Big lake canoe for fishing and family camping

Looking for a canoe big enough for two to fish from, and carry three on a camping trip. It may see some bigger lakes, so stability and seaworthiness are important. I want to be able to add a motor to it as well, so I’m trying to decide whether to get a big, wide square stern or a long touring canoe.

Option 1 is to get a big square stern like the Esquif Cargo and an electric outboard. The Cargo has the widest width, highest gunwales, and highest capacity of the canoes I’ve seen. And the electric outboard would allow us reach a lot more fishing spots and cover a lot more area. My wife would be more comfortable taking it camping as well, as she gets disinterested with long paddles. It’s a Royalex-like material, so it will take a beating. The downside is weight and low paddling efficiency and the temptation to just use the motor all the time.

Option 2 is a touring canoe in the 18-20’ range, like Wenonah Seneca or Minn 3, Northwind 18, Swift Keewaydin 18.6, Souris River Quetico 18.5, Savage River Voyageur. The Seneca is the widest out of that group, which might mean better stability for fishing. I’d want a removable motor mount that I can put a trolling motor on for fishing, but that would be for actual trolling or position holding, not for getting from place to place since trolling motors don’t go any faster than paddling. Hence we’ll be limited in range compared to an outboard motor. But these are light boats that can be portaged and offer the possibility of traditional canoe tripping experiences IF I can get my kids into that.

I assume I’m going to need a trailer for any of these options. I definitely will need one for the first option, but I’m not sure it’s wise to have an 18-19 foot composite boat on roof racks, especially in crosswinds at highway speeds.

Comments and alternative suggestions welcome.

I’m not sure if this is a viable option in your area, but under your Option 2 you should consider the Nova Craft Prospector 18. I own one and I can attest to its ability to swallow loads of gear and people, and still paddle well with plenty of stability. We haven’t done any extended trips, but we have done overnighters with two adults, four grandkids and a dog.

1 Like

Good suggestion. That will be one to consider. I see there is a dealer not too far away who also carries Wenonah and Esquif.

1 Like