Best trolling motor for canoe

Best trolling motor for canoe

Canoes are great for reaching bodies of water that might not be accessible to larger fishing boats. Not only can they be carried or dragged over land, but they can also go into very shallow and constricted waterways.

If you mount a trolling motor on a canoe, you can get around on the water faster, and fish more efficiently, and in this post, we will look at the best trolling motors for canoes.

Best Trolling Motors for your Canoe: Quick Picks

Best Overall: Minn Kota Traxxis 55SC

Best Trolling Motors for your Canoe: Full Reviews

The watersnake Tracer is another very affordable trolling motor that will save you a ton of money, but as always, you get what you pay for in some cases, and the Tracer lacks the high-tech options of other trolling motors.

The Tracer features 5 forward speeds and 2 reverse speeds, which is acceptable for common usage on a canoe.

Other standard features that are on the Tracer are the adjustable chrome-plated shaft, and adjustable angle setting on the screw clamp mount.

The Tracer features a two-blade prop design, which allows for easy movement through highly vegetated shallow water, and can slice up weeds, as well as having a lower chance of weeds wrapping around the prop and trolling motor head.

It might not be the fanciest trolling motor, but if you are on a budget, or just want one for the canoe that you use on occasion and can’t justify a higher-end model, the Tracer will work out for you just fine!

Why do you need a trolling motor for your canoe or kayak?

Trolling motor allows you to access lakes that don’t have infrastructure like boat landings and areas a short distances from trails, roads, or highways.

Simply put, you can either mount small outboard motors, a trolling motor, or use the old-fashioned method, human power via paddles.

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In many cases with anglers who want to fish out of a canoe, a trolling motor is the best option for several reasons, with the most common reason being portability.

Outboard motors are heavy, require a gas tank, still don’t give you precision boat control when fishing like a trolling motor, all this adds up to low portability.

With a trolling motor and a battery, you can easily drag or carry your canoe over land, or portage around impassible areas like rapids, it also allows for the potential to access lakes that don’t have infrastructure like boat landings and areas a short distances from trails, roads, or highways.

Paddles work, but they require the angler to spend energy paddling, and you can’t fish and paddle at the same time, so fishing efficiency is much lower, and in this category is similar to a small outboard motor, but worse.

For these reasons, trolling motors are almost always going to be your best option, unless you are fishing easily accessible and very large bodies of water that would make it impractical, but even in that case, canoes are impractical for such waters.

What to Look For in A Trolling Motor for a Canoe or Kayak


Thrust, while being very important for larger boats, isn’t as much of a concern for a canoe trolling motors because the canoe is very light and glides through the water easily.

An electric trolling motor with 35 pounds of thrust will get you moving across the water surprisingly well, and a trolling motor with 55 pounds of thrust might feel like you are on a rocket ship, and is great if you are traveling long distances.

In the thrust category, anglers fishing from a canoe have an advantage over large boats and can use smaller thrust electric trolling motors easily.


For a canoe, voltage isn’t an issue either when you compare the large trolling motors with large amounts of power and thrust.

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Typically anything under 55 pounds of thrust is going to be a 12-volt system, and thus only requires one battery hook up to the trolling motor.

Anything over 55 pounds is definitely overkill for a canoe, and electric trolling motors in the 65 to the 100-pound range is definitely not needed, and besides, who would want a 24-36 volt system and 2 to 3 batteries in their canoe, it would take up way too much space, and can potentially be dangerous.


You can get away with something like a lawnmower battery if you really wanted to and you used an electric trolling motor with lower thrust. like a 35-pound thrust trolling motor.

Your battery might not last all day, but it would get the job done for hours and hours of fishing depending on how much you use your trolling motor.

A deep cycle battery is your best bet though, and although they might be larger and heavier depending on the one you buy, will easily last you all day on the water with even heavy usage.

Control System

Most trolling motors you will use in a canoe will not have a key fob style wireless controller, as these are typically found on the higher end trolling motor models for deep-v and bass boats, but who knows, companies are always coming out with new products.

In my opinion, for a bow mount trolling motor an electric pedal controller is your best option, it can be moved around and even controlled by hand, with a long length cable,

Cable drives can work, but they are hard to control while sitting, and you have to have a firm foot and a wide range of vertical leg movement, which can be impractical in a canoe.

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A transom mount trolling motor is a great choice, as it can be easily controlled while you are seated in the rear of the canoe, only requires one hand to steer, and can be steered intermittently.

Shaft Length

Shaft length is actually more important for canoes than a normal fishing boat.

For a canoe, shorter shafts will most likely be an advantage, as you can go through shallow water without digging into the bottom.

With a transom mount trolling motor, you will most likely already have a short shaft which is another reason why transom mount trolling motors are well suited for use in a canoe.

Be sure you have clearance when

Mounting Options

There are two different mount methods, and these methods depend on the type of trolling motor being used.

Transom mount trolling motors are designed to easily be mounted, and have screw clamps that allow for easy mounting on the rear-side of a canoe or rear of a boat, and can be placed on most vertical and flat surfaces.

Bow mount trolling motors need a mounting plate that is fastened to the bow by drilling and bolts, and in some cases with canoes, you might have to create a homemade platform to mount the trolling motor to.

Best trolling motor: FAQs

Final Thoughts On Trolling Motors For Canoes

Modern electric trolling motors mounted on canoes can make for a great fishing vessel that is capable of getting to isolated bodies of water that is virtually untouched by anglers, so if you looking to fish off of the beaten path, it might be the best option for you.

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