Bell Alaskan or Wenonah Spirit II

Also considering an Old Town Tripper. Wondering which canoe would be the better choice for fishing on class 1-2 rivers as well as taking a retriever out duck hunting once in a while.



I assume you mean the Yellowstone
tandem, 15’ 6" long. It could do the job, though it has less capacity than either the Tripper or the Spirit II. I personally would go with the Yellowstone, as it will be easier to manage solo. (I have soloed a Tripper a lot.)

You should consider how active your dog is also. If he is a real “go-er” (nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?) then a larger, more stable boat may be preferable.

For the large boats, consider taking up poling. You could get up and down stream in shallower rivers easier than paddling solo… or even tandem.

Actually meant the Alaskan.

– Last Updated: Feb-26-07 5:51 AM EST –

I was thinking about the 17 foot Bell Alaskan. I believe the Alaskan was designed by Cliff Jacobson, so I thought it might have more glide built in than the tripper, but I am strickly guessing. I am still looking hard at the tripper because I have been in one before and found it super stable. ( like the old Dsico 158 I had) The Wenonah was reccomended also, I just have zero experience with it. Is the quality of Old Town as good as it was before they were bought up? I am not concerned with using this canoe for solo paddling, I have a MR freedom solo and an Appalachian, this would be the fishing platform and dog canoeing boat.

Nice Looking Boat
Have some friends that have one, but don’t know if they have ever paddled it solo. Seems to turn like a shorter boat than 17’. They both fish for trout and smallies, mostly on rivers, and use it for a fishing platform. I bet I would like the boat myself, but I no longer feel compelled enough by a hull that I’m willing to lug 70lbs on my back to get it to and from the water! Here’s a pic of theirs, and I’ll e-mail them and tell them to “Jump in” with their thoughts. WW

Great looking canoe from the photos. I look forward to hearing their opinions on the Alaskan


Spirit II…
was my choice for a tandem tourer in Royalex for all types of water where the fishies like to hang out. It’s a good hull- in any lay-up. I don’t think you can go wrong. Its secondary stability is very good and if you’re with a dog, that might work more to your advantage especially when another critter appears.

Bell Alaskan
Cliff jacobson is a wonderful racontour and a stupendous far north guide and paddler, but David Yost designed the Alaskan with Cliff’s verbal input. Why these myths?

I Guess Since Cliff Jacobson…
…has become an icon to canoeing, he gets a little “Extra credit” for some things, huh? Not to sabotage DetDan’s thread, but I’m curious CE Wilson; do you know anything about the SWEET boat in this picture? Best boats I’ve paddled to date are the Placid Spitfire and Rapidfire. I REALLY want one of those new Wildfires in that beautifull blue color! WW

Those boats
Well, thanks to KAS Transpoort we ship the things all over the nation. Problem is, our paddlers refuse to stay put, so cannot say where they came from, but I’ll go through our production books tomorrow and try to figure - a wine Rapid and a Blue Spit - how hard can it be?

Of course, we know the Rapid is faster - forget the extra three feet - it’s red!

We’re flanging the WildFire mold next week, so will be able to infuse soon.


Love Those Placid Canoes!

– Last Updated: Feb-28-07 2:51 AM EST –

Actually, those both belong to my friend, McWood, here on BEST BOATS I'VE EVER PADDLED, and by far the most beautifully and skillfully "Finished" trim and hull! I want a Rapidfire, a Wildfire, and a Spitfire (I'm not selfish, I'd give my wife the Spitfire) Unfortunately, I feel I've been single handedly supporting the medical community in S.E. MO the last few years, and I'm going to have to wait another year or so. You certainly build a wonderfull boat! WW

All Completely Different Canoes
Not trying to be critical, but this thread wanders all over the place.

You start by comparing a Wenonah and a Bell, the Bell OBVIOUSLY a better river canoe and the Wenonah OBVIOUSLY a flatwater canoe…

Then you bring in Spitfires, Wildfires, whatever these beautiful canoes are. BEAUTIFUL canoes like these wouldn’t last being BASHED against rocks like you could the Bell…

Anyway, just my opinion. Hulls are like women - you get the thin, fragile ones; the big, tough ones; many in-between; and each with a different personality. By the way, some of these smaller canoes weren’t designed for the bigger guys who like to paddle them…

Both the Bell Alaskan and the We-no-nah Spirit are touring canoes with about the same capacity. The Alaskan is indeed more (much more I think) oriented to river touring than the Spirit. But the Spirit is quite a versatile touring canoe too, not what I would call a ‘flatwater’ canoe.

Sorry DetDan
Didn’t mean to sway your thread towards solo canoes, just recognized the builder of some fine boats. WW

No sweat
I have to say, when I went to the link and looked at the Alaskan, I also looked at the other canoes and thought the same thing; wow, what beautiful boats. I have even started thinking about skipping the more practical fishing boat for one of those Placid canoes. Any and all canoe talk is A-O-K with me,

Thanks Dan

Yeah You’re Correct
I was thinking of the larger Wenonah Boundary Waters canoes.

The Spirit is more versatile.

the tripper

– Last Updated: Feb-28-07 6:59 PM EST –

I haven't heard from anyone with a Old Town tripper. I know it is a ledgendary canoe, but has anyone paddled a tripper and a Bell Alaskan? Thanks for the replys, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, I just want the tax refund to go to a canoe I'll have for a while.

Tripper vs Alaskan vs Spirit II
The Tripper is a wonderful boat when you are going with a strong current and do not have to carry the canoe at all. It is HEAVY, and it is SLOW. It will carry a ton of stuff, it will survive rough water and you can paddle it almost anywhere. So will the other two.

If your duck hunting involves paddling more than 1/4 mile it finishes dead last in a three way comparison. With just you and a dog, it will be a beast to handle in any wind; the deep hull and high ends are all wind catchers.

The Royalex Spirit is the easiest paddling of the three, the Alaskan splits the difference between the other two. A composite Spirit is in a different league from the other two in Royalex, efficiency wise and weight wise.

If your dog works as a sleddog and can help drag a Tripper, the 80+ pounds would not be as much of a problem.


Had to laugh
One of the outfitters I do business has some Trippers, and some of the staff have done a bit of surgery on the name by removing the “T”. Ripper seemed to fit very well.

Bombproof but heeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaavvvvvy.

I just picked up the Bell alaskan from BMO. It is a beautiful boat that’s finished very nicely. I’ll let you know how well it paddles after a little time in the canoe. Thanks for all the help and advice


My take
The Tripper is much bigger, more stable, and more capable in waves/rapids then the Alaskan.

From my limited time in an Alaskan, I liked it, but it is a very different animal to something like a tripper or prospector. It has a much lower sheer-line.

Either would be fine for class 1-2. If you don’t plan on doing more (heavy loads+big waves), and don’t need the bit of extra stability of the tripper, the alaskan will be lighter, faster and less effected by wind.

I personally prefer the Tripper, but that’s likely just because I am used to the bigger boats.