dirt is left to accumulate it starts attraction moisture. Moisture is an enemy of your fishing canoe. Cleaning the canoe does not just refer to the outside; you will have to remove the dirt which accumulates inside, on the seats and any other crevices in the canoe.

When washing the exterior of the canoe, use a mild soap and clean water. Ensure that the boat has dried properly before you store it away.

Transporting the canoe

One of the most important things you have to plan properly is the transportation of your fishing canoe. If this is not done properly or the canoe is dragged on the ground, it could compromise the integrity of the hull and leave it with holes.

transporting canoes

Whether you are transporting your fishing canoe using a boat, car or trailer, the most important thing is that this should be planned in advance. The easiest way to carry the canoe is mostly in a big van where you can securely put it at the back. If you have a smaller car, you can carry the fishing canoe on top of the car using roof racks. Just ensure that you buy the right racks for the car you have as this can be a little complicated. Your car owner’s manual will tell you which one you should get for your vehicle.

If you are planning to carry more than one fishing canoe at one time, a trailer could be your best option. The benefit of having a trailer is that it can also work as a place to store the canoes at home. Those with a little more money can speak to their local manufacturer of trailers; they are mostly willing to custom make them in such a manner that the canoe will be balanced when sitting on the trailer, whether during traveling of as a storage facility.  For short distances, you can use a trolley. These two wheeled trolleys can also be pulled on a bicycle.

Check the hull for damage

It’s important to ensure that the integrity of the hull is maintained. Depending on the material from which your canoe is made, you may discover that long term storage can get the hull damaged. Most of the time, a depressed hull can be returned to its original shape by heat. Taking it and putting it in direct sunlight may be all you need to return the canoe to its original shape.  As you can see from the tips above, looking after a fishing canoe is not hard. Making sure the canoe is in the best condition will ensure that every fishing trip is not only great but safe too.

 

FAQs

Should I buy the most expensive canoe?

The simple answer is ‘no’. The most expensive canoes on this list are highly specialised crafts that offer unique advantages to wilderness fishing and expedition style trips. They are fantastic crafts to paddle and to fish from; yet less expensive crafts offer a high quality fishing craft as well. By seriously considering the questions listed at the start of this review, and the design features of canoes, it will be easier to determine whether or not to spend a lot of money on a craft or save some cash for a few more lures!

How important is hull design in a fishing canoe?

Hull design makes the difference between an enjoyable day on the water and a constant battle. It goes without saying that, if you spend all of your time re-positioning the canoe or paddling to your destination – you aren’t going to get much fishing time in! Canoes are designed to perform best in certain situations, and choosing the right combination of features will set you up with a craft that compliments your fishing experience; not competes with it.

Are moulded seats more comfortable?

In a lot of circumstances, the most comfortable canoe seats are webbing ones. This seat provides more give than a hard plastic one while allowing plenty of air flow to keep from getting sweaty. A symptom of moulded plastic seats is prickly heat – the result of inadequate air flow and sustained pressure from sitting. Cushioned seats alleviate some pressure but can still cause sweating in hot weather.

Back rests are a personal preference, but pro paddlers commonly agree that if you’re using the back rest you’re not paddling efficiently. Back rests also tend to get in the way while portaging, and add to the weight of the canoe.

A benefit of moulded seats is that they help centre the angler in the canoe when sitting; which does make paddling more effective and make sitting more comfortable.

How do I maintain my canoe?

In all honesty, fishing canoes are very easy to look after. There’s a minimum of moving parts or corrodible components; so very little maintenance is required. It’s important to give your canoe a wash, both inside and out, when returning from a fishing trip. This removes and grime, fish slime or blood, and any salt residue if you’ve been fishing in saltwater. Simple cleaning will ensure that your canoe continues to perform optimally.

Surprisingly; of the list above; the Flex Core with Kevlar® hulls of Wenonah canoes are easiest to perform minor repairs at home. Heavy scratching; gouges and even small holes can be repaired with fibreglass cloth and epoxy resin – all of which are easily obtainable for the home handyman.

Polyethylene hulls are easy to repair if damaged, and an experienced plastic welder will quickly patch them up. The difficulty for the home repairer is sourcing the correct polyethylene that will suitably bond with that of the canoe.

Aluminium hulls, like that of the Grumman, require specialise aluminium welding equipment to repair – making it the most specialised hull to repair. However, aluminium offers great strength and abrasion resistance and should stand up to years of fishing.

The Final Choice

Fishing canoes offer the ultimate stealth craft capable of getting anglers as far as they can dream of travelling. For this reason they will always occupy their place as a valuable fishing craft. With changing attitudes towards waterways and wild places, the canoe may again increase in popularity as the chosen craft for anglers wanting to experience the quiet side of fishing and back country travel.

Canoes offer many features that kayaks can’t accommodate, and get places that motorized boats can’t. Choosing the right type of canoe for your favourite type of fishing is likely to ensure that you find waters and fish that have seen few people before – always a bonus for landing that trophy!