Poling anyone?

For those who use a pole to move a canoe, could you help me with a few questions?

  1. Is there a commercial source for poles?
  2. If you make one yourself, do you use wood or aluminum? Wood would be solid and heavy. If aluminum, is the end capped? An aluminum pole with an open end would be filled with mud if not capped, right?



Either Wood or Aluminum
If you are wanting to pole flatwater, swamps. lake edges and such there are commercialy available poles available. I believe Cabelas sells them?

If you want a pole to push upstream against current those won’t hold up so well. I’ve heard rumors of Ash poles available but never seen them. IMO an ash pole would be pretty heavy.

Otherwise you pretty much have to make your own or find someone who does.

Fred Klingerer has made both wood and aluminum poles. Check out his sites



The best aluminum poles I’ve seen have delrin plugs in the ends set with a stainless 3/8 bolt which is what grabs the rocks.

I think a length of hardwood dowel might work almost as well but I have not tried that yet.

Good Luck


Canoe pole
I used to do some poling but have fallen out of the habit. I used a spruce pole from Jerry Stelmok with a copper band heat-shrunk over each end and an couple of aluminum poles with end fillers. One also had a spike in the end. If you’re anywhere close to Chicago come by and you can have your choice of the aluminum ones. I think I’ll keep the spruce one for nostalgia’s sake.


Hey You’re in Conecticut!
If you can, make your way to Sandisfield Mass right on the CT border. Tomorrow Oct 18 2008.

The ACA folks are doing a poling cruise on the Farmington River and there may be good aluminum poles for sale.

I’m going to shoot you an email.

hey Julian

– Last Updated: Oct-17-08 5:54 PM EST –

I'm in Connecticut. I'll be joining Tommy and crew tomorrow on the NB stretch, and there's a few regular polers around, most notably Ed Hayden who makes aluminum poles. I'm out poling often, nearly year round, mostly on the farmington around Burlington, Collinsville, New Hartford, and Riverton.Sometimes pole the Bantam, Shepaug, and Housatonic, and want to pole the Salmon/Blackledge area sometime. I've made a few simple wood and aluminum poles, Ed makes poles in aluminum, then there's Fred (Ravensjester) who makes some beautiful wood poles. Some darn great people standing up in canoes around here. Ed's from near the Thames, Fred lives by the Shepaug.
Ed and Fred

Also a lot of old posts on here about poles if you do a search.

Ed will be at NB tomorrow and I'm sure will have a load of 2 pc. poles in the back of his pick up.

check out
poleandpadddle.com, out of Maine. Long piece away but I liked having a look at what they do.

Pole vault pole.
Fiberglass, very light, not too flexible if cut down to canoe poling size, would need reinforced ends.

Not a bad idea? Or comeplete tomfoolery. Just thinking outside the box here.

If i see an article in a Massachusetts newspaper about missing pole vault poles from the high school track storage shed, I’ll know who did it.

To Plug the Ends
of an aluminum pole use Plummbers Expoxy. It’s like clay but is actually a two part epoxy that will mix when you roll it in your hands. Jam it into the ends and wait a day or two for it to set up. I have one pole that I did that to and after 9 years it is still going strong.


cd1, I think that pole vault poles are
too easily damaged by contact with the gunwale or rocks. I say this based on the use of pole vault stock for whitewater slalom paddles.

My vote would be for titanium as an alternative to aluminum. However I must admit that my T-6061 temper aluminum pole has been plenty sturdy and light enough for my skills.

that damn epoxy

– Last Updated: Oct-19-08 6:40 PM EST –

lasted me and Aaron less than 1/2 a mile when the bolts broke out and the epoxy started sliding up and down inside the pole. "clllllllllllllllllllang" as it slid up and down. Finally chiseled it out this weekend when I replaced the end caps on one of Aarons poles. I just use the end caps like Freds "amusing raven" pole mentioned above, and goop them in, keeping things watertight and quiet.

cabelas or gander mountain
got my aluminum pole from cabellas

worked well for years…modifiy ends as needed for whatever river bottom type you experience

For your info
This collapsible pole might work. But it’s only 11’.

They can put a different end cap for you.


How about having a paddle at one end? For deep water where you can’t reach the bottom, you paddle. Sound good?

I use wood!

– Last Updated: Oct-22-08 10:10 PM EST –

Reason: Central Florida is the lightning capital of the U.S., especially during the summer. It's bad enough having to use my wooden pole during one but using an aluminum pole during one is asking for death. Around here we call umbrellas "tourist lightning rods". If I won't use an umbella, I sure won't use a metal pole while canoeing. I'm sure to get some arguments over it and I say fine, but the less metal in and around my canoe the better, especially in or around thunderstorms.
Mine's painted in eastern coral snake pattern and colors.email me if you want to see what it looks like in the canoe.

I like wood too
warmer and quieter. I use both. Experiment. Have fun. That’s an order!

Might not work
That pole may be too lightweight and flexible to be much good for anything but pushing your boat through flatwater. Pushing up current and using the pole to turn the boat puts a lot of pressure on it. That being said, someone out there makes a two or three piece fiberglass pole that Topher swears by.

As for getting a paddle on the end, that would be OK, but is not really necessary. You’d be surprised at how fast you can get a boat going just using your pole as a kayak paddle standing up.


Lendal 3 Part Pole
I’m a huge fan of this pole.

Easy to break down, but stays together well when tightened up.

I wore the aluminum shoe off my first Lendal, and am now working through my second.