Canoeing with Trolling Motors: Exploring New Horizons

Canoeing with trolling motors opens up a world of possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a unique way to experience the tranquility of the water while still having the power to explore far and wide. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of canoeing with trolling motors, exploring the different types of motors available and the advantages they offer.

Why Mount a Trolling Motor on a Canoe?

Trolling motors are self-contained units used for propulsion, specifically designed for fishing by maintaining a constant speed and direction while pulling fishing lures or bait behind a boat. Mounting a trolling motor on a canoe offers several advantages:

  1. Increased Speed and Versatility: By mounting a trolling motor on your canoe, you can use it as a boat, allowing you to travel faster and transport passengers and gear more efficiently.
  2. Improved Fishing Experience: Trolling for fish is made easier with a canoe trolling motor, as it allows you to maintain a constant speed and direction, increasing your chances of a successful catch.
  3. Extended Fishing Time: With a canoe trolling motor, you can fish for longer periods without getting tired. It saves your arms from paddling, ensuring you have more energy to focus on catching fish.

Gas vs Electric Trolling Motors

When it comes to canoe trolling motors, you generally have two choices: gas or electric. Each has its own advantages, and your preference will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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Electric Trolling Motors are known for their quiet operation, environmental friendliness, and lightweight design. They produce minimal noise and water disturbance, making them ideal for fishing without scaring away fish. Electric motors are also powerful and come in various voltage options, offering plenty of thrust for pushing canoes through the water.

Gas Trolling Motors have been around for a long time and are renowned for their reliability and power. They are tried and tested, providing consistent performance and lasting durability. Gas motors are ideal for those who prioritize speed and range, as they can propel canoes at high speeds.

Saltwater vs Freshwater Trolling Motors

The main difference between saltwater and freshwater trolling motors lies in the materials used to make them. Saltwater trolling motor housings are made of materials that resist salt corrosion, such as stainless steel, zinc, and magnesium. It’s crucial to ensure your trolling motor is compatible with the water type you intend to navigate.

Choosing the Right Trolling Motor for Your Canoe

Selecting the right trolling motor for your canoe depends on several factors, including the size and weight of your canoe, the desired speed, and the environment in which you’ll be using it. It’s essential to consider both the thrust (measured in pounds) and the voltage of the motor to ensure it aligns with your specific requirements.

Canoe Trolling Motor Mounting Locations

There are three primary locations for mounting a trolling motor on a canoe: the bow, the stern, and the transom.

Bow Mounting provides greater canoe control and helps counter the effects of wind and current. It also prevents fishing lines from tangling in the motor propeller. However, it requires a specialized canoe motor mount and may reduce cargo space and passenger maneuverability.

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Stern Mounting is the most common location for a trolling motor on a canoe. While it offers ease of mounting and doesn’t require additional accessories, it can affect the canoe’s maneuverability and may require constant correction due to wind and waves.

Transom Mounting is specifically designed for canoes with a squareback or flat stern. It offers centered engine placement, easier control, and prevents fishing lines from tangling. Transom-mounted canoes don’t require additional mounts and provide the stability needed for a smooth ride.

How to Mount a Trolling Motor on a Canoe

Mounting a trolling motor on a canoe is a straightforward process that involves several key steps:

  1. Choose the appropriate size and type of trolling motor for your canoe.
  2. Install a motor mount if your canoe doesn’t have a built-in transom.
  3. Hang the motor’s mount over the trolling motor mounting bracket.
  4. Secure the motor by tightening the mounting bracket screws.
  5. Attach a safety line from the trolling motor to a fixed point on the canoe.
  6. Test the motor setup near the shore, ensuring it operates smoothly.

Canoe Trolling Motor Laws

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations regarding trolling motor use on canoes. In many states, canoes equipped with trolling motors must be registered and display a hull ID and registration sticker on the bow. Age restrictions and specific motor size limitations may also apply. Be sure to check your state’s canoe and kayak regulations for accurate and up-to-date information.


Canoeing with trolling motors expands your horizons, offering a unique and convenient way to explore the water. Whether you choose a gas or electric motor, proper installation and adherence to local regulations are crucial. So, get out there, experience the tranquility of nature, and enjoy the thrill of fishing with a trolling motor-equipped canoe!

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