CAMPING & HIKING

Best Fishing Canoe: Finding what Floats your Boat

Men fishing on a canoe
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

Imagine yourself in a quiet spot, out in the middle of a body of water, with nothing but the sounds of nature and a fishing rod in your hand. Sure, you could stay on the banks and fish, or you could untether yourself from land and seek out fish on the water. If you want to leave dry land behind, then let me be your guide to find the best fishing canoe for your next expedition.

Preparing to fish

When you begin your search for a canoe, there are a few features to consider. Buying a canoe is a great investment and you want to be sure to find a model that caters to you and what you will want to bring with you out on the water.

What’s in a canoe?

A common misconception is that kayaks and canoes are the same thing. Let’s take a closer look at the differences to see which one caters better to what you are looking for.

  • Body – The body of a canoe is usually open with free room to store items and move around. A kayak is built to be smaller and closed off with only a small oval opening for your torso to stick out of. Some kayaks offer an open body style as well.
  • Size – A canoe is easily made to carry 2-3 people. The width and length of a canoe is usually larger. Kayaks are mainly one person, or sometimes two and feature more of a molded in seating area.
  • Function – When on the water, a canoe is made to get from place to place with ease and at a moderate speed. Kayaks are made for fast travel, with a sleek design and lightweight body. This is a great option for exploring or going down a harsher rivers with rapids.

Now that you have an idea of the differences, let’s further explore some features that you should take into consideration when looking for the best canoe for fishing.

Weight

When you begin looking at different canoes or kayaks, it is important to figure out how much it weighs and if it has handles for easy pulling it in and out of the water. If you have a bad back or can only lift so much alone, then you need to search for a light weight option, or go out with others who can help lift and set it up.

Storage

Will you be going out for a day fishing trip, or will you turn this expedition into a weekend camping trip? How much you will carry with you is a large factor in picking out a canoe. Some have suggested tying a small raft to the back of your canoe to carry additional items, but it’s not really worth the risk of it flipping or detaching.

Rowing the fishing canoe

If you are going to carry a lot of stuff, then invest in a great canoe that offers optimum storage. It can be helpful to sit down and make a list of what items you need to bring with you. Most canoes offer some level of storage, while others can give specific compartments for each item.

Capacity

Are you going to be riding solo, or will you bring along a friend or dog? Canoes are mostly upfront about how many people they can carry. Also, be sure to factor in how much your carry-on items weigh along with you and anyone else.

If you are planning to have more than one person riding, you will need to look for the best fit for your individual heights. If you are both over 6 foot, then a longer canoe would be easier to fit in and offer more stability.

It is also a good idea to check reviews. Some kayaks or canoes will state a weight limit, but other people have tested it and found it to be difficult to use over a certain weight limit or height size.

Comfort

If you are going to be out on the water all day, comfort is key for your canoe or kayak. A few features will give you the confidence to paddle out knowing that you will be able to enjoy your trip.

Canoe comfort for fishing

You are mainly going to be sitting, so one of the first things you need to look at is the seat. Some canoes will come with the standard no-back bench seat. Others have now included better padded and adjustable seats that can recline to give you a better way to relax.

Some canoes are sturdy enough to stand up in while you fish. If you will get antsy sitting down all day, then this is another option you need to consider. Also some canoes will offer additional support add ons to better stabilize it in the water for standing.

Materials

Nowadays it is becoming normal to see inflatable canoes on the market. After many trials and test, manufacturers have developed easy to use canoes that inflate for use and deflate for storage. Most will come with a repair kit for any issues.

You can also go the traditional route and purchase a sturdy polyethylene version that has been tried and tested for years. There really is no wrong option, it just depends on what you feel most comfortable with.

Where will you go

Another important feature to look at is how the canoe or kayak is meant to be handled in certain bodies of water. Some will come with salt-resistant finishes for better ocean exploring, while others are made for calmer waters.

It’s important to look at the build of the body. A higher arched front will give you better coverage from water splashing in, while others are built more for speed and maneuvering through rapids and strong currants.

Accessories

Some canoes will come with a basic two-seat configuration and will offer some storage by your feet or between your legs. More upscale versions will offer dry storage compartments, cup holders, rod holders and bungee straps to hold down large items.

Canoe fishing accessories

This is important because you will want to figure out what you want to have while out on the water, since it isn’t easy to come back to shore every time you need something. You will need to know if you want an easy no frills canoe, or if having multiple compartments and holders are what you need for some stress-free time out on the water.

Another add on feature some canoes will offer is a separate trolling motor. This option gives you the chance to put the paddles down and let the motor do all the work getting you out and about; a good option to have when your arms are tired.

Since we have looked into some specifics and features that are offered in standard canoes and kayaks, do you have a picture in mind of what you are looking for? Let’s take a look at some of the models that are available for purchase right now.

Choose Your Canoe

Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable Canoe

Advanced Elements Convertible Inflatable CanoeCapacity: 2 people, 550 pounds

Length: 15 feet

Weight: 56 pounds

Features: Three layers of material to resist punctures; High support, Adjustable padded seats; Mesh pocket; Repair kit.

Made for easy mobility and setup, this inflatable canoe is ready to go within 10 minutes of setup. Three layers of material give this inflatable canoe an extremely durable body. Easily switch from double to single by adjusting the seats.

Electronically welded seams keep air in and water out. This canoe features a large body for easy carry on storage and D-rings to clip stuff on. Also built in is a mesh pocket to keep small items secure and within easy reach.

This canoe comes with a carry bag and repair kit. Depending on where you purchase this canoe from, it may or may not include an air pump or paddles. The manufacturer also has specific add-ons that you can purchase to better customize this canoe to your needs.

Check the price on Amazon

Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak

Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing KayakCapacity: 1 person, 280 pounds

Length: 10 feet

Weight: 44 pounds

Features: Two flush mount rod holders; One swivel rod holder; Large seating area; Portable Accessory Carrier; Dry storage compartment; Adjustable foot braces.

The Sun Dolphin Journey Fishing Kayak is a smaller but sturdy kayak. It is made with high-density polyethylene for the best durability. A large open seating area with adjustable foot braces gives you all day comfort. Built in fishing rod and paddle holders give you hands free when you need it.

A removable storage compartment can be used to hold items or be removed to fit larger items under a bungee security cord. A front bungee security area easily holds smaller bags or a tackle box. An easy access compartment stores other dry good. Retractible carrying handles allow you to transport this kayak with ease.

Comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Various reviewers have stated that the 10-foot version is not recommended for a larger or taller person.

Check the price on Amazon

Old Town Loon 106 Angler Kayak

Old Town Loon 106 KayakCapacity: 1 Person, 325 pounds

Length: 10 feet 6 inches

Weight: 46 pounds

Features: Click seal storage compartment; Two deck bungee areas; Cup holder; Active comfort system 2.0 seat.

The Old Town Loon 106 angler Kayak was made for a long day of fishing. The upgraded active comfort system seat is made to support and keep you dry all day. The chair has a shaped back rest and supportive seat that is lined with breathable perforated foam.

This kayak is fitted with plenty of storage with a cup holder, a click seal hatch for dry storage, and two bungee holding areas. New to this model is a removable work deck with a USB charging device. This will give you all day charge for your phone, camera or any other small electronic.

Extremely durable with a three-layer polyethylene body and a flat hull give this kayak great stability while you are on the water. This kayak seats one person easily. It does not come with a paddle. Available in five great colors ranging from neutral camo to bright yellow lemongrass.

Check the price on Amazon

Perception Sport Pescador 12 Kayak

Perception Sport Pescador 12 KayakCapacity: 1 person, 375 pounds

Length: 12 feet

Weight: 64 pounds

Features: Removable stadium style seat; Two open bungee covered storage areas; Two molded in rod holders; Center console for putting in a fish finder.

The Perception Sport Pescador Kayak was made with you in mind. As a single person kayak, it is able to comfortably hold you, a cooler, tackle gear, two rods and plenty more. Built in handles give you ease for carrying this kayak in and out of the water.

An interior compartment unscrews for dry storage inside the kayak body. A mesh bow cover in the front and a bungee cord area in the back give you ample storage with the security of holding it in place. A bungee on the side holds your paddle tight and secure when not in use.

Two molded cup holders and rod holders give you the handsfree storage you need. A center console compartment holds a battery for a fish detector. A paddle is not included.

Check the price on Amazon

Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak

Sea Eagle Inflatable KayakCapacity: Up to 3 people or 650 pounds

Length: 12 feet

Weight: 32 pounds

Features: Sun and saltwater resistant hull; 2- carry handles; inflates in 8 minutes; includes storage bag, foot pump, repair kit and paddle.

From bag to water in about 10 minutes, the Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak is a great option for individuals who prefer a blow-up boat for easier storage. This kayak is built to be super durable, so you can bring along a dog without worrying about punctures.

A quick repair kit is included if you do have any issues and estimate time for the repair is about 10 minutes. This kayak also comes with two 7’10’’ paddles, two deluxe inflatable seats, a foot pump and easy to carry bag.

The kayak states it can carry three people. However, reviews state that it would be difficult with a third adult due to limited space and only two provided seats. You are able to purchase an additional seat on the Sea Eagle’s website. If the third person is a child, then they could easily sit between someone’s legs.

When inflated, this kayak has plenty of room to store a small cooler and other items. At 12 feet in length you are also able to easily store your fishing rod too!

Check the price on Amazon

Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak

Lifetime 10 Foot Fisher KayakCapacity: Up to 3 people or 500 pounds

Length: 10 feet

Weight: 60 pounds

Features: Three fishing rod holders; multiple footrest positions for different sized riders; includes two paddles; Paddle clips; 6’ storage hatch; Stand and fish.

Comfort and durability are combined to make the Lifetime Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak. It is made with high density polyethylene and backed with a 5 year limited manufacturer warranty. The hull is designed to give you great stability and tracking while on the water. Easy to use for standing and fishing.

This kayak can easily fit three people with cutout grooves for sitting. It also accommodates with multiple foot rests to fit any height. Three built in fishing pole holders give ease of traveling and storage.

Installed are two paddle holders so that you don’t have to worry about losing them. Four bungee cords allows you to secure larger items. Two padded backrests give you all day comfort to sit back and relax while you paddle or fish.

Check the price on Amazon

Esquif Pocket Canyon Cargo Canoe

Esquif Pocket Canyon Cargo CanoeCapacity: 2 people, up to 350 pounds

Length: 14.5 feet

Weight: 59 pounds

Features: Royalex exterior; Large carrying capacity; Flared front and back; Able to paddle with one or two people; Great for rafting.

The Esquif Pocket Canyon Cargo Canoe is a lighter, smaller and smarter version of the bestselling Canyon. Since it is smaller, it paddles well as a duo canoe or if you choose to take it out solo.

The upwards flared front and back of the canoe, protect you from choppy waves and keep from getting water inside. Built with Royalex material, this canoe is able to take beating after beating without damaging or breaking.

Two built in standard webbing bench seats are able to be fitted with thigh straps for more security when rafting. Large with an open space design, this canoe offers plenty of room to carry all of your fishing and camping gear with ease.

Check the price on Amazon

Sevylor Coleman Colorado 2-person Fishing Canoe

Sevylor Coleman Colorado Fishing CanoeCapacity: 2 people, up to 470 pounds

Length: 10 foot, 9 inches

Weight: 40 pounds

Features: Multiple air chambers; Airtight system guaranteed not to leak; Rod holders; Paddle holders; D-rings for attachment; Mesh storage pockets.

The features of Sevylor Coleman Colorado fishing Canoe were made to give you a great experience out on the water. This canoe is made with 18-gauge PVC construction, that is rugged and gives you incredible durability while out in harsher waters.

Fitted with multiple air chambers, if something happens while you are away from shore, the other chambers will keep you afloat. The seats are adjustable, so that you can find the best balanced fit for you and your partner.

Equipped with two rod holders, D-rings for clipping on stuff and mesh storage pockets to hold small items. Holders have been added to secure the paddles when they are not in use. For ease of transport, carry handles have been built in for easy toting in and out of the water.

Air pump and paddles are not included. If you want more power, Sevylor offers a trolling motor that can attach to this canoe. This canoe comes with a one year limited warranty.

Check the price on Amazon

Ready Your Fishing Canoe

When it comes down to canoe shopping, there really is no one-size-fits-all model. What you need to decide on is what size fits your comfort and will hold everything you want to bring.

Fully equipped fishing canoe

A fishing canoe is a great investment, so don’t settle on a lesser model if you won’t be happy, comfortable and secure in it. That said, go and enjoy the peaceful time out on the water in the canoe or kayak of your dreams.

If you have anything to add or a question to ask, then feel free to leave us a comment!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Tyler LeBlanc

    Very useful information. I would not have thought about easy it was to pull it in and out out of water and how big it needed to be depending on how many people you were bringing, or if you were bringing a furry friend. I tend to just be excited and tell everyone come on let’s go! I will have to remember this information for next time, though!

  • Josephine Charles

    The canoe in that last picture is simply amazing! Do you know if they created that themselves? That’s so awesome. I really am digging that canoe. I usually just use them to paddle around on the lake, I never really used one of go fishing but that seems like a really good idea. Thanks for this article. I am going to keep that in mind next time my husband wants to go on a fishing trip in a huge boat. I will just refer him to this article and show him canoes can be just as good!

  • Jerry Mueller

    I’m glad the information helped you a lot Tyler. We’ve used the Lifetime 10 Foot Sport Fisher Tandem Kayak and indeed, it can fit 3 people – just make sure you stay within weight limits, too. Otherwise, you’re going to have a problem. As for anything else, be proactive and check the status of your gear or equipment!
    Happy Canoeing!

  • Jerry Mueller

    Are you referring to that green canoe?
    Anyway, not all canoe are created equal. So choose one that is fitted for you. Depending on what kind of fishing you’ll be going or gear you’ll be bringing – the canoe must fit what you need. Going canoeing on a lake is still the best for me. It’s very relaxing and can give you ample time to reflect and just do your thing! 🙂

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