square stern canoe questions

I was hoping someone might be able to help me pick out the right canoe for me and my kids. We have a lot of small lakes where we live and to be honest I have never owned a canoe. My kids are 5 and 3 and I would like to take them out on the water in a small safe canoe and teach them to fish. I was thinking about a square stern canoe, like the Old Town Disovery, with a motor. Could anyone tell me if this is a good choice and give any suggestions as to a good motor (electric).



My Old town Discovery
had points at both ends the last time I looked !



Actually, there is a Discovery Sport 15 model by Old Town which is square-sterned. Once on the water, it would be fine for what you describe. However, it weighs 113 pounds, which is quite a lot to cartop. If you are settled on a square-stern, you might want to look for a royalex boat - they are more expensive but weigh less.

On the motor, canoes are easy to propel, so pretty much any motor will do. However, I would suggest thtat you reconsider using a motor. A paddle with good technique can get you around quite well, and even without good technique you can easily cover several miles in an afternoon. You say there are small lakes nearby, so I’d suggest sticking with them and staying near the boat ramp while you are learning the skill of paddling, and then you can venture out to more places.

Also, with a narrow canoe, it is somewhat awkward operating a motor behind you, and the extra gear adds some hassle to your day (Did you remember to bring the battery? Is it charged? Will the charge run out while you are far from the launch spot?). It also might distract you from the kids. Under paddle power, you will always be facing forward and looking at them (not to mention you’ll already be holding a nicely shaped 5-foot long piece of wood, which could come in handy for breaking up fights etc).

By the way, you don’t have to have a square-stern boat to use a motor. You can get a motor mount attachment that fits any pointy-ended canoe. These are a little easier to operate since you don’t have to twist around so far. They cause the canoe to “yaw” a little (deviate from straight) but that’s not a problem on most lakes, and I have even seen them used successfully on fairly narrow streams, once you get used to it.

Back on the canoe, if you can give up the square stern, there are quite a few models available that are stable enough for you and are in the 60-80 pound range, which would be better for cartopping. I’d suggest you check your local area for used canoes, then come back here to list the model name and price, and we can tell you if it is stable enough for you and if it sounds like a good deal.

By the way, if you find a deal on a square-back, there’s nothing wrong with them - they can be paddled, too. It’s just that they are fairly rare and so you’ll have more luck shopping for a regular boat. However, I see that craigslist in Reno has one for $450 that’s supposed to be an Old town and “is probably royalex”, which I’d guess is probably wrong, but it might be. If it is, that looks like a great price.

Discovery Sport
I have an older Discovery Sport (the 13 ft. version) and have a 3 hp Sears Gamefisher motor that I use to push it aroud. It moves the boat at a reasonable clip. The 2 stroke engine is pretty noisy though. For more serene outings I use one of my kayaks.