Seeking canoe suggestions

I’m an experienced canoeist looking for some suggestions for a good canoe to fit my needs. Most of my trips are multi-day on the streams of southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. About half are solo, half tandem. Love to fish standing up in the canoe, but fishing is secondary. Would like to venture into some more class II and possibly III, but would also like something that I could take to the Boundary Waters. Price is not important. Considering the Old Town Appalachian and Penobscot and have read the reviews here, but looking for any other suggestions and things to consider. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

Ozark streams…
I float the Ozark streams all the time, and wouldn’t switch my Old Town Penobscot 16 for any other tandem canoe I’ve paddled. But it will feel a little squirrelly standing to fish, and Class 3 would be pushing the envelope with it. It’s certainly serviceable for solo paddling, though.

Never got to paddle an Applacian

– Last Updated: Jul-30-14 5:09 AM EST –

It should be an ideal river boat though, the specs are great for even class three. It will be a bit slower in the still water areas than some other choices because of the rocker but it's not overblown rocker either.

The Penobscot is a good down river boat, in other words if you are traveling through/ tripping but it isn't so forgiving if you want to hang out and fish rivers, grabbing eddies etc. It has a straight keel line, little to no rocker. I would suggest if you went with the Penobscot, to anchor it off the stern. When done just continue on down the river. I owned the 17, it had tons of volume, you would not have a problem packing it, it likes a little load.

OT Tripper is another good combo boat for both rivers and still water areas. It has shallow arch center and sharp entry exit but a decent bow and also likes a load. Many river trips have been done in this boat. It had moderate rocker, so it doesn't kill a lake situation.

Mad River Explorer in a lighter composit , maybe even Royalex might be a good choice. Tracks well but also will grab and eddy.

Bell used to have a great river/lake/tripping boat that for the life of me I can't think of the name off hand. Moderate rocker and shallow arch bottom, a little narrower than the Appalacian.

Do it all Canoe
You have some good choices there and some good advice by the previous posts. There are many canoes that will fit your needs but each will be a compromise in one area or another. The need for it to be a tandem canoe that can be soloed kinda eliminates some really good asymetrical boats (unless you install a third center seat) like the Dagger Reflection 16. The fact that you want to be able to comfortably stand and fish kinda eliminates some excellent arched bottom canoes and probably some of Mad River canoes with a V-bottom (Malecite) because they always want to settle on one side unless it has a heavy load. I would say the Penobscot 16 or 17 would be a very good choice where (as previously mentioned) its biggest drawback would be its kinda poor turning ability in small twisty streams. An Old Town Camper 16 would be more manueverable and easier to stand in but not as good as the Penobscot in paddling efficiency and bigger open water. It all depends on which characteristic is most important.

What’s a Class II/III
What is a class II/III to you in the Ozarks? I’ve paddled for years on the Mulberry in AR with a Wenonah Spirit II. I would consider it a solid class II. However, I wouldn’t even think about taking it down the Cossatot or Richland what I would consider a class III. Well maybe someday I will.

Two years ago I purchased a 16’ Buffalo (molded with Blue Hole OCA mold) and put end bags and a center bag in it to make it my whitewater tandem. My wife and I paddled it a lot on all the class II here in AR. Recently I began to take it to Siloam Spings Whitewater Park and paddled it solo. It would surf just fine sitting down so I began to surf standing up. If one can surf standing up surely one could fish.

Unfortunately I sold that boat yesterday so I could purchase a Dagger Caption, I little more aggressive whitewater tandem. I know that I will always regret selling a boat, but it had to be done.


Another possibility
might be a Nova Craft Prospector 16 in Royalex. It would need to be on the used market, of course, but there are a bunch out there and they shouldn’t be impossible to find. Very responsive boat for its size and as versatile a canoe as I can think of. Stable enough to stand in for fishing or poling, not difficult to solo for Ozark streams (I’ve used one on the Current, Jack’s, Buffalo, Big Creek, St. Francis… did great), and can carry a big load for BWCA type trips.

The downside is that it can be a handful to solo in a wind and its a bit heavy for portaging, but still it weighs less than a lot of things that have been portaged over those trails.

Do it all canoe
Speaking of the OT Camper, not a lot of tracking ability in the camper but I have soloed it very successfully by kneeling on a pair of PFDS and pushing my butt into the thwart or yoke. I like to be just forward of center, you have absolute full control of the boat soloed like that ( the bow has just a bit more volume than the stern in the Camper) and even with it’s flat bottom you can lean the boat for faster turning when soloed. Now it’s a wide thing and it’s no racer but you can do some great stuff with it even if compromised a bit. Great fishing boat because it can drift over eddy lines and never feel a thing, not tippy, doesn’t grab the eddy line. But it is a compromise boat for long tripping, there are better choices for that. And class II rivers have to be well read in advance, you go to turn you are sliding over and meanwhile still traveling down river, you want a good bow person to help you out. Both a good river reader and paddler. But it can be done. It doesn’t have the rocker of an Appalachian for quick turning or the keel line of a an Explorer or Penbobscot for tracking… But you learn it’s ways and it’s still a good boat.

Thanks for the responses! Looking at the Camper right now on another browser.

No steady class 3 in Ozarks that I’m aware of. I’d have to travel.