Need canoe advice please

I am looking to purchase a solo canoe and I need your advice on my best options. I am a beginning canoer. The main reason for the purchase is health related as I need to exercise daily after open heart surgery. The treadmill in the basement is boring me to death. I live on a river and feel that I would enjoy canoeing for exercise. I also do a decent bit of smallmouth fishing in the same river. Right now it is limited to the general wading area but I would like to expand by canoe to find new holes to fish. Any advice on an all around solo canoe that would fit my needs would be appreciated.

I love canoeing. That said, here is an alternative suggestion.

Rowing is a better aerobic exercise. Also, a rowboat might be a more stable fishing platform.

If you need to portage, and handle rough water, I bet an adirondack guide boat would be perfect.

OK, I know little about rowboats, but thought this might be the best exercise machine. If you are interested, I am sure you could ask and people here would be more than willing to suggest models. A tandem canoe with a rowing rig would be very versatile too.

Also, Hobie makes a pedal drive machine that would also be a good workout (but it is a sit-on-top, so might not be dry enough in colder weather).

I agree that rowing is good exercise, but I think maybe using a double bladed paddle with a canoe would be pretty good, too.

Since you’re wanting the canoe partly for fishing, I’d go with something in Royalex. I’d think that a Wenonah Vagabond, Bell Yellowstone Solo, or maybe a Wenonah Argosy would be a good all purpose solo.

If you feel you can monitor your
canoeing effort, maybe it could work out. I would suggest a stable boat that encourages bent-shaft, sit-and-switch style for mild to moderate aerobic effect.

I would tend to argue against a canoe that puts up resistance, because when using a lower stroke rate with a straight shaft paddle, you may find that you are sealing your airway and generating a little rise in chest pressure when you take slower, harder strokes. Think about it. When you walk or run, your breathing is cycling freely, producing no pressure spike. When canoeing, lifting things, and rowing (which I used to do in a single scull), there is a point where your breath is stopped with the effort. I’m not sure what transient effect this has on your BP and vasculature.

Also, although I am almost always a kneeler, I recommend against kneeling. Tends to pool the blood in the lower legs.

Wenonah Prism is worth a look
This is a good all-around solo offering balance between stability and efficiency. There are faster models (less stable) and more-stable models (slower, less efficient), but this is a nice blend. Maneuverability, however, is not a strength. This works well for sit-and-switch paddling as suggested by g2d.

first solo
I’m a kneeling single stick paddler, but solo, that is the hardest game in paddlesport. Strangely, sitting low and using a double blade paddle solo is the easiest.

Pack canoes are better than kayaks or semi decked boats for fishing because you can see where the rod, tackle box and cooler go in the boat.

There is a listing of pack canoe manufacturers in a kneeling in Pack Canoe thread worth looking at. Weights run 50 to 12 lbs, costs 800 to 2500.

The heavier poly boats are specifically designed for fishing.

I had the same
Procedure 4 years ago last November, a 4 way by pass. I started paddling a sit and switch race boat the following March as a form of cardio rehab. I had a canoe racing background ( way back) and thought that would be the best way to go being the elitest snob that I am. While I like the race boat on days when the water is reasonably still I now prefer to use an older Sawyer DY Special on most days.

I would look at boats like the Wenonah Prism and Bell Magic that can be paddled in the sit and switch style with a bent shaft as mentioned above.

I go out most every day in season for a six to twelve mile paddle. I try to average a 50 stroke a minute stroke rate which for me brings my heart rate up enough to give me a good work out.

Be prepared to get an amused smile from your doctor when you tell him “Oh I paddle a canoe for exercise”.

…Initial question…
What size/type of water is the river? I have not paddled Wenonah’s Argosy…but you may wanna give it a spin whenever possible, as the same for as many canoes as you can. Physical makeup, type of waters to paddle in will help determine… *Once you’ve gotten to a paddling level worthy of the boats you may think about dropping the fishing at some point. Right now it may sound ludicrous, but just paddling the waterways, flat as well as flowing, is a lot of fun.


Post bypass exercise

– Last Updated: Mar-20-07 1:50 PM EST –

Glad to see that you are dedicated to your cardiac rehab. I am an exercise physiologist and work with an emphasis in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. I have been working in hospitals with post open heart patients for several years. I am not sure if you were planning on this or not, but if you are going to invest your time and money into canoeing as a form of cardiac rehab, I would also highly recommend purchasing a heart rate monitor. The ones with the chest straps are EKG accurate, and the base models are very affordable.

That way you can scientifically gauge your effort level to ensure that it is beneficial. Don't use the instruction booklet or any outside recommendations as to what your exercise heart rate should be. You are likely on a medication called a beta-blocker. The most common examples of these would be Toprol, Metoprolol, Atenolol/tenormin, and Coreg. These medications are intentionally prescribed to keep your heart rate and blood pressure low. In this case your prescribed heart rate would be approximately 20-30 beats above your resting rate. But as always, check with your doctor as to what your exact recommendations are. Good luck and happy paddling!

PS- I know this had nothing to do with your question but figured I would throw it in the mix for you. Us healthcare workers can be like worried parents. Sorry.

Oops... one more thing, g2d is correct about holding your berath... try to keep your inspiration/expiration cycle pretty fluid (don't hold your breath if you can help it) it does increase the pressure in the lungs, which in turn increases the resistance that the heart has to pump against.


look for a pac boat
Even an Old Town Pac seems like it would be ideal. If you are going to use it every day then you’ll want something light.

A row boat would be great but I’d stick with something like a pac baot because it is so easy to use.

Another option is to get a light canoe and modifiy it for rowing. A guide boat would be nice if you live on the water but if you have to lift it the lightest ones are about 65 pounds.

Spring Creek Outfitters
If you would rather row, Spring Creek offers rowing set-ups for canoes. Check it out at

Picked up a Wenonah Sandpiper
cheap. I’m enjoying the hell out of my first solo canoe. Makes me want to get a Prism. I using my kayak paddles and it moves quickly for such a short boat. Now, I know what I used to love about canoes, but without the hassle of a tandem. Go for it, its been a great help with getting back into an exercise routine at 57.

…give kneeling a try!

It’s a great decision you’ve made. $.02…today’s high-density foam at ~3/4"-1" lying on a thin layer that grips the hull material…really DOES make for a comfortable platform. You might not believe it right now…and I know I’ll get blasted;-), but once you get the stock seat moved back a little…& put a little foam around the front portion of it(to lean or sit back on)…try a little paddling from your knees. It’ll make your paddling more of a full-body effort where your larger muscles will do more, thus making it easier in your wrist & shoulders…*or maybe you can try it to break up a day’s paddle sometime…

my $.02…

Prism is good
For your intended usage, the Prism in a light easy to carry lay-up will be ideal. The older Solitude will also fill your requirements.

In other companies lines, their similar models, will be your best choices.

The solos best suited for long distance travel will have some compromises in stability for fishing and manueverability. The recreational solos that are wide and short will be good for your fishing, but not for your paddling, especially upstream.

The Prism, or an equal, will be stable for your fishing and a much better exercise platform. 15-20 mile paddles will be well within your reach with a little conditioning.