trolling motors for canoes

I am considering getting a motor and mount for my bell royalex canoe. Its a 15.5 footer and i have no idea what kind of horse power and or thrust i need for it. Id like to do some trolling and big resevior fishing . Does anybody have any experience with this, and what kind of battery set up is best?

Motor Mount
I have a motor mount that fastens to the gunwales that I purchased from It works great. My trolling motor is a MinnKota 30lb thrust and it has all the thrust I need on my canoe. I think a good deep cycle battery is the key to good electric motor performance with a canoe.

There have been…
a few posts on this subject in the past with lots of great info and pics. Try the search area for more info. I use a 28 lbs thrust model clamped to the side of my 17 coleman an it works great but I think clamping it sideways puts the motor at risk to rocks.(some motors will flip up when bumped on a rock rather than hit hard when mounted correctly)

I agree
with the other two posts, my minnkota with a 30 lb thrust works fine. I do have a motor mount that sticks over the side and tends to unbalance my canoe until I get in. I am thinking of clamping straight to the side of the canoe. One of my projects this winter is to lengthen the wires (need fairly haevy gauge wire) so I can put the battery in the “bow” to balance weight. I already sit in the bow seat facing the stern to bring my weight closer to the center. I also use a sealed gel battery to prevent an acid spill in case of a battery falling over in either the canoe or my van (having already replaced carpet in the back of my van due to a tip over and spill)

A Warning!
If you use a trolling motor and heavy battery, Tie extra floatation into the canoe!

I used to clamp an electric motor to the motor mount I got for my Old Town Discovery 160. This 40 inch wide boat seemed ideal for this use but is was not. We flipped the canoe while we were drifting with the motor off because we are balanced challenged. The screws the clamp the motor to the mount caugh my bathing suit so it took a bit before I could extract myself and breathe again. The canoe with motor and battery were heavy enough to sink. This canoe is rated to carry at least 600 pounds of gear. But if the gear is heavier than water and the canoe fills will water it will sink! We were in 5 feet of water so we had to dive and drag the canoe along the bottom until we got to shallower water. The canoe weighed just more than the water so it would sink very slowly.

If you use a trolling motor and heavy battery, Tie extra floatation into the canoe!

Canoe wit motor, not NMZ Safe
Used to have a Mohawk 16, with trolling motor, mounted using a Old Town bracket that clamped across the gunwales.

I would suggest a short shaft 30" trolling motor.

Extra weight of the battery, and motor in the back caused the front of the canoe to ride pretty high, when alone, and steering was kind of a pain in any wind. Backing up did not always go as planned either. But it worked great.

Had a simple MinKota 27# it lasted for 5 years was still kicking when I sold the canoe, used WallMart Marine deep cycle batteries, the walmart warranty is great. On the 11th month you take it back and say it dead and they replace it.

Be careful how far you go, we were sometimes on the last few amps of the battery on the way back in… Slooowww !,

We, I’m 190 and my son who is 175, loaded with gear could get a good 4 to 6 hours of continuous useage at mediun 3 or 4 speed. Speed level 5 was considered warp speed and only used intermittently when trying to get to the spot at safe light when they sounded the Bimini start horn in tournaments.

We used it many many time in salt or brackish water and never had a problem… BPS has Minkota 27# or 30# Enduras less than 100 bucks… Saltwater versions are like 300 and up, just get a new one if it breaks. Just clean with fresh water after each use like the rest of your gear.

I often thought about mounting the battery forward or at least amid-ship’s to equal out the rear weight. You could easily run like 8 gage wire underneath the gunwales, out of the way, put battery terminals on the battery end for a good connection and a connector at the motor end.

One thought
I have the Minkota 30" with 30lb thrust. More than I need power-wise on my Penobscot 17. If I had it to do over though, I think I would buy a motor with infinite speed control. Sometimes it’s hard to get the right trolling speed. Lowest power setting can be too fast sometimes (at least to this inexperienced recreational fisherman). I wrote Minkota and according to them there’s really nothing (practical) I can do to slow down my motor. Put your battery in the front and run some 8 guage wire back to your motor. Take good care of your battery (ies) also and you’ll be a happy troller.

Fishing with Motor
I have a side motor mount on my Grumman 17 double ender. Requires sitting in the stern seat. Ballast weight up front is a must when fishing solo. The only close call I had was when I was stopped, landing a fish and the wake from a passing motor boat came very close to washing over the stern and swamping me. Otherwise pretty smooth. It is enjoyable seeing the reactions on the faces of fishermen who cruise by in their $40,000 rigs when I am catching as many or more fish in my spartan special. One other thing, sun and fun can lead to beer, beer can make you bold, bold can make you stupid, stupid can make you sorry, and sorry is no fun in deep water.

this guy has a neat set up

Regarding outrunning the fish

– Last Updated: Feb-01-05 7:07 AM EST –

The Old Town Power Paddle (MinnKota 30lb) has two fishing speeds which allows you to troll at a very slow speed and the slowest speed draws less power and provides 1/3 more running time.