Rudder pedal control for trolling motor on canoe?

I just bought a 1973 Grumman G17S square stern canoe. I plan to use it for exploring and fishing in tidal creeks and back bays in southern NJ. Most of the time, propulsion will be supplied by an electric trolling motor. I plan to add an infinite speed control for the motor, which will allow me to bypass the twist control on the tiller. I’m wondering if it would make sense to DIY a yak-style rudder pedal set-up for steering the motor, and completely eliminate the need to turn part-way around to use the tiller handle (I’m getting old and somewhat arthritic, which is partly why I’ll be doing more motoring than paddling in the first place). I have two primary concerns about the idea. First is attaching the rudder slides. I don’t want to be drilling mounting holes in my hull near the waterline. I’m hopeful I can find some adhesive that will work adequately on the aluminum. Second concern is loading and balance of the canoe, since, I would be limiting the positioning options for the heaviest load - me. OTOH, the canoe will be loaded far under its capacity, I will be nearly always be paddling solo or with my 50 lb. dog, with the remaining items pretty consistent in weight and position, so I’m not sure how much of an actual issue that would be. Anyone done something similar? Any comments on the two issues I raised, or thoughts on any I missed? Thanks!


Well, I think that holding your legs that wide would be annoying. So, if you were to say make a “pallet” that would sit in the bottom of the boat and give you something to mount pedals to. You can add cable and put yourself as far forward as you want.
When river tripping, I just took 1 inch conduit and screwed boards to it and left it lay in the bottom of the boat. Kept the gear dry. However, more along what you need, some guys (with talent) made 2 ends that followed the hull, and put wooden dowels between making a solid place where you could mount something.

One thing that canoes have over kayaks is that you can scooch around, sit or kneel, uncramp your legs etc. How about something that you control with your right hand that attaches back to the tiller so that you aren’t forced to sit in a single position?

Do you put the battery in the bow for balance? What gauge power cable?

Hadn’t thought about that aspect. I guess it would be a considerably wider stance than in a kayak (the canoe is ~36" wide) plus there is probably significantly more back and lateral support in a yak cockpit. I’ll need to give that more thouaght, Thanks!

Is there a reason the typical foot controls for trolling motors would not work for you? The cable to the foot control might be too short, I suppose, but you might be able to get a longer cable…

Good thought. I’d need to re-design the linkage so that push-pull on one side results in both right and left swings at the motor, but since I’m scratch-building anyway, that should be doable. I’ll need to scratch it out on paper to be sure, but I suspect I could use one of the rudder foot control sliders with a bicycle grip or similar handle, and a couple of extra pulleys at the transom. Your suggestion would also put the operator control attachment point(s) well above the WL, if it needs to be through-riveted. Regarding the battery, yes I plan to use two (a 75 AH and a 50 AH, both AGM) in a box mounted far enough forward to offset my usual seating position. The box will be secured (HD cable ties) to my flooring. I’m thinking 8 gauge solid copper wire, but I’ll recalculate once I know the length (max motor draw in 20A). I’ve found a crude but effective boat floor solution that I’ve used now in several aluminum boats (both paddle craft & power boats): polypropylene mesh chicken coop floor that is designed to allow the chicken poop to fall through. It is (or was) relatively cheap, durable, UV-resistant, and it sits quite happily atop the floor ribs. It comes in 2’ x 4’ sheets that can be locked together on the 2’ ends, and is easily cut to fit. It is also quite easy to secure items to the mesh using cable ties. I originally bought mine (years ago) from Agri-Supply, but I imagine it is a commodity item.

Frankly I didn’t realize there was such a thing. Never used a trolling motor before, believe it or not. I came to this from thinking about how to affix the trolling motor to a large tandem kayak (maxi 2 poke boat, actually) that already had a rudder, so my thinking was directed accordingly. I’ll look into that, thanks.