Otter Tail Paddle

So I think I want to try an Otter Tail Paddle. Who makes a decent one? Does anyone have experience with one?


I have several of Ray Kettlewells original paddles that are now made by Fishell

Thank you, I will check them out.

I have an Ottertail and Beavertail made by Badger Paddles. Solid Cherry - both are excellent. The Ottertail, especially, is a favorite when paddling my Explorer 16.

I purchased both through Rutabaga PaddleSports (excellent service through them). They’re also available direct from Mike, at Badger Paddles (he’s in Ontario, Canada).

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absolutely, I also have several, most are made by master instructor and paddle maker Caleb Davis of Long Lake, NY. They are my absolute go-to paddle for recreational paddling. Strong, but with feather thin edges that slice through the water without effort, making multiple transitions to advanced strokes with ease.

I got a Redtail brand otter tail from Umingmak Paddle Touring Center in Wisconsin last Fall. This is the model, in cherry. Redtail has quite a range of paddles and sell most models in unfinished versions as well as finished so you can apply your own choice of surface treatment.
Umingmak has a nice range of unusual paddling gear:

I like my Grey Owl Chieftain. I was lucky to be able to test paddle a bunch of them and pick the one I liked best.

I also have one I like from Turtle Paddles but they are no longer in business. If I wanted another I think the Fishell, Badger Paddle, and Caleb Davis ones would all be top choices for a premium Ottertail.

My preference is the Grey Owl Tripper, which is more beavertail than ottertail, but the grips on the Tripper and Chieftain are the same - and that is a very nice feature of the traditional Grey Owl paddles. The cherry paddles have a nice bit of flex to them, which I like. It should be mentioned, as it will probably come up eventually, this is kind of a “retro” point of view. There are some very good paddlers who want no part of any animal tail paddle and who consider flex to be a flaw. (And if I have to go really fast or battle a very strong headwind I’ll switch to a rigid bent shaft also.) To each his/her own…

Fine for lake paddling. Old ways are the best ways.

I have always used bendling branches square style paddles, and I am happy with them, but for non white water and not rocky super shallow water, wanted to try the otter tail. So I think there are applications for both, but there are a lot of more experienced paddlers on here than me that I am trying to learn from. Thanks!

Ok, pouring over the websites and looking at the paddles, I ended up choosing Fishell. The modified otter tail. I think I would be very happy with a paddle from most of the recommended makers, but after messaging with Greg and reviewing his site and paddles, I feel very excited about a handcrafted paddle from him. I will post a review when it comes in. Thank you all for your help!


Seems like a great choice. Given the exchange rates the prices look very reasonable for US customers and they look like special paddles.

Guess who got a Fishell modified Ottertail paddle today! Cant wait to take out and give it a go!


So I finally took the Fishell paddle out on the water today, and all I can say is wow! I got the modified Ottertail in cherry, and it just paddles brilliantly! It has broad shoulders near the hand to move some water, but narrows near the tip for a very smooth, balanced paddle. It’s an amazing paddle, and the company is so pleasant to talk to and work with. Thanks again everyone for all the help and advice, it really helped me get a paddle I love. Thanks!

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