speed with a trolling motor

I want to know how big of a trolling motor (in terms of lb thrust) you use to push a tandem canoe. What is your top speed? I know the canoe hull has a theoretical max speed limitation. But is it faster to use a 2 or 3 HP gas motor than a 30# trolling motor? Thanks.


Electric vs. Gas
A gas engine (2hp) will be faster than a 30lb electric trolling motor, especially if you’re going very far. If you want to run your trolling motor at high speed for a long time you’ll need more batteries, more charging capability…You need to make sure your canoe will handle the weight of a gas motor, especially if you’re thinking solo use. I like electric motors for trolling, but sometimes can’t get slow enough with my 30lb thrust Minnkota. I hear they make a “power paddle” design for Old Town that has a couple of slower speeds for those who troll. Whish they’d had that when I bought mine.

The electric motor will have lots of thrust. My Penobscot 17 cruises fast at level 3, and I never run it over that except to maneuver or mess around.

What boat? How big of water? How far traveling each outing? How do you want to use it?

I personally wouldn’t hang a 2 horse from anything smaller than an Old town Tripper unless it had a square back or was specialized for fishing or something like that. 27lbs or so is a lot of weight to hang off the stern edge.

Don’t quote me…
but I’ve heard that it takes 50 lb. of thrust on a trolling motor to roughly equal a 2 hp motor.

I have a canoe I paddle, and a 5.5 hp engine on 12 foot alloy boat. I’d wonder about yanking that pull rope or fiddling with the engine if it were on the stern of a canoe.

I know its done with big canoes, and I have messed with fouled plugs in open water. Not fun.

Loaded Canoe Speed and tests…

– Last Updated: Mar-09-05 10:36 AM EST –

For canoe speed I can only tell you of the one instance when I measured speed with my GPS in the canoe... Me (220 pounds) and a ton of gear for one of our big unctious campouts my friends and I do (300 pounds of gear including battery for motor) with my 36# thrust Minn Kota on speed 5 mounted on my Penobscot 16: 3 mph.
If I may, avoid 2 cycle motors completely. I know that they are enticing with their light weight and high output but they dump raw fuel into our waters. A 2 cycle engine is only 70 percent combustion efficient simply due to its 2 cycle nature (exhaust and compression in one stroke). Granted, an air-exhaust or above water exhaust would be less polluting to water but would also be pretty noisy.
I did a study of battery life with the same motor mounted on my 13 foot skiff (my own 120 pound design for sailing, rowing and motoring) with a 70 amphour standard Walmart marine battery and various speed settings and found that I could use this battery within it's limits for 7 hours. That was a nice surprise. Another test I did (same boat) was a wide open full out speed 5 run up a lake 3 miles into the river and then up the river against slow to moderate currents (1 to 3.5 mph currents from previous drift speed measurements with GPS) for 4 miles, as far a this hull (4 inch draft) could go, then turn around and use the motor at low speeds only to asist in steerage and I encountered afternoon headwinds when I got back on the lake as I cranked it back up to speed 5 to return to the ramp. Total run was 2 hours 40 minutes ( I did not delete time for head breaks etc.), 14 miles and my motor was nearly dead about a thousand yards from the ramp. I had to break out the oars to row into the wind to the ramp. All in all a great test and I was still pleased considering the run I had made against the current for so long. Considering the life you can expect out of a battery and their inherent recyclability, electric trolling motors are a great way to go.
I hope this info helps.

Me too.
From what I have read, 1 horsepower puts out roughly 25 pounds of thrust. This is an approximate that I have read is used by Naval architects based on given (and standard) prop designs.

2.5hp motor
I have an indian river14ft with a square stern. I had a 55lb thrust trolling motor on it. It moved the canoe along at a good speed even with two adults. The only thing was that my range was limited. Recently my wife bought me a 2.5hp mercury. IT WORKS GREAT! Range is no longer a problem. It runs for hours on the internal tank, and when I run out it’s easy to fill with the extra gallon of gas I bring. My canoe is pretty stable so handling the motor on the water presents no problems. It is MUCH faster than the trolling motor and the weight is close. I just use the canoe bass fishing in south florida canals, which can run for miles. Just my 2 cents. Either way get out on the water and enjoy.

What is your speed?
I have decided to get a small outboard instead of a trolling motor because of the range and weight advantage.

What is your speed with a trolling motor and an outboard respectively? Does it plane? Do you think that a 2.5 HP motor is enough for your canoe? I have a double-ended canoe that 14 feet long.

Scott is a speed freak!
I’m just joking, but if you were a car guy, you’d want a super-charged big block Chevelle for trips to the grocery store, I bet!

What 14’ double-ender do you have? Try hanging 27 lbs off the stern side and see if the weight doesn’t bother it. If it is a large volume, wide canoe, you’ll be OK. If it’s more of a narrow performance canoe, you may not like the weight. Sqare backs have more volume in the rear to handle the extra weight of a motor there. I don’t think your canoe will plane with a 2.5. My dad’s 13’ Gregor barely planes with a Honda 8.

If your canoe passes the “weight test”, this is my advice to you. Buy any modern outboard that weighs not more than 28lbs or so and you’ll love it-unless you’re looking to water-ski!

Modern two-strokes run pretty clean at very lean oil-fuel mixtures, or you could get the Honda 4-stroke which runs very clean.

Just do it.

Yes Scott is a speed freak
Does your canoe plane? LOL

Scott, I wouldn’t go with anything bigger that a Mercury Optimax 115 on that particular canoe. LOL

I have a Wenonah Fisherman 14 Kevlar
It is 14 feet long and 38 inches wide. I have a 15 lb thrust trolling motor that can only push the canoe to 2.5 mph. If we are going against 15 mph wind, the canoe moves at 0 - 0.5 mph. That is why I want to make sure the outboard will solve my problem.

If I had the space, I would have bought a jon boat in a heartbeat. Without the storage, I now settle for a motorized canoe. Actually, I kind of know that a double-ended canoe does not plane. Even if it does, it will be highly unstable. I just want to confirm that 2.5 HP is the right size.

speed with 2.5
With a 2.5 in a indian river 14ft square back,the front comes up even with my 100lb oldest son up front. It has more than enough speed.

The last time I used a gas engine on a canoe, it was a two horse two stroke on my dad’s Old Town Tripper. My buddy and I used to take it out on the Columbia and Snake river and other places. With the two of us (360lbs) and two loaded coolers-one ice for fish, one food and beverages-plus misc other gear, it still moved right along. If it got windy and the waves came up, I often had to slow down when cruising or my buddy would take too much spray as we crashed through waves enroute to wherever it was we were going. I have no idea how fast we were moving, but it was much faster than we could have ever paddled downwind, even if we were motoring upwind. In my humble opinion, a 2 or 2.5 horse engine will make your Fisherman haul.

By the way, how do you like your fisherman?

so far so good
The weight of a kelvar canoe is the best attribute. I can use it solo or tandem. It is quite stable. But it is a little wide and high, so it gets caught in the wind easily. I didn’t intend to paddle this canoe when I bought it. So it is not a big deal. I use this rig as a portable, non-trailer jon boat. Works for me.

Motors on canoes
Sorry to reply on this til now.I also have a

12’ square stern 38" wide that is rated for

a 2.5hp motor.I have been debating the electric

verses the gas decision.I see that a average trolling motor weighs 15-20 lbs then you have to

add the battery at +40 lbs!Also most canoes have a keel,the battery cannot sit flat on the hull bottom.Total price for a electric-battery to get at least 42lbs thrust 300-350 dollars.The downside with a gas engine for my case is it will have to ride inside my new fourrunner(gas smell) and cannot be placed outside because i use a fulton canoe carrier.Only thing i thought of was a large sealtite plastic bin in the back of the suv and put the motor inside after empting it.Price for motor between 500.-700.dollars depending on 2.5 -3.5hp at less than 30 lbs of weight,much less than battery and trolling motor would be.

3 hp motor on canoe

I have a 16’ OldTown Discovery. It has about a 42” beam and weighs about 85+ lbs. The rated weight capacity is 1,100 lbs. I agonized over what to do after I bought the canoe. I purchased the oars and they worked well, especially as I often fish alone, paddling with just one in the canoe in a wind (salt water) is no fun.

After about 3 months I gave in and researched motors. There are several on the market in the 1.2 to 3.5 hp range. Most are 2 cycle (with the corresponding potential for pollution) and there are some in the class that offer 4 cycle. In any case given the thrust and torque differential between the electric and gas engines I just had to go with the 2 stroke 3 hp motor. Fuel is easy to come by, and I don’t have to worry about the batteries.

I think someone needs to design a more suitable engine mount for a traditional canoe design……those with a square end are all set however those like me that have a double end canoe would like to see a more secure setup. My dealer provided a wooden transom attachment that works, however I always keep one eye on the setup as it has a tendency to loosen. I even tie a line to the motor…(just in case).

I typically motor to an area and fish…using the paddles and oars as needed then return to my launch site. The expanded range and feeling of safety are certainly an advantage. I would recommend the gas engine. I have used this setup for 8 years, it works.

What to do…
Have just moved to Alaska, and canoe finally shipped! In the past I have run a 2.5 hp Evinrude, but after 30 years it deserves a rest. I have a sail rig (a lateen sail and mast, rudder from a Sea Snark, hand made ash lee boards) that has had GOOD use. The canoe is a 1975 Grumman 17’ Square Stern Standard Weight.

Have decided to switch to electric trolling motor, but have not had the benefit of this forum to learn about them. Went ahead and ordered a Minnkota Power Drive V2 40# thrust bow mount. From what I’ve read, nobody does this, so maybe I’ve screwed up?

My thinking was that I’d run the motor up front with battery for balance. Odd to me, that there isn’t a transom mount motor with remote control option (put me and a battery and motor on the square stern, and the bow would be a couple of foot in the air!

I worried that a 40# thrust motor would be too much power, but from previous posts, it looks like I could have gone higher?

I would love to hear comments, as I am definitely in new ‘terrain’ here!