How to choose a canoe in UT?

Anyone know where I can test paddle an ultra light canoe in central UT area?

Even if I could find a light (50-60 lbs), durable, fishing/recreational canoe that holds 2-3 people, I expect it will become perilous in the wind. Wind is pretty common here. Is there any way to overcome that downside? Would a small 4 hp motor help in the wind?


It’s hard to know what situation you want to be prepared for.

What do you mean, “perilous” in wind? How strong is the wind and how big are the waves that you expect?

To carry two to three people, you likely need a fairly large canoe, if all three are adults and they are fairly big people. For two reasonable-sized adults (these days, that may not mean “average sized”) and one child, most general-purpose tandem canoes will likely do the job if the wind and waves are manageable.

It might be a little hard to mount a 4-horse motor to an ultralight canoe, since often the gunwales are semi-tubular aluminum of small diameter, rather than squared-off vinyl or wood, but it should be easy to rig up a motor mount for one that’s a little more rugged. Do you really need a motor that large? If so, a square-back canoe might be better, or perhaps a 12- to 14-foot “regular boat”. By the way, if conditions are truly perilous for a canoe, I don’t see a motor making the situation much better, but if all you are worried about is controlling the boat when the wind blows hard, yes, the motor will help.

Bear in mind that many stock canoes won’t have enough flotation to keep both ends at the surface once capsized if a motor is attached. Some might even sink. Most are really only equipped to keep from sinking once swamped if not much of anything heavy (that is, heavy and dense, since heavy items which float don’t matter) is attached. Here again, a standard boat is likely better, and is less likely to ever tip as well. You may never find yourself in that situation, and most people don’t, but it’s something to know about. You can add flotation if you want to be more prepared for that.

Conditions like in the video below are pretty common. Although not shown in the vid, A few white caps are pretty common. I’ve only ever tried conditions like that in a regular boat.

Maybe only a regular boat will suit these conditions.

This probably sounds dumb, but the idea of carrying a light boat around, both on the car and portage, seems enticing to me, because I seem to avoid all the hassle of a regular boat with trailer and such. I just exchange one hassle for another.

Yes 4 hp is too much you are right. I weigh 240 though :neutral:

I suggest looking into getting a hybrid canoe/kayaks instead of one big canoe. Something like the Wilderness Systems Pamlico[]=462
Lower profile for better wind resistants, two sided paddles, not as large, more comfortable and I see used ones all the time.

I grew up fishing on Strawberry, and paddled canoes quite a bit on lakes and resevoirs in Utah. I visit family there a lot and do some paddling when home. I honestly don’t know where you can test paddle any boats in Utah except during the Outdoor Recreation convention, they used to do test paddles at East Canyon or Pineview or the resevoir above Parley’s. I’m not sure if the Convention will be in Utah this August, the retailers agreed to move the convention outside of Utah due to political moves by the state.

Personally I would invest in about a 12’ sit on top kayak for fishing on strawberry, etc. That would be a single seat boat with a low profile, not a fishing boat, and it will handle better than a canoe in the wind.

I still keep a canoe in Utah at my MILs for paddling on Bear Lake. The secret for dealing with wind in Utah is to do your canoeing and fishing on large bodies of water early in the morning and be off the water by lunch time. The big winds usually pick up after noon and continue through early evening. You can take a siesta and then go back out and fish in the calm of the evening. I’ve got into SUP paddling and fishing from an SUP is actually not so bad, and uses very little gear. You can use the winds for fun in the afternoons too.

I dunno. We have done the Green River twice from Green River town down and our 43 lb canoe gets quite a bit of gear including that darn groover. Probably 100 lbs as we carry a bit of water. When you add the weight of two people it matters little whether our canoe is 45 or 80 lbs when you add the other 375.
We use a Souris River Wilderness 18 or a Wenonah Odyssey. We’ve been paddling down the Green with two foot waves coming at us due to the wind funneling in the canyons

In defense of the OP’s point of view and desire for a motor, a wind that kicks up two-foot waves on a big lake will usually be harder to deal with than a headwind creating those same waves on a river with such a brisk current as the Green. And let’s not forget that not all of us are good paddlers. Among the countless rental canoers I see each summer, I’ve yet to see a pair of “average” paddlers among them who can paddle straight into a 25-mph wind with good control (it can be even worse at some other angles to the wind), and even “us experts” are pretty darned slow in that situation. A person who’s going fishing usually won’t like being limited to 1- or 2-mph travel speeds (no current helping in this case) when the wind blows. I can understand perfectly why “a little more boat” with motor power makes sense here.

I’ll have to agree with Sea Dart’s comments above. If you are serious about your fishing, then get a SOT kayak signed for fishing (wide & stable) and at least 12-14 ft. in length. A pedal drive Hobie would also be a good choice. I think Wilderness Systems is coming out with a pedal drive kayak now. There are a lot of SOT kayaks specifically designed for fishing with all the bells & whistles (rod holders, fish finder mounts, motor mounts, gear accessories, etc.). I would much rather paddle, or peddle, and fish from one of them than a canoe if fishing was my main goal.

Go to this website and take a look at fishing kayaks. Better yet call & chat with them. They know their stuff and they are very helpful. Many of their kayaks ship for free.

I also agree with Sea Dart on the morning & evening paddling on lakes in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming.

The secret for dealing with wind in Utah is to do your canoeing and fishing on large bodies of water early in the morning and be off the water by lunch time.

That’s a powerful secret, thanks!


Yes SOT kayaks are looking pretty neat, except for the weight issue. I’m considering the OT penebscot tandem for now. I don’t really want to fish alone all the time.

As the former owner of both the 16’ and the 17’ versions on the Penobscot, I would recommend the 17’ if you can stand the extra 12 lbs, or so, that it weighs. The added buoyancy will be appreciated with two people fishing out of it.


How about a wenonah sundowner?