motors: 2.5hp gas or electric...

well, i’ve tried fishing from my canoe and sea kayaks, and made modifications, rod holders, etc, but i’ve found that i want to spend more time and energy devoted just to fishing instead of gear management and boat control. the wife and i are thinking of the previously unthinkable. a square backed canoe! Esquif makes a model called the Heron that looks like it would be a good paddling canoe and good for mild white water, which we’re both skilled at. the touring canoe is just not great for fishing or for rivers, so the new canoe idea. now i’m all obsessing about how to power it when not paddling. it would see mostly fresh water, but also some salt as i’m right on the ocean, and salmon fishing on calm days would be awesome. anyhow for electric, you need a specific motor, the Minn kota Riptide, then a big battery and charger. 55lbs thrust model looks good. OR, do i get a 2.5 4 stroker? can you troll very slow with the gas motor? i have no experience at all with either or powered boats. i read some old threads here that were good, but if you have any insight, i’d love to hear it. thanks.

Any time
you add a motor, electric or gas in NC you must register the boat, canoe or kayak and get a hull number.Don’t know how it is in your state. That being said I’d go electric no messy gas cans or fumes.

Esquif Cargo
I have an Esquif Cargo, which is a 17’ version of the Heron. I have both a 55ft/lb thrust electric trolling motor and a 2.5HP gas engine for it.

I STRONGLY prefer the gas motor. First, while it may be roughly the same horsepower as the electric motor, the boat moves much, much more quickly and effectively upcurrent with the gas engine. Second, it is much lighter than a trolling motor and battery. Third, the batteries run VERY hot when operated for a long period. I have burned myself on the battery several times using the trolling motor. Fourth, it is easier to carry a little gas to refill the tank for a second burst of energy than it is to recharge a battery or carry a second battery on board.

I have rigged my Esquif with oars. I primarily use it for fishing a largish river (Potomac River between Harper’s Ferry and Riverbend) to run upriver then float back down, allowing me to go solo and avoid having to work out a shuttle or to get a shuttle bunny.

Now, I have both because the gas motor is not welcome at some lakes. For those lakes, I use the electric trolling motor and it is OK. Best uses are for slowly cruising the shoreline or making long passages where rowing would be too slow.

You pay your money and you make your choice, but having used for three years the big brother of the same boat you are considering, my advice would be gas if you have to choose one or the other.

  • Big D

gas or electric motor
I have a 15.4 ft sportsman canoe w a coleman 2.4 stroke and it is great for fishing … I also have a 15ft coleman canoe that i put a 35 thrust trolling motor on it… It worked great fishing in the Niagara Falls NY . above the falls by Grand Island… worked great.

Ive since upgraded to a bigger trolling motor… However I dont know about riptides and such. all my fishing is freshwater

I use an old 1.5 hp Cruise N’ Carry from way back on my Grumman 17. It’s not a squareback. The rangers on the Allagash used to prefer Grumman 20’ double-end canoes to squarebacks because it was more comfortable with an outboard. They didn’t have to twist sideways to reach the steering handle.

gas, unless
Electrics are nice if you don’t need excessive power against current/tides. Smooth and quiet. Downside is batteries are a royal PIA, heavy, painful to move around, no easy/quick way to recharge. If you are making the jump to a square stern i’d go gas, if you are trying out power add an electric to your current canoe. FYI I found my small gas outboard 2.5 hp/27 lbs was too much weight/power on a offset mount canoe is a MRC Freedom. Sure it works fine on bigger boats.

i like the electric
I have not tried a gas motor but on my 14 foot kayak I like the electric because I enjoy the other benefits of having the battery such as charging my phone if it dies or powering something if I am camping out.

I have no doubt the gas is more effective at sheer power, I am just usually in a leisurely pace and alternate with some paddling off and on.

I went electric…
I have a 14’ Coleman Scanoe with a Watersnake 54lb thrust trolling motor on it running off a group 29DC Everstart battery (Wal-Mart). This combination works great for me and my two sons. The canoe has a motor mount on the stern, but the stern is still tapered to a point like the front, so it makes for easy paddling and motoring even in reverse, which is something to consider over a traditional square stern canoe. I put the battery up front behind the front seat, and spliced in a jumper cable wire to reach the motor. Neither the battery nor the cable gets hot, even under prolonged use. I did shorten the motor shaft from 42" down to a more canoe-sized 22" to avoid the gorilla arm posture.

I’ve only taken it out twice now on local rivers/creeks (NE Florida), but I’ve already encountered several situations where I wouldn’t have wanted a gas engine, just from the noise. On my second time out I encountered a group of four kayaks who were also fishing. I just dropped the trolling motor down to the lowest speed and passed them silently with no more wake than if paddling. I was warned by a marine patrol on a decent sized creek about my wake (no wake zone) when going full speed with this motor, so I would have to say it has plenty of power. Can’t vouch for a lesser thrust motor, though.

Each time I went out I was motoring around fairly constantly for about 4 hours (mainly testing the boat/motor rather than fishing), and the battery never went below 85% charge either trip. The battery is rather heavy at around 65lbs, but the battery I chose is probably overkill and you could get by on a smaller, lighter battery. My attitude was that if I’m going to go to all the trouble of having a motor on my canoe, I’m going to use it rather than paddle around the extra weight. For toting the battery around (including portaging), I use a folding wheeled luggage dolly that’s rated for 150lbs. Don’t worry about looking for a heavy duty one – even the typical tiny wire one is rated for that much weight and is what I’m suing. Even with a bad back, I can carry the trolling motor and cable in one hand, and pull the battery on the luggage dolly without too much, if any, issue.

Personally, I don’t see me buying a gas outboard for my canoe unless I start frequenting larger rivers and lakes, which I don’t see me doing in a canoe. I bought the canoe because I wanted to fish smaller waterways, and this combo seems to be doing that perfectly. If I’m going to go to bigger, deeper water, I’m going to get a bigger boat, and probably have both an outboard and trolling motor.

motor for canoe
just bought a water quest squareback 14’ and a Water snake 54lb thrust you said you shortened the shaft. is this easy to do. I havent recieved it yet just ordered last week. also i got nervous about the motor being too big for the canoe when i read on Cabelas site that the canoe was rated for 30lb thrust with 15 in. shaft

Two questions
Dear pilot,

What gauge wire did you use for your jumper from the battery. Reading on the internet everyone seems to suggest 6 or 8 gauge but I’m only running a 40# thrust motor. You could build a suspension bridge with 6 gauge wire.

I’d like to know more about shortening the shaft on your motor. I have a 40 inch shaft on mine I spent today fishing a local lake. I run my motor on a 15’ Grumman Sport boat. I didn’t even know I could get my arm into the postion I used today to run the motor. I’d rather not do it again though!


Goobs AKA Tim Murphy

Shorten TM shaft
Check this site for complete instructions

Thanks, I think???
Dear 3bearnight,

Those are great instructions and they appear to be modifying the very trolling motor that I own.

The problem is I’m not all that confident in my mechanical skills? I’m sure I could do it but I lack some of the tools needed to do the work.

Fortunately, I have an authorized MinnKota warranty shop just down the road from me. I think I’ll take my motor to them and ask them what they will charge for the modification?

If it’s reasonable, they will get the business and we’ll both win.

If it’s pricey, I’ll probably ruin a perfectly good trolling motor trying to save a couple of bucks! :slight_smile:

Thanks for your help.


Goobs AKA Tim Murphy

Trolling Motor
I checked with a MinnKota warranty shop in my area and was given a price of $35.00, not bad and he has the parts, seals and tools to do the job. If your TM is still under warranty shorting the shaft may void it. Check with your shop.

Short Shaft trolling Motor
Found this trolling motor and ordered it and returned the watersnake,

Are not tiring. It is as easy as walking and you can row all day.

They rarely get stolen.

Some models require no maintenance.

They are lighter than motors and gas.

They do no pollute.

They can be very quiet.

They can last longer than a motor.

My arms argue against you.
Rowing against the wind all day for two days is not as easy as walking. But oars are good. I like rowing.

  • Big D

Go with gas
I have had a trolling motor for my canoe for about two years now, and I am pretty dissatisfied with how quickly it runs down a deep cycle marine battery. I could get a bigger batty, but that would mean even more weight. I am looking to sell or trade the endura and get the smallest outboard I can find.

Test your battery first
Dear reefmonkey,

A group 24 or 27 battery in good condition should easily push a canoe with two anglers around for two 8 hours days on lake before needing a recharge.

I’m not talking about trolling for 8 hours, that’s a different story but you should get one day out of a good battery. I’m talking about moving you to a spot for drift or anchor fishing, and then moving you back numerous times in a day.

I routinely moved an 1685 jonboat with a 40hp jet on the back in the Susquehanna with three anglers and a dog plus gear and beer, well over 1200 pounds total weight, with a 43# thrust transom mounted Minnkota for a weekend’s fishing before recharging the battery.

I’ll bet your battery is on it’s last legs and it might be worth stopping by a boat dealer to get it load tested after a recharge to see if it is?

One last thing. Deep cycle batteries require deep discharge and then recharge to function properly. Using your electric motor for a couple of hours and constantly recharging the battery will kill it quickly.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

Nope, it’s always been like that

– Last Updated: Jun-25-12 11:27 AM EST –

since the day I bought the battery, and I do know how to maintain deep cycle marine batteries, though in this case the practicality of maintaining this battery is another downside, which is why the battery has gotten worse, to the point of where if I want to use it this summer, I am going to have to get a new battery. Part of the problem is the battery is kept down at a vacation house, in its garage here on the Texas coast. So fall through spring I may get down there once a month if I am lucky, and May through September it gets really hot in that garage. However, I just don't have a better place to store it. This situation makes another argument for me at least getting an outboard.

However, again the battery just didn't give me the endurance I wanted even when new.

Suppose I could get a bigger battery with more amper hours, but that means just a bulkier, heavier object in a small canoe, at which point it really just makes more sense to get a little outboard. It may be that I am operating on a bay, with more distance to croass and more wave action to fight than a lot of lakes, and no current to help me out like rivers.

Many pros and cons both ways, but based
on your first sentence and being close to big water,

I’d recommend square stern and gas outboard. Much more power to get going when you need it, and sometimes you will need it.