I bass fish from my canoes on a regular basis. In fact it is unusual that I do not fish while in the canoe. Being used to fishing from a bass boat and being able to bring a dozen specialized rods along, i have foud it interesting to determine what rods to bring on any one canoe trip. I usually only bring two rods. They tend to get in the way after that.

For river trips i bring 5.5 foot med action casting rods and high speed reels. Every so often I bring a 6 foot med or med lite if I an floating an open streach of water. For most lake trips near home(S. Ohio) I bring a 6 foot med casting rod and 6.5 foot med casting rod. The loger rod is nice for throwing crank baits long distances on the lakes. The shorter I use for top water spinnerbaits or plastic worms. I have found versitility is the key to rod selection in canoes. The only time I really bring 3 rods is in the BWCA. I take a 6.5med, 6.5 heavy, and 6foot med/medhev. I bring the heavy rod to tackle the big pike.

It is all a matter of personal preferance but what do you all use. Any bass fishermen that like spinning gear? Really long rods?

I’m starting to deal with those problems myself. I bought a shimmano cardiff baitcaster to double for bass and steelhead. But the reel is too big for all the lures I use. I think I’m going to go back to a higher end spinning reel. As far as rods go, I prefer them in the 6’ range. I think what I will eventually do is carry 1 medium lite action and one medium action. Carrying 8 and 10lb lines. Last trip I ended up catching a few large mouths on the med lite rod, they were pushing the limits of the rod so I think I should get a little bigger one.

2-3 rods
Most of my fishing done from a canoe is done in the BWCAW/Quetico and points further north. Portaging has to be a concern, but I usually bring 3 rods if smallmouth are present and only 2 rods where they are not present. I prefer spinning reels, so I bring a 6’ medium/heavy rod with Fireline to troll with and to cast for the big pike. I bring a 6’ medium/light rod with florocarbon line to use with jigs and other soft plastic baits. I bring a 5’ ultralight to cast the shoreline for “smallies”.

I won’t be going to Quetico until September this year, so I have a long time to wait.


I do not have the guts to go up so light. Every trip I get a pike over 36 inches and some big smallies in the weed beds. Spinning gear is just not tuff enough(for me). I also like to use spiderwire stealth. It casts a mile and is strong. What do you throw for pike up there?

Hey Kebs, where in S. Ohio are you from? (I’m from Chillicothe)

When fishing from my yaks, I tend to use 5 or 5.5 ft. rods - usually one med action baitcaster and one med-lite spinning.

In my canoes I generally carry 6 footers of each -(same actions), but in Quetico I carry 6.5 - 7 footers (both medium actions).

For the first 5 or 6 years in Quetico I only carried a couple of lite action spinning outfits and landed a lot of big smallies (20+")and medium pike (36"-38"). After reading a lot about acid buildup in fish during a fight, the last 10 years or so I’ve went to heavier gear to shorten the lenth of the fight and protect the resource.

I’ll be heading back up for 10 days in late August.


OK, I’m a smallmouth fanatic…
I almost always carry 5 rods in the canoe. All it takes is a little thought on where to put them, and a little discipline to actually put them there.

I carry a 5 foot casting rod for topwater lures, a 5.5 foot casting rod for crankbaits, and another 5.5 footer for spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Then I carry a 5.5 foot spinning rod for some soft plastics, and a 6 footer for jigs and other soft plastics. All the casting rods are medium light action, all casting reels are spooled with 8 pound line. The spinning reels are spooled with 2/10 or 4/15 (4 pound diameter, 15 pound test) braided line, and the shorter rod is a medium light, the longer one a medium.

Shorter rods are more convenient to store in the canoe, and for the fishing I usually do they are also more accurate and efficient. In my solo canoe, the two longer casting rods lie with handles on the front seat brace on either side of me, with the rods lying across the thwart in front and the tips inside the gunwales. The shortest casting rod can lie with the handle on the thwart, and it’s still short enough that the tip goes in under the end cap at the front of the canoe. What you don’t want is a rod tip sticking out of the canoe or above the gunwales, where it will get caught on passing brush. Ideally, whenever you lay a rod down, you bring the lure back and hook it to some edge of the reel, and wrap the line between the rod tip and the lure a couple of times around one of the guides, so that you don’t have lures hanging off the ends of the rods and possibly getting entangled. The two spinning rod handles also lie across the seat braces on either side of me, but so that the reels are down in between the seat braces and the tips are pointing backward and lying inside the gunwales behind me.

In tandem canoes, I basically place the rods the same way if I’m sitting in front, although I have to move the placement of the handles back farther on the seat braces, and may have to put three rods pointing backwards toward the middle of the canoe. If I’m sitting in the rear, two rods are sitting with handles on the seat braces pointing forward and the rods lying on the thwart in front of me with tips tucked under the gunwales, and the other three are lying handles on the thwart in front of me and tips tucked under the rear of the front seat (which works really well unless the person I’m with is also a multiple rod fanatic).

I’m a firm believer that the most important factor in fishing from a canoe on moving water is to maximize efficiency. With five rods, I have a lure for every occasion of water current, depth, cover, and conditions. And by giving serious consideration to how all the rods fit in the canoe so that they are instantly available yet not likely to get entangled with each other or with obstacles in and out of the canoe, I not only have a lure for every eventuality, but I have it where I can use it most efficiently.

Rod selection
I usually carry three rods in my kayak for freshwater. An 8 wt. flyrod, a 5wt. flyrod and a 6’ light action spinning rod. If I’m after bigger fish on the saltwater flats I bump the spinning rod up to a medium action and leave the 5 wt. at home. I’m a light tackle fanatic and have caught bass up to 8 lbs on both the flyrods and light spinning rig. On the salt redfish in the 10-12 lb range aren’t uncommon.

Ok first I am living in Dayton right now but will be moving to Xenia in late july. I usually stick to 2 rods for simplicity’s sake. I throw topwater spinnerbaits and crankbaits in the Little Miami River. If I have to slow down to worms I am not going to catch fish. I like fast lures on the river so I can cover more ground. Since I am fishing for fun and not in a tournament I will catch them the way I like to or not at all. besides I have only been skunked a few times on the river fishing the way I do.

I do carry the rods in the boat sitting on the cross thwarts with the tips tucked under the thwart closest to the tip. It keeps them from snagging on branches or being bashed with paddles. Up in the BWCA with the 6.5 foot rods it gets tricky not poking eachother but we are in 18.5 foot Minn2’s. My river tandem is a 16.5 foot echo so I do not like more than 6 foot rods in it while fishing with someone else. My Uncle paddles a 15 foot Saranac in the river and 5.5 foot rods are a must in that thing. Especially for the bow paddler. There is nothing like a crankbait hitting your sunglasses to encourage you to require a short rod of your partner.

We would bring 7 foot rods to the bwca but I made the rod tube to fit 6.5 foot rods. I do not really care to bring one as the 6.5 has always worked. My Uncle(whom I go up with) has gotten into 7 footers and wants to bring one. That is fine but he is going to make the new rod tube if he wants one.

I noticed that people tend to use lighter line than I do. For the river I use at least 20 pound strenght braid or fusion. Somtimes I will use 12 pound mono but not often. i fish some serious wood and rock cover and really need the abrasion resistance. On a final note I could probably deal with 5 rods if I was alone in the canoe but I find 2 or sometimes 3 do the trick. As for flyrods, I will be taking my 7.5 foot 4wt. Next time I hit the water. That is if I can find My flies and flotant that have vanished somehow.

lighter gear
I have not had any problems using spinning gear in the BWCAW/Quetico. To date, I have landed 11 or 12 pike 40"+. The biggest one was 48". All have been landed using the gear described above. I use 14lb test (8lb dia) on the medium/heavy rod, 8lb test on the medium/light rod, and 6lb test (2lb dia) on the ultralight. I use Shimano reels that have a feature called a fighting drag in addition to the standard rear drag. I find this feature very helpful in landing large pike and smallies. We troll every place we go, so probably 60% of the large pike were caught while trolling. I tend to use the Rapala Huskyjerk suspending baits for most of my trolling since all species will hit it. In September, I find that the large pike are already moving into the back end of bays, so I fish the shallow weed beds with topwater weedless spoons. There is something about 20lb+ fish hitting a topwater bait in shallow water. I also use spinner baits and buzz baits when casting for big pike. One of my favorite baits for big smallies is a black jitterbug fished after sundown. The biggest pike was caught on that jitterbug while fishing for smallies. Hope this helps.