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For some, fishing is a way of life. If you’re among this group, or even if you’re just a hobbyist, then you might be interested in the unique experiences offered by a fishing canoe. A canoe is a great way to slow things down, and an accessible way for anyone to head out on the water. In this article, we’re checking out the best fishing canoes on the market.
In this section, we’re outlining the best fishing canoe. Of course, we know that the best fishing canoe for one person may not be the best for others. So we’ve included plenty of variety on this list. Canoes come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s something for every angler here.
Our top pick is the Old Town Discovery Solo Sportsman. Simply put, this canoe is perfectly designed for fishing purposes. There are so many things we can say about it, so let’s just list them off:
First, it only weighs 56 pounds, this makes it highly portable, and easy to carry from spot to spot. This also gives it that agility to drift across the water, easily moving to your ideal fishing locales. And its wide base keeps it quite stable overall.
Its lightweight nature doesn’t make it any less rugged though. It sports 3-layer hull construction of closed-cell foam surrounded by layers of high-density polyethylene.
It is also loaded with features specifically geared toward fishing. It has two flush-mounted rod-holders, built-in cup-holders, behind-the-seat storage, and extra armrest storage. It even comes with a custom tackle box!
Comfort-wise, it has a contoured, thermoformed, adjustable kayak-style seat. It also sports padded armrests and adjustable foot braces.
Basically, this is the perfect canoe for solo angling. It’s tricked out with everything you need to hit the water in comfort and style. It’s definitely a premium option, but we think it is well worth it.
Portable, agile, and stable – great handling and smooth control.
Here’s another canoe from Old Town. If you can’t tell from our praise for the canoe directly above, we really like their canoes.
This one is a tandem option, and is suitable if you are looking to fish with friends, family, or your kids.
It’s a long, stable, rugged canoe, designed for anything from fishing to hunting to canoe trips. It is made from extremely durable three-layer polyethylene, and has traditional nylon web seats which are quite comfortable.
This is an all-around solid, traditional canoe design. It cuts through the water very well, which makes it surprisingly agile for such a big canoe. Great for fishing with others!
Solid, durable, and agile canoe design.
Three-layer polyethylene design.
Stylish camo finish.
Comfortable webbed nylon seats.
No rod holders.
More of a jack-of-all trades canoe than a specifically designed fishing canoe.
Next up we have the Pelican Explorer. This is a well-designed fishing canoe that was specifically designed for tandem fishing trips.
This canoe was built above-all to be a comfortable ride. At 97 cm in width, it offers extra stability for an easy ride and all-day trips. It seats 3 people quite comfortably, although it only sports two back-rested seats.
It is packed with features to make it the ideal fishing vessel. Two wide, comfortable seats with sturdy backrests that fold down if needed. It also has vertical rod-holders, and a built-in cooler right in the center.
Overall, it’s a well-made, durable, and sturdy fishing canoe that is packed with features for function and relaxation.
The Lifetime Kodiak is the best canoe for people on a budget. This is a quality fishing canoe at an affordable price. It might not be the most advanced canoe, but it has the features that make it ideal for anglers.
The main reason for its affordability is its blow-molded, high-density polyethylene design. And while this may not be the most agile canoe material, it is highly durable, and even rated for use with an electric motor.
Fishing-wise, this thing is clearly geared toward the serious angler. It has a wide, flat base for extra stability, and three ergonomically molded seats. It also has centralized rod holders, and storage options at the rear.
Overall, while it’s not the most premium canoe on the market, it has all the features you need for a day on the water.
Fishing Features: Comfortable seats, rod holders, and storage options.
Wide base for extra stability and all-day relaxation.
Extra durable with high-density polyethylene material.
The Wenonah Backwater is a great choice if you’re looking for a square stern to attach a motor. Of course, adding a motor to a canoe gives you the best of both worlds! While many canoes can attach a motor, it definitely makes more sense to buy one specifically designed for the task.
This canoe has a square stern for easy attachment, and it also has an extremely stable design to handle the increased speed. The base is wide and flat, at over 104 cm at its widest point. Wenonah recommends a small motor in the 2-3 hp range.
Aside from that, it’s simply a capable, durable canoe. Comfortable webbed nylon seats, and extra interior space for added leg room and adjustments. There is ample storage space in the front and back, and a flat bottom for tackle boxes and coolers.
But these are extremely high-quality canoes, so don’t expect them to come cheap. It’s a premium option that combines the best of both worlds. Whether or not you attach a motor, it’s a durable, fast, and stable canoe that is suitable for fishing, hunting, or general recreation.
Square stern for designed motor attachment.
Can support a motor up to 3 hp.
Very stable with 104 cm gunwale width.
Extremely high-quality design – extra durability.
Quite heavy & not very portable – not ideal for portaging.
Here’s another quality option from one of the top premium canoe manufacturers – Wenonah. This is a lightweight, highly maneuverable solo canoe that is specifically designed for fishing and recreation.
Simply put, this is about as agile and maneuverable as fishing canoes get. It’s designed for use with traditional paddles or double-bladed kayak paddles. It has an extra light-weight hull and an aerodynamic design to cut through the water with ease. It even has a foot-controlled rudder for even more maneuverability.
Wenonah offers a high-degree of customization with their canoes, and you can really gear this out for fishing with rod-holders, storage trays, and more. They’ll build to your exact standards.
Overall, if you like to fish, but aren’t keen on sacrificing speed and agility, then this is for you. If you’re an active fisherman who likes to cycle through spots, this one will get you where you need to go.
And it’s made to exacting standard in Minnesota (where they know a thing or two about lakes).
Most agile fishing canoe on our list by far.
Lightweight design with foot-controlled rudder.
Upright seat is very comfortable and also suitable for double-bladed paddle.
If you want a canoe, and aren’t interested in anything fancy, then the Golden Hawk Traditional is for you. It has “Traditional” right in the name, so it’s not trying to pull any punches with who they designed this canoe for.
The Golden Hawk Traditional draws inspiration for its design from early settlers and explorers, and fuses this with certain aspects of modern design. If you’re of the belief that a canoe doesn’t need to be fancy, then you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Each canoe is custom built, and can be built for soloing or tandem. It’s a classic wood design, with great curves to cut through water, and traditional wooden seats. You can use it for fishing, portaging, or just exploring!
A classic canoe for a classic purpose, and will appeal to traditionalists everywhere.
Let’s round out our list with a unique trend in modern canoes – the inflatable canoe. Inflatable canoes offer the obvious advantages of increased portability, but they are surprisingly functional and durable as well.
We particularly like this inflatable canoe from Soar. It has 3 air chambers and is quick and easy to fill. Performance-wise, it’s quite impressive for an inflatable canoe. It is small and maneuverable, with an impressively aerodynamic design considering its limitations.
The seats are comfortable, and you can modify it for canoe or kayak seating options. It is just as functional with a single-blade or double-bladed paddle. It’s great for reaching low-water areas as an angler.
Overall, it’s one of the more impressive inflatable canoes out there. It’s lightweight at only 52 lbs., and easy to pack up and transport. If you want to get into fishing but are limited by your portability options, then this canoe might be perfect for you.
Very lightweight and portable.
Durable design and heavily resistant to punctures.
Can be used as a kayak or a canoe.
Surprisingly agile and aerodynamic for an inflatable.
Pretty expensive for an inflatable.
Inflatable canoes are less aerodynamic and maneuverable due to their inherent design features.
Fishing Canoe Buyer’s Guide
Before we wrap up this article, let’s get into a buyer’s guide to answer all the questions you may have about fishing canoes. Let’s start with the basics:
What is a Fishing Canoe?
For the most part, canoes which are advertised as fishing canoes will sport three main features – stability, comfort, and fishing accessories.
Stability is considered a top priority in fishing canoes, as you are often sitting for long periods in one spot. Many of the above canoes utilize a wide and flat base for achieving this stability. These features are paired with comfort, which starts with a comfortable seat. Many options have seats with included backrests, and ergonomically molded designs.
A quality fishing canoe is also decked out with many features designed to facilitate the experience. Fishing rod holders, built-in storage compartments, built-in cupholders and coolers, and ample space for tackle boxes and supplies.
All of the above features come together to make a canoe that is suitable for fishing. But the most important feature is whether or not the canoe meets your usage requirements, and we’ll address this issue next.
Fishing Canoe Buying Guide Factors
Now that we’ve examined our favorite fishing canoes, you might be wondering how to make a selection from all this variety. In this section, we’ll give you the top factors to consider in choosing your ideal fishing canoe:
Size (Beam, Depth, Length)
The first factor you should consider is size and dimensions. The size of a canoe impacts performance in so many ways. Generally, you should look at length of the canoe, width of the canoe, and depth.
There are many factors which influence performance, but generally speaking, bigger canoes will be more stable. This is especially true with wider canoes that have flatter bases. Of course, there is a trade-off, as bigger canoes also tend to be less agile and maneuverable.
Bigger canoes also come with the obvious advantage of being able to fit more people. Longer canoes have more seats and a higher weight capacity, which is ideal if you aren’t looking for a solo fishing experience.
Note that this will also have a big impact on portability. Smaller canoes are lighter, which means they can be more easily transported from place to place.
All things consider, size and dimensions will have a big impact on canoe performance, and whether or not the canoe will facilitate your ideal fishing experience.
Of course, a fishing canoe should be decked out in features which make it more accessible for the average angler. These features include rod-holders, cup-holders, coolers, and extra space for tackle box storage and supplies. Pay attention to these features when sifting through fishing canoes.
These features do tend to add more weight to the canoe and detract from maneuverability and portability, but they also add an extra level of convenience that most anglers would prefer.
This was briefly touched on above, but it’s such an important feature of a fishing canoe that it bears its own section. Stability might be the most important feature to look for in a fishing canoe. This is because so much of fishing is simply sitting place, adjusting your seating position, and wanting to stay as still as possible.
Stability is mostly achieved with a wide, flat base. Pay attention to the gunwale width, which is the width across at the widest point. Also make note of the flatness of the base. A flat base is considered less ideal for speed, but offers much more stability.
Comfortability (Seats and Legroom)
Finally, we have comfort! Comfort of a canoe is highly dependent on the quality of its seats. The main consideration is whether a seat has a backrest. This makes a big difference for all day use, especially if you’re fishing. The design of the seat is important as well, with various moldings, padding, back supports, etc.
Aside from that, you should look for ample leg space between each seat, so that you can stretch out for extended stays.
Thanks for reading our guide to the best fishing canoes. Our personal favorite is the Old Town Discovery Solo canoe. We think it has everything an angler needs. Fast, portable, stable, and decked out with fishing accessories!
Then again, we want you to make the best choice for yourself. Read through our options, and use our buyer’s guide to pick the canoe that best fits your needs. Happy fishing!