trolling motor on a canoe


I could use some help/advice on attaching a trolling motor to a Mohowk Nova 16 canoe.

I’m thinking about 40 pounds thrust and a side mount that I fabricate myself.

I have the tools and the skills to work the wood, but design, right now would be trial and error, with errors held above the waterline by chain or rope !

Any advice is welcome.



motor mount

If the link doesn’t work go to LL Bean and do a search for canoe motor mount. There’s is only $50. For that price it hardly seems worth the time to make your own.

Ditto on the motor mount.
I have a removable motor mount for my 15’ Grumman which works great. I use a 28lb thrust Minkota which is more than enough motor for a canoe.

Canoe Motor Mount

– Last Updated: Jan-26-06 7:50 AM EST –

Here'a a picture of a commerical canoe motor mount;

Notice the simplicity. I've picked up a 5 ft piece of 1 1/2" extruded aluminum and some aluminum flat stock to make my own. Total cost was about $15.00 vice the $50.00 for the commercial version.

How did you bond the outter piece?

Make sure
You make it wide enough to use at either end of the canoe. If you are running solo and sitting on the front seat as opposed to the back to keep the bow down, you would want it to be able to be close enough to the front seat to make it easy to reach.

word of caution
If you encounter rocks frequently like I do, make sure your motor mount has a hinge so that you won’t damage your canoe should you bang the motor into a rock. I bought mine from that has a hinge and it works great.

a REALLY simple and effective…
way to do it, as long as you have gunwales on the canoe that you can drill vertical holes into…

Decide where you want to mount it. It should be mounted in the front of the canoe far enough in front of the front seat that it won’t interfere with your leg room (for reasons I’ll get into), or in the rear just behind the rear seat. Often the mount I’ll describe will work on both ends with some careful placement and measuring. All you do is take a 2X6 piece of lumber, cut it long enough so that it fits across both gunwales at the spot you want to mount it, with about 3-4 inches off one side, and about 12 inches off the side you want to mount the motor. Cut grooves about halfway through the board wide enough and at the proper angle to fit fairly snugly on the gunwales, so that the board sits down on top of the gunwales with the mounting end of it sticking off the side. Drill a hole through where the board sits on the gunwales that you can run bolts down through the board and through the gunwales on both sides and secure it with a wingnut. Viola! Securely mounted and effective for trolling motors.

If you dont want to drill, you can use clamps. I used this type of mount when I had a canoe. Make sure your battey is secured.

IF I come out 12 inches on both sides, I can mount the motor of either side depending on what I’m fishing and where.

Some flexiblity? Right?

theys to all the recommendations

you probably don’t need to come out from
the sides that far, just a bit wider than your motor clamps. Probably about 6-8" at the most. Unless you have problems with the width of a stream, maybe rock walls and a narrow channel, I don’t see much need to have mounts on both sides of the canoe.

Hey Al
recognize the name from Congrats on you recent recognition BTW. I also have secured a TM mount by drilling through the gunwhales. Only difference is that I went straight down rather than across. Was able to neatly fit an insert into both drill holes by using a plastic sleeve made for accomodating the caster posts on the bottom of a sofa. I just align the bracket holes with the drill holes, run a SS bolt through with a SS nut just underneath the gunwhale. No more depending on screw down brackets that can slip.

Thanks, Steven…
I think we’re both doing it the same way…except I didn’t put a sleeve in.

Jerl…yeah, you probably don’t need to go out 12 inches.

Weight on trolling versus outboard
How much does a basic electric trolling motor weigh? (like a Minn-Kota 28lb thrust, transom mount, not counting the battery weight)

I was figuring a gas motor would be much heavier, but at 30lbs for the new four-strokes, maybe the difference isn’t that great.

Gas would be a big plus on long trips that don’t have an opportunity to recharge the battery for an electric trolling motor.

Using a marine fuel tank would keep more of the weight of a four-stroke inside the boat instead of hanging off the side, it would eliminate on-the-water refueling, and the range would be limited only by your capacity to carry fuel.

What I don’t know is if the tiny four-strokes can be setup to use a remote tank, or if they use only an integral tank.

If you go gas, don’t forget to use a ‘dead man’ ignition switch, attached to your wrist, so the motor is killed by a simple tug of your arm.

Good luck.

Haven’t looked at them lately. Small
motors used to have mainly built in tanks. Mercury used to make a 4 horse that could use a remote tank. Also, I’d take a good look at the Yamaha’s, Suzuki’s, and Yamatsu’s. One of the reasons I paddle a kayak is I hate the smell of gasoline and I’m sure the fish do too.

Jus thought I’d add about 2 points of

  1. The electric motor should as close to the gunnel as practical on its mount.
  2. The motor should be as close to the end of the canoe as possible and practical. Ideally, some canoes are made with a straight end for this.

    Both of these points contribute to efficiency of the motor and the balance and maneuverability of the canoe.

    I gave the motor up and use a paddle for an aerobic workout, more fun, and much less loading and unloading. Have fun, however you do it.

I read up on the new, tiny, 4-strokes…
None of the 2- 2 1/2hp gas motors use a remote tank, you have to step up to 4-5hp to get that feature, and those are too much motor, and weight.

I hear ya’ on the smell of gas, I’m interested in a motor because I’ve been dreaming of a circumnavigation of Lake Powell, with a small gas motor I could do it in a month.

I figure it will take me 3-4 months paddling in my SOT.

If I get my new XFactor with a Spirit sail rig in time, I am doing a circumnavigation of Flaming Gorge this June, 400 miles of shoreline on the 90 mile long lake.

If I don’t get the XFactor, I will make a shorter trip of it in my Scupper Pro.

Oh, another thing I read, some of the smallest electric trolling motors weigh under 20 pounds, plus the battery.

Use a paddle. That is the essense of canoeing. Otherwise, buy a boat.

motor on canoe
Older 2 hp johnsons and mariners are great for this. A canoe is a great thing to use with a side mounted motor. You can fly a canoe and motor almost anywhere in Canada but not a “row boat”. Done this many years. A two horse on a Old Town Camper and 2 1/2 gals of gas trolls 5 days or gets you long distance inb a hurry. Did a trip into the Chapleau Game Preserve and Missinabie Provincial park with Outdoor America that will run on The Outdoor Channel in July. I know - shame on me for motor. Mercury 2.5 2 stroke is another good one.

I hate to burst your bubble…
but a canoe IS a boat. i agree with you that paddling is very pleasing and one of the most enjoyable things i can think of, but to say that it is a sin to put a motor on a canoe is ignorant. I only have one boat and it is a canoe. but when i want to fish in the evening i don’t want to spend an hour of valued daylight paddling to my destination. throw a little outboard on there and i can be fishing right away.