Beginner looking for a canoe

Dear Board,

I am a diehard fisherman who no longer has a powerboat and I’m growing tired of wade fishing.

I am looking for a canoe that can be used mostly on lakes with occasional trips on rivers and streams that are relatively slow moving but rocky.

The canoe will be used in tandem, but I also want something that can be used solo on occasion. For lakes, my intention is to mount an electric trolling motor regardless of whether the boat is used tandem or solo. On creeks and rivers the paddles will probably be the only power.

I am looking for recommendations for a canoe that will work for myself and my fiance. To qualify things I’m a big dude at 6’5" and 325 pounds and my fiance is much less than half my size.

I know there is no perfect one sized fits all canoe, but I appreciate any comments or suggestions as to brands and models to seek out and try or avoid as I am novice when it comes to canoes.

Just keep in mind that fishing is the primary goal for both myself and my fiance. We aren’t looking to explore or tour.

Thank you,

Tim Murphy

Harrisburg, PA

Wenonah catalog
The Wenonah catalog is a good primer on canoe design.

Basically, longer is better for stability, speed, and capacity. Likewise, it explains initial vs final stability. For fishing, both are nice.

If you wanted to spend a lot of cash, I think a Souris River Quetico 18.5 would be good, as would a Wenonah Champlain, or Clipper Mackenzie.

Less expensive though a bit heavier would be something like an Old Town Tripper (lots available used)

Best value, if you can handle the aesthetics, might be an 18’ Grumman (again - used is the way to go for these).

There are a variety of poly boats which are heavier still, and again less expensive. I don’t like them, because I portage a lot, and they are heavy. They do tend to be stable and tough though. The Old Town Discovery series, Novacraft SP3, and Mad Rivers are all good. Coleman/Pelican canoes are really horrible, but for fishing, and not going anywhere, I suppose the bigger ones would meet your needs of stability and capacity.

Many people advise to test-paddle, and if you are buying new it is good advice. If you can get a Grumman or Discovery for $400, just buy it and if you don’t like it, sell it again.

go up to Blue Mountain Outfitters
and demo lots of boats… You will learn more by trying than reading posts

You are in a good place!

john boat
15 ft john boat with tolling motor. Put oars on it for the lake.

Ryan L.

Square stern
Most of the major OEMs have square stern designs that are perfect for using with a small outboard motor. Square stern canoes are easier and more efficient to paddle than john boats. So happens that those square stern canoes are designed mainly for fishing and hunting, so they have lots of stability and carry lots of weight.

Take the drive
Go over to BMO see what they have.

Befor you buy run over to cabelas and look at their square back canoes.

They had aluminum canoes for a decent price.

Alot of people dont like metal boats but you cant hurt them by letting them outside chained up to a tree.

BMO is just up Rt.15 from you.What…3 miles off of I-81.

just thinking about your weight at 350

– Last Updated: Jun-25-11 10:12 PM EST –

...... you are a big guy and my thought was that you may want to think about installing a seat about 6" to even 8" forward of the factory located stern seat ... that may also require to move a thwart forward the same amount ... just a thought I figured might be worth while putting out there for you and some others to elaborate on pro or con .

It's the ballance between you and wife I'm thinking about , plus you'll have a bit wider station to paddle from and sit at . The slight extra width at the bit more forward paddling station doesn't seem like it will have any adverse affects for your paddling reach to either side , probably even be beneficial to you being tall and big guy .

As for a great river canoe , nice on large open reservoir too , go look at the Old Town Expedition 169 at Bass Pro and see what you think ... I already know what I think .

Love the Susquehanna Smallies , there's a great spot right near where the Juniata comes in , this spot comes in just on the other side of the bridge from the Juniata ... also email for another fine canoe (and great fish) spot real close to that one .

But fair is fair and you have to trade good spot locations with me if mine are news to you . The diehard fisherman thing you mentioned we have shared in common , so we might have something worthwhile to trade .

My lady runs 100% of the time with me in the canoe now , she's a true diehard fisher-woman now and loves every minute of it , and she has gotten real good at it too , I've been a tough teacher (but I think she'll tell you it was worth it ??) , and she's paid her dues and now reaping the rewards .


– Last Updated: Jun-26-11 10:11 AM EST –

Dear Board,

I'm sure the best thing to do is to take the suggestion made by kayakmedic and some others and pick a day to head to Blue Mountain Outdoors and try some boats out.

One canoe they have in stock that I am considering is the Wenonah Kingfisher, so if anyone has any experience with that model I'd enjoy hearing about it.

Pilotwingz I'd like to help you out but I've soured on the Susquehanna close to Harrisburg. The fishing just isn't anything close to what it used to be. If you are interested in hearing about options on the West Branch or North Branch of the Susky I've spent a lot more time on them.

For right now I'm thinking of a canoe so that I can spend more time on some smaller streams like the Conodoguinet, and Swatara and Sherman's Creek as well as some of the local lakes.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

those are correct …

– Last Updated: Jun-26-11 2:57 PM EST –

....... I know where Swarta runs but have not been on it . Having to come up from MD. it's been more than enough to concentrate time and efforts in Sherms , Cono. , Juniata in spring ... for the the 5 miles of the main channal Susky above the bridge at Juniata (fall low waters and #3 Mepps Anglie dropped in to tickle the rock ridges (running parallel again) below on a drift - let it get in there slow and deep , the drift is fast but the electric motor you intend will get you back upstream to repeat the drifts) .

Cono. will warm at the mouth to 53F. when Sherms is still solid 49F. ... it is possible to stay within the 1st few hundred feet upstream of the bridge and take one after the other for hours at a time right when it hits 53F. ... the rock ledges under the surface there run parallel w/the creek , the high terrain side of the creek there is best 1/2 , when there is floatsum debris built up at the bridge in spring every float by it pulls out a couple/few . I once saw the largest river Smallie ever swim right under the boat in there ... at least two boot lengths long (I wear 12's) !!!

Work Sherms from the mouth to the fast water , and if you can find the way up the step there is a long deep open calm right up there , people have walked to it by land so there must be a way to access with a canoe ... we've pushed up through the step and rapid w/a Jon and Jet a few times when water was up enough ... yes , Sherms , if you know , no more need be said .

I don't rightly recall what that little side cut around the island is called right there just above the Juni. and bridge , but it runs from the main Susky up farther and back into the main Susky at the bridge . It is accessable right off 11/15 , great place for a canoe ... see it on the map , go do it if you haven't , it's a firecracker when it's on .

Spring and Fall are when we will always go ... don't really know how summer works up there , but probably like all other mountain rivers for Smallies . What I like about PA is the consistency of 20"-21" Smallies .