Fishing Canoes: Catching Fish in a Classic Style

Choosing the Right Fishing Canoe For You

You being here means that you are interested in fishing from a canoe. Probably you are already familiar with fishing, and you have tried it at least a couple of times, and now you want your own fishing gear, including a canoe.

Not to worry, though, even if you have fished from a kayak, paddle board, or a regular motorized boat until now, everything can be readjusted and fitted into a fishing canoe, so I won’t be taking anything away by showing you canoe fishing gear.

Firstly, I would have to say to those who are giving up motorized boats for fishing canoes, kudos to you! Indeed, you may lose some initial speed, but you are also saving a lot of money on licenses, maintenance, storage, and you are better for the environment.

I mean, fishing is all about enjoying your time on the water. It’s an activity when everything slows down, and you take that time to yourself to relax and become one with nature. So, once you master that type of patience, you enter a whole different realm of tranquility. And in order to learn the art of slowing down, fishing is the best hobby to take up. However, to truly embrace the patient art of the angler, one must do so on a canoe or a kayak.


Fishing canoes guidelines

Canoes aren’t your regular fishing boat thanks to their curve shape that provides stability and balance in any type of water. I love fishing canoes because of their vast storage spaces where you can safely store your fresh catch but also plenty of gear, snacks, and whatever else makes you feel good on the water when near you.

However, when buying your next best fishing canoe, you cannot just pick any canoe and hope it will live up to its promise. You still have to follow some guidelines and specifications to be sure that your canoe will provide you with the best fishing experience out there.

Once you choose your type of canoe, you can go on solo fishing trips, family, or tandem multi-day trips, or one-day fishing excursions, and your fishing gear will live up to the task.

With that said, here are the things that make fishing canoes differ from each other, and here’s how to know which one is the right for you:

What to Look For

Fishing canoes come in different sizes, types, and shapes that affect your fishing, which is why you have to understand the science behind them if you want to choose something that will last you for years on end. Let’s get to it.

The fishing canoe is close to the fishing kayak, where I wrote more about here

You cannot buy a fishing canoe without knowing what type of fishing you’ll be doing the most frequently. With that in mind, there are three main types of fishing canoes for anglers on the market at the moment:

  • Recreational
  • Multi-Purpose
  • River

The names as such don’t tell you anything, so let’s go one by one and explain each specific type to help you make the right choice.

The recreational canoe is the best fishing canoe for those looking for stability with flat-water paddling. You can just paddle and explore or go fishing, and this canoe will be up to the task.

I found that recreational canoes have a design that enables them to be easy for handling and giving you complete control with their high stability, so it’s relatively difficult to be flipped over (although not impossible – so don’t try it).

The only thing I would say recreational canoes lack is agility since they are sturdy and well-balanced, so they aren’t that agile as the other boats.


The multi-purpose canoe for fishing is excellent for both recreational paddling and fishing. Still, unlike the recreational canoe, this one offers more agility as it is built for both calm lakes and whitewater rivers.

Being multi-purpose, this fishing canoe has more storage capacity to offer so that you can carry a lot more on board with you for your fishing trips and excursions.

So, if looking to fish in different types of waters and you want to paddle recreationally from time to time, the multi-purpose canoe is ideal for you.

The river canoes are an excellent choice for fishing in rivers. Their design is built to withstand every type of water a river can have, from flat-water rivers to running rapids and whitewater.

These fishing canoes are abrasion- and impact-resistant and are very stable with their rocker space, which is really an upward curve in the hull throughout the length of the canoe. This rocker provides great control and excellent maneuverability.

Another critical aspect of choosing your perfect fishing canoe is the size of the boat itself. Surely the type will make all the difference, but the size matters too (wink, wink).

The dimensions of the boat, the length, beam (width), and depth of your canoe will determine where you can take your canoe to, in which types of waters, and where it will perform optimally or poorly.


The length affects the speed of the canoe and its carrying capacity. Namely, the longer your fishing canoe is, the easier it will be for you to paddle and control it after getting it to speed up. When it comes to picking the optimal length, canoes of about 16 to 17 feet are ideal because of their substantial carrying capacity and the tendency to be speedy vessels.

The width of a fishing canoe, logically, affects the stability of it on the water. The wider your canoe is, the more stable it will be, but there’s a catch. Wide canoes tend to be more challenging to control and maneuver, while narrower canoes will be more comfortable to paddle and keep on a constant path.

The trade-off will also be that narrow canoes are easily tipped over while wide canoes are fairly more stable. So, keep these things in mind when comparing what you would like to buy.

I would say if you are a complete rookie, then definitely go for a wider fishing canoe and longer that will provide you with more stability. You may have less agility and maneuverability, but at least you will be safe in the water. Plus, hey, it’s fishing; it’s not like you will go canoe racing down the whitewater.


But, if you are someone who already has some experience with canoeing and you had fished from a kayak or canoe before, then upgrade to a faster canoe that is narrower, which will be more agile and more comfortable to handle in all water conditions.

However, before making that final decision, here’s what you have to know about the depth of canoes and how it affects their performance on the water.

The depth of a canoe is measured in the distance from the canoe’s gunwales or side rails to the bottom of the boat.

If you go for a deep canoe, it will have tall sides, which will make keeping water out more manageable, but it will also provide you with more storage space along its sides. You can safely store your fresh catches of the day, and you can bring along more gear with you.

However, one other thing to keep in mind is that the taller the boat is, the more responsive it will be to wind.

The best fishing canoes for your needs

Now that we have gone through all types of fishing canoes and we have looked into all possibilities of canoe designs and how they affect a canoe’s performance, it’s time to dive into my best fishing canoe list of picks that will surely help you find what you are looking for.

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS Canoe

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS Canoe

With enough space to comfortably seat three adults, the Sun Dolphin Mackinaw SS Canoe is just right for a small team of anglers. The 800-pound capacity canoe steers just like a standard canoe, but it also has the benefit of a built-in motor transom. The American-made boat is constructed with durable UV-stabilized ‘Fortiflex’ high-density polyethylene and has a dry-storage container, a cooler, and beverage holders onboard. This recreational canoe will help you reel in some prize-worthy fish.


Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe

Built for calm-water fishing, the Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe is a recreational boat made with comfortable contoured EVA foam seats. The 14-foot fishing vessel is constructed from roto-molded ‘Gen2’ high-density polyethylene for fantastic durability. The 3-person paddler has an 875-pound weight capacity, so you can load her up with tons of floppy fish. With a multi-chine hull design and multiple beverage holders to keep your brew stable as you wait for a bite, this canoe has it all.


Lifetime Kodiak 130 Canoe

As its name suggests, this canoe is designed to last a lifetime of fishing on the open sea. Built using UV-protected high-density polyethylene, the Lifetime Kodiak 130 Canoe has a hull designed to extinguish the tippy boat stereotype. It has a patented skeg wheel design, three molded-in seats, and comfy luggage-style handles. And it’s rated for use with an electric motor with a 40-pound thrust rating in case you want to ditch the paddles.


Sevylor Colorado

This Sevylor Colorado inflatable canoe is a two-person boat with a bag for extra storage. Thanks to its design it is stable and comfortable so that you can use it in rivers, lakes and it is also ideal for seashores too.

With its broad shape, it combines stability and comfort when out on the water. Ultra-stable, high-performance Colorado is the ideal choice for a wide range of water adventures. Two paddles and a foot pump are already included, and you are ready to go. Thanks to the removable fin and welded directional strakes, the Canadian canoe offers maneuverability.

The blow-up canoe is easy to inflate and deflate thanks to the Boston valves. The two-way valves allow you to control the air entering and leaving the air bladder. To inflate, unscrew the top cap and insert the pump. An air security flap will prevent air leakage once the pump is removed. To deflate, simply unscrew the entire valve. The Colorado comes with a manometer – making it simple to check the pressure during inflation.

The fishing canoe is ideal for two adults and can be used for various activities, such as leisure paddling, fishing, and tours on a river. Its comfortable, adjustable seats are removable, meaning the canoe can be switched from a one to a two-person model in no time. A highly effective drainage system quickly channels water out of the canoe.

Due to the stable construction, the inflatable canoe is convincing with high performance on the water. The three chambers are separated from each other for an extra level of safety. The durable polyester cover and the floor made of fabric-reinforced material (tarpaulin) protect the canoe from abrasion and damage. The exchangeable PVC side chambers, as well as the PVC floor chamber with I-beam construction, ensure high stability. The canoe can be easily carried around thanks to the four ergonomic handles (one in the front, the rear, as well as on both sides).

  • Capacity: Two adults
  • Convert between two or one person canoe
  • Maximum load capacity: 200 kg
  • Weight: 15 kg
  • Size inflated: 331 x 88 cm
  • Inflated in under 10 minutes
  • Ultra-durable tarpaulin shell
  • PVC side chambers and floor chambers with I-beam construction
  • Three independent chambers
  • Boston valve for easy inflation/deflation
  • Manometer for pressure control
  • Two removable, adjustable seats with high backrests and an inflatable sitting area
  • Removable fin and welded directional strakes for high maneuverability
  • Four carry handles

The Sevylor Colorado canoe comes with paddles, foot pump, carry bag, manometer, fin, and repair set.


Mad River Journey 156

This sophisticated canoe model by famous designer Jim Henry is a versatile vessel that provides you with the stability you need when you are fishing. The Mad River Journey 156 fishing canoe features a ‘Triple Tough TT” shallow arch hull, roto-molded stern, polyethylene handles, and a moderate rocker. To assist you in the catch of the day, the canoe also has a fishing rod holder. Thanks to an excellent design, this versatile boat can be taken to just about any location to hook some high-protein dinner.

Buyers from the EU go here to purchase this canoe.


Old Town Discover 169 Canoe

If you need to paddle out longer distances to get to your sweet spot, this fishing canoe is designed to get you there even when it’s fully loaded with gear. The Old Town Discover 169 Canoe has a whopping weight capacity range between 1,350-1,400 lbs, providing you with ample storage space. The three-layer polyethylene construction offers passengers with a stable ride, and the nylon web seats stay comfy even during long fishing sessions that test your patience.


Old Town Penobscot 174 Canoe

Track and glide on the water with ease using the longest Penobscot in the series. The 174 Canoe is a dog-friendly boat with aluminum gunwales, nylon web seats, and easy-to-grip built-in carrying handles. The three-layer polyethylene construction makes this a reliable boat for weekend fishing trips. Old Town is so confident in its design that this boat comes with a lifetime hull warranty.


MyCanoe Canoe 3.0

Boasting a single-seam construction, the Canoe 3.0 has all the specs of the basic patented design by MyCanoe but with the added convenience of being compatible with a rowing system. It has a double-layer marine-grade hull, marine-rated materials, and it’s built with two seats you can place in eight different locations. The 36-pound fishing canoe comes with a 16-pound accessory bag for easy transportation to your fishing site. It’s capable of carrying two anglers plus gear and fish for a total load of 440 lbs.


Aire Traveler Inflatable Canoe

For those on-the-go or spontaneous moments when you just have to scratch your itch for a fishing trip, the Air Traveler Inflatable Canoe will come in handy. Keep this inflatable fishing canoe in your SUV, and you’ll never be caught without a boat when you want some peace and quiet. This 15-foot fishing canoe has a urethane hull, three air chambers, and weighs in at 70 lbs.


Onak Canoe 2.0

Featuring a revolutionary pulley system, the Onak Canoe 2.0 is incredibly easy to set up with fewer parts than the previous iteration. You can fold down the full-size canoe to carry-on size in no time. The 33-pound foldable fishing canoe is pretty sturdy, too, as it can hold 551 lbs. The fully recyclable fishing boat is definitely one of the most convenient canoes on the list.


Mad River Explorer 16 Ultralite

The Mad River Explorer 16 Ultralite fishing canoe has a classic design and a massive 1,100-pound capacity to carry all your fishing gear and catches for the day. It has an ‘Aramid Ultralite’ hull for higher mileage per stroke, web seats with aluminum gunwales, and a flared symmetrical silhouette. For those searching for a classic canoe that can handle rivers, look no further.

Sanborn Prospector Fishing Canoe

Sanborn Prospector Canoe

Built with a mix of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and kevlar, the 16-foot long Sanborn Prospector canoe is a responsive fishing vessel to help get you to the area with plentiful bites with ease. Built for long fishing trips, this canoe is trimmed in ash and cherry hardwood and has a gel-coated finish for extra protection. Sit on the comfy caned seats and enjoy nature while waiting for a bite on the American-made Prospector canoe.

Check out more inflatable canoes and kayaks here

And there you have it, fellow canoers. I hope this list of fishing canoes and the guidelines to go by have helped you narrow down your choice of finding the best fishing canoe for you. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to leave me a question in the comment section below. I’d be happy to help!

In the meantime, I’d love to connect with you on my Facebook and Instagram account for more cool tips and recommendations on paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks.

I might earn a small commission when you make a purchase through my link, so that I can keep my site running and pay the hosting bill. Read my affiliate policy to learn more.
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Review written by: Tom

Hi! My name is Tom. During the year I try to be on a paddle board as much as possible. By reading this blog you'll stay updated on everything I test on the water :)

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