New Paddler---Need a Fishing Canoe!

Hello all,

I realize that this may have been extensively covered in other posts. I have read tons of stuff on this website and I have been learning a lot of stuff. Due to the $$$ involved in this decision, I would like to consult with some “pros” first haha.

Anyways, I will be fishing mostly out of ponds and lakes. I would however, like to take my canoe down rivers once in a while to go fishing. I would say that out of 10 times, I will probably fish 9 times in lakes and ponds and the other 1 time on a river.

I will also fish about half of the time with a friend. The other time though, I will probably be by myself.

So, I was thinking something about 14’, poly, and as wide as possible (from what I have learned)

But, what are some good models and makes that I should be looking at?

Thanks guys, I really appreciate this. As I said, I don’t have a lot of money, and when I do buy my canoe, I don’t want to waste it.



couple options
A couple options come to my mind. First would be the hybrid style fishing kayaks such as the Native Ultimate and the Wilderness Systems Commander. They’re great for fishing and both companies offer lots of accessories specific to outfitting them.

Also the Wenonah Fusion is a 13’ canoe for single person sporting. It’s very similar to the Ultimate and Commander.

My Mad River works great
for fishing with a partner or solo. I just bought a Explorer 15 and it is very stable. I have fished in both lakes and rivers with it and it has done an excellent job.

Lots of options…

– Last Updated: May-04-10 12:09 PM EST –

...depending on the size of your lake and the class of your river. Assuming your river doesn't go above class 1 and you're not expecting to cross large lakes, something in the 14' to 16' range with shallow arch or shallow vee bottom and mild rocker. You might want to avoid flat bottoms. They have their place, but are not versatile enough for what you want. If they are flat with no keel they will hard to manage on windy lakes, and if they're flat with a keel they will be hard to handle on twisty rivers.

Don't put too much stock in "wide as possible". 36" is plenty wide. The 14' Wenonah Fisherman is 39" wide and I would avoid going any wider on any canoe.

Any tandem canoe can be soloed, but few solo canoes will work as a tandem. There are several methods for soloing in a tandem, an which works best depends on you and which boat you get - point being that you don't need to be concerned about that when deciding.

15' to 16' light tripping canoes are great for fishing and easy river running - tandem or solo. Lots of boats by Old Town, Wenonah, Mad River, Bell, Nova Craft, and others that can be found used in this category. Unless you don't mind heavy poly hulls, used is a better way to save money. Even so, a used poly hull should be cheaper still, and should work just fine unless it was terribly abused.

You will find there is no perfect boat unless you limit yourself to one kind of water. Shopping for used also might allow you to have more than one, with each leaning towards opposite ends of the spectrum of your expected activities.

For a good example of a competent all-rounder that you prbably won't get bored with any time soon, look at Old Town's 16' Penobscot (a pretty common boat). Some folks will tell you that the roundish bottom on the Penobscot makes it too "tippy" for fishing, but I disagree. I've used the flatter and wider Wenonah Fisherman also, and would say that either is as good as the other for fishing, although the Fisherman might be better for photography and birdwatching on *calm* water.

The Penobscot is faster and tracks better, while the Fisherman (though slow by comparison) is more suitable for tight spaces and extremely shallow water. I can stand and fish in either, solo of course (expect you can too with a little practice, if you are reasonably fit), - which should tell you something about the latitude you have to work with.

Great choices
If money’s tight, consider a Kaynoe from Dick’s. They’re about $400 and will do what you ask. If you can afford them, the boats Steve_in_Idaho suggested are really good picks.

Also, take a look at the Esquif line. They’ve got three squarebacks in their line suitable for fishing in lake or river. I’ve got the largest, the Cargo, but you could get away with smaller for just two. I sometimes take my family of four out.

  • Big D

since you are going to by yourself …

– Last Updated: May-07-10 11:01 AM EST –

...... about half the time , I'd say get a canoe that weighs no more than about 65 lbs. .

A tandem that is 15' min. length (longer is better) , no more than 35"-36" wide , and Royalex .

Shop used to find a canoe that is Royalex , and don't concern to much about appearence , you just don't want "bad" damage .

I purchased (locally) a nice used 16'-10" old town Royalex canoe for 400. bucks ... you can too . It weighs about 73 lbs. because it's an older model (thicker ??) .

What state and area are you in ?? ... anywhere near Stamford, Connecticut (there's a 14'-10" Old Town Pathfinder (Royalex , weighs 57 lbs.) selling soon there ... Pathfinder was renamed Camper .

Getting more specific…
…for non-specific use.

Tandem canoes I know to be good for all-around use and (at least) decent performers, no more than 65lds, that solo well enough…

Old Town Penobscot (much easier to solo than the Camper)

Wenonah Aurora

Mad River Malecite

Bell Northwind

There are others I’m not familiar with, of course - but those are the ones that I am very comfortable in recommending to someone new to canoeing who doesn’t want to concentrate on one type of water or one style of paddling.

All four are easy to fish from (assumes you take the time to get familiar with the way they handle, and you are not somehow physically challenged) Of the four, the Penobscot seems to show up more in the used market - probably for no other reason except that there are so many of them out there).

I own two of the four, and have no intentions of letting them go. They are easy enough for a beginner to use, but perform well enough that you probably won’t get bored with them.

try going to…

– Last Updated: Jun-21-10 9:42 AM EST –

...old town. here would be a nice can oe for your needs. it would be good for solo fishing

old town fishing canoe
i have duck hunted and fished out of an old town canoe, it is rather wide, it has has a seat in the middle of the boat so one paddler can manage it, and it wont break the bank, i think we paid 400 bux for it, and it is not horribly heavy

Second the Penobscot
I owned one and it was a good tandem and an acceptable solo. I have also had a 15 foot Bob Special (made by Nova Craft) in Royalex. Better as a solo than the Penobscot but not as good as a tandem. Both were reasonable in weight. Basically any symetrical designed tandem will do as a solo also. Symetry enables you to paddle from the front seat facing rearward with minumal (or no ) ballast. A non-symetrical design can be soloed but you will need to weight the front to prevent the bow from skittering around in a breeze if you do not plan to kneel in the center or install a center seat.

fishing canoe
this is probably sacrilege in here, but I am very happy with my RAM-X canoe I got at Dicks Sporting Goods. It’s 14.6ft, 3 seats and a cooler and HEAVY. But with proper lifting techniques it’s not hard to manage. It is really stable in the water and I fish from it. I am told that the RAM-X would hold up well to the jostling it might get from a river. It was also inexpensive at $300, and since it’s big enough for me, my wife and two boys, we can all enjoy it.

No sacrilege
They’re durable, accessible, and forgiving. You’re not going to get real high performance or glide or tight cornering out of a Ram-X. That said, exactly none of those things are important to the kinds of fishing the original poster says he’s going to do. What is important is high initial stability, durability, comfort, and carrying capacity - all of which you get with a Ram-X canoe by Coleman.

  • Big D

Not elitist
Yes - go with the Ram-X! Save some $$ and use it until it breaks (which will be in 10 years or so). You will be an awesome fisherman with it - getting into all kinds of water. Forget the high end - it will be there when you switch when you are much more experienced.

Could not see where you where from but

Check out the Canoe and Kayak show in Somerset NJ

My Best,


I’ve check on all types of canoes and the prices and the weight factor. If you check all Big name brand canoes and you want lite weight you’ll be paying the price. I just bought my canoe which the Price was excellant and then the weight factor was great also. What I bought was a 12’ Sports Pal canoe and it cost me $600.00 plus tax and the weight is on this canoe is 34 pounds and it came with motor mount and 50’ anchor cord. I have already taken this canoe out on the water and had to be a very windy day and normally I would have felt it would flipped over but this one didn’t feel the that. Check them out USA is SportsPal and Canada is Radisson.

fishing canoe
I recommend Indian River canoes…to me you are correct in getting a wider canoe,mine is 14ft long and 46 inches across with a flat back stearn, I slide it in the bed of my truck effortlessly…I guide from my canoe yr round with a customer sitting up front on a raised seat but most of the time they stand while I also stand and pushpole…I cover about 6-8 miles a day this way…that answers the stablilty question…one of my customers is 70yrs old and he stands up for 8hrs a day in it while I am moving…it is a tunnel hull and I have never had a single issue with it, it does NOT track any different than a keel canoe and it cost under $500…I have guided in it for yrs on the flats of Biscayne Bay as well as the Everglades…never tipped yet and never any issues…also I carry 3 flyrods dry and line stripped out ready to cast…thats basically a unbeatable situation IMO…good luck with your choice

Ultimate 12 or 14 if you want to tandem or need more room.