Anchors for canoes

I am planning on using my 15’ Old Town canoe for fishing in the local ponds here in Delaware; they’re generally shallow and relatively calm.

How heavy does an anchor have to be to hold the canoe in place? I’m thinking of getting a 10# weight from a barbell set. Does that sound adequate?

Sounds good and cheap.

– Last Updated: Mar-22-12 11:54 AM EST –

You might consider trading some weight for some "grab", though at additional cost:

The "Fishing" forum might be a good place to ask.

10# not needed
The big problem with heavy anchors in a canoe is getting them into and out of the water. You can’t just reach over the side and drop them. and when your raise them and they get to the side of the canoe, you must lean out of the canoe to keep them from scraping up the side of the canoe.

10# in a pond is overkill. A 3# folding anchor will do just fine. The design of the flukes is more important than the weight.

Oak Orchard Canoe in Waterport NY sells a nice folding canoe anchor with 4 flukes that has served my son and i for over 20 years and Marc fishes a lot. Not much weight and its easy to hold out from the canoe and ease into the water.


Depends on your wind.
I use one of the 8lb folding anchors like tktoo linked in his post. It works pretty good until a really stiff wind comes up. Then it will easily drag along a sandy/weedy bottom.

Lifting an anchor into the boat is like anything else - keep your head between the rails, and it’s just a matter of how much debris came up with the anchor and how strong your back and arms are…

Whats the bottom like?

– Last Updated: Mar-22-12 11:02 PM EST –

I used to pick up a rock to use, and make the connection between the anchor line and anchor with something I could break with force I could muster from the boat.

I once found a kayak at a popular fishing spot on the Potomac. It bubbled up from the bottom, all covered with slime. It was set up for fishing, and it was firmly tethered to the bottom by an anchor line three of us could not bust loose. It is possible the boat came down river in a flood and the anchor just happened to jam. Another possibility is somebody was fishing, got their anchor jammed and either didn't have a knife and swam for it or somehow got separated from the boat while trying to cut loose the anchor.

Where I was fishing, there was all kinds of big rocks and other crud on the bottom, and it was easy to snag an anchor. I wanted to be able to break the anchor off and not have to cut my anchor line at the boat end. I suggest a brick with the holes in it. Rig a halter from low-strength twine. Connect anchor line to the halter. Now, I quit fishing, and I don't worry about anchors.


Soft Weight
Pour 5 pounds of lead shot into a stuff sack and tie off the top then attach to a rope. It works well and doesn’t make noise or roll around on the bottom of the boat. If you live near a dive shop a 5 lb SOFT dive weight is even better. It’s just lead shot in a heavy duty black mesh rectangle. Smaller than a paper back book and it is more open so it drys faster than the stuff sack.

5 lb. Dumbell Plenty
My pal Bryan Mason who fishes the Texas Coast often and often in his Wenonah Champlain and Swift Shearwater taught me to rig a small sailing pully on the bow and use a cam cleat on the portage yoke or nearest thwart.

This rig is very simple very handy and the 5 lb dumbell holds a full size tandem in any conditions you want to be anchored it. The rubber covered dumbell doesn’t snag and is quite and easy on your hull. The muddy mucky anchor never comes into your boat. You never even notice the cleat and pully when not in use. If you’d like to shoot me an email I can send you a photo this weekend.


Mushroom or River
I think an 8-10 lb mushroom anchor should work fine as long there isn’t a lot of wind or a strong current. If you’re going to have to deal with either of those then a river anchor is a bit better.

Both the mushroom and river anchors have the advantage of no sharp edges. I don’t think I’d want a sharp object in the bottom of my canoe, not because I’m worried about the skin of the canoe being punctured, but because I’d be worried about my knees, legs or feet getting sliced.

Another vote for 5 pounds

– Last Updated: Mar-26-12 8:34 PM EST –

Ever since I was a little kid I've often fished from a 12-foot aluminum jonboat, and the only anchor ever used with that boat was an 8-pound mushroom style. Not once did the wind ever cause the anchor to drag. Therefore I am certain that 8 pounds is plenty and that 5 pounds is adequate. Don't carry more stuff than you have to.

Canoe anchor
Nylon Basketball net - $3.00

Lace one end with para-cord and cinch closed (tie a knot)

Lace the other end with para-cord allowing slack for opening and thread a spring loaded cord lock on. Tie loose ends together with a simple over-hand knot so the cord lock cannot come off.

Use a cheap aluminum carabeener (about $1.00) to connect to your anchor line.

Booztalkin’ has a good idea with a breakable cord section (fusible link). If desired tie a section of breakable cord to the para-cord then the ‘beener connected to the anchor line.

At your destination fill the net with appropriate amount (weight) of rocks.

If in a sandy environment, a burlap or cloth sack filled with sand and put in the net does the same thing.

Advantage: Do not have to carry (lug) additional weight to and from. Also if you need to “break-off” the cost is only 3 or 4 bucks.

My buddies and I adopted this method for BWCA trips where weight carried is a big factor.