Trolling or outboard?

Hey all,

I want to add some propulsion to my 15’8" Old Town Discovery 158. Do you suggest a small outboard (3hp or less) or a trolling motor? I just want to be able to navigate up and down a calm river and the local lakes.

Maybe an electric trolling motor? Be aware that most states make you then register your canoe as a motorized craft…so you’ll need to pay reg fees, have those dumb stickers on the side of your canoe, you’ll need a whistle and fire extinguisher on board…as well as fore and aft running lights to use after dark. For me, it aint worth it.

I’ve got one of each
The 2.5 four stroke gas engine is far more powerful and lighter than the trolling motor (because with the trolling motor, you also get the battery). another drawback of the trolling motor is that the cables are a pain in the neck. Trolling motors aren’t that useful against even moderately strong current. If you can’t row against it, you’re not likely to be able to troll against it with an electric motor. I’ve got a 55 ft/lb thrust trolling motor for my canoe, and it’s doggone slow going upcurrent. About the same speed as rowing against current, but the advantage is that I’m not rowing. That battery lasts longer than my abdominal muscles last.

Gas engines are lighter and more powerful. That’s the pro side. The con side is that they’re a lot more expensive, requirement more maintenance and are loud. Also, some lakes do not permit gas engines, but only electric trolling motors.

  • Big D