Square-stern canoe advice

I plan to purchase a 13’or slightly shorter square-stern canoe which weighs around 60# or less to put a 2hp Honda outboard on for the purpose of birding Texas rivers. The only suitable canoe I have found so far is the Cranberry Creek Marshlander. I would greatly appreciate suggestions as to other canoes that I should consider.

How about a regular solo canoe?
You can mount a light motor, using a special bar. I’ve found the biggest problem is always carrying the battery from vehicle to boat, and am planning to experiment with a golf-cart battery. The advantage is that solo canoes can be much lighter than 60 lbs. A Wenonah Vagabond (14’) would work well. The one I had in Royalex I think weighed about 40 lbs. The graphite is only 26 or so, but is expensive.

Here’a another

However, the problem with the square back is that you have to sit sideways to operate the motor. In a boat it is not so much of an issue, but in a canoe it is so much narrower in the stern.

You should consider a side mount (as mentioned previously). http://www.jerseypaddler.com/shop/iproduct.asp?category=m_acc:acc_mount&catid=canoemount With the side mount, you can sit facing forward. You not only can better see where you’re going but balance the canoe better as well.

Lastly, canoes are different than boats. A 13’ jon boat is a good length but a 13’ canoe is very short. Consider a canoe of at least 13’ and consider a double end canoe with a side motor mount.

There are the Radisson Canoes, too


And Sports Pal

Mad RIver Freedom Solo
I recently purchased one of these and I love it.

I could see someone using it with a side-mount motor bracket. Maybe add a set of pontoons for stability (canoes are prone to capsizing if the outboard is tillered too far). The 14.5’ length and 55# makes it easily portable and it works well under paddle power too.


I tried a 2.5 on my mad river guide solo. Perhaps I did something wrong, but it didn’t go forward, it just went sideways. Too much rocker+not enough length. I was flying across the lake in a side-surf. I wanted to slow down, but spent several seconds just trying to lean the boat away from the water so i didn’t tip. Maybe with more weight and less throttle.

For your stated purpose of birding, the Sportspal or Radisson models may be your best choice. They are both aluminum, but with the floatation in the form of foam sheeting lining the interior of the canoe. This makes them quiet and not the reflector oven of a typical aluminum canoe. The Sportspal double-ended models come with a side motor mount and oarlocks. They are wide and very stable. They also have foam sponsons attached along the hull on both sides, making them one of the hardest canoes to capsize. The Radisson models are an earlier version of the Sportspal with a different hull construction that is lighter and a bit more fragile.

Solo with a motor, you will need some ballast in the front of any canoe, as the operator position will place the load center way to the rear of the balance point. This is one advantage to a square stern, its wider in the stern with more bouyancy for the addition weight of the motor.

Old Town and Wenonah also make square stern models, the Old Town Discovery Sport models are very stable and quiet, but HEAVY. The Wenonah Bluegill is the lightest in Kevlar, but the most expensive. Some other choices for you to consider.



– Last Updated: Mar-27-06 10:49 PM EST –

has a 15'7" square stern


I know this a bit bigger than you had in mind, but consider
1. If you are going to paddle at all, this one will paddle much better than a 13 footer and will have less draught than the 13 footer for getting into some shallow sloughs and wetlands.

2. I think a larger, longer canoe gives you a better ride under power, especially if you have any wind and waves.

3. More room to move about in the boat.

4. the weight is 64, a little more than you had planned, but for the size I think that is real good.

5. This aluminum canoe will take a beating, never have to worry much about repairs or careful storage. It will out-last a fiberglass or plastic canoe by many decades.

Nothing wrong with a Jonboat
I think a jon boat with oars and a small motor would be a more better platform if you primary objective is birding. They row well and motor much better than a canoe.

Esquif Mallard
Square stern - 12’ long - 45 pounds - Light weight Royalex layup. Sounds like they built it for you. Can be had in camo inside and out.