Best Trolling Motor for Canoe: 7 Top Options

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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 Budget
Newport Vessels NV-series 36 lb
Newport Vessels NV-series 36 lb
9.6

You really cannot beat the price on this model from Newport Vessels, it’s less than 200 dollars, and has features that make it excellent for canoes.

Best Overall
Minn Kota Traxxis 55SC
Minn Kota Traxxis 55SC
9.8

It’s affordable, can be mounted easily due to being a transom-mounted trolling motor, and has plenty of power.

This trolling motor is in our opinion the best all-around trolling motor for fishing from a canoe.

Best Saltwater
Newport Vessels Kayak Series
Newport Vessels Kayak Series
9.7

The Newport vessels kayak series is similar to the Traxxis in terms of advantages, and it adds the advantage of being constructed for use in salt water as well.

Best Trolling Motors for your Canoe: Full Reviews

Minn Kota Endura C2 55
Minn Kota Endura C2 55
Minn Kota Endura C2 55
Our Score

Minn Kota is the most popular trolling motor brand on the market today, and the Endura is the perfect trolling motor for Canoe fishing.

The Endura is incredibly affordable compared to other trolling new Minn Kota trolling motors on the market today, so not only do you get a quality trolling motor that works great on a canoe, but you also save some serious cash.

The Endura has 5 different speed settings for moving in a forward direction and 3-speed settings for reverse. you can go slow and stealthy in shallow water to full speed ahead to quickly get to your next fishing spot.

The shaft is made of a fiberglass composite which allows for significant flex when under strain or force from hitting objects, which means that hard impacts won’t permanently bend the shaft and cause a catastrophic failure.

  • Composite shaft
  • Decent variety of speed settings
  • Very affordable
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb
Newport Vessels NV-Series 55lb
Our Score

The Newport Vessels NV series with 55 pounds of thrust is great for larger canoes that might have up to 2 or 3 anglers and will provide a ton of speed and power.

Like similar designs, the NV series features a standard 5 speeds for forward movement and 3 speeds for reverse.

The NV series is saltwater water rated, which means it can handle the corrosive effects of saltwater, which means it l be very reliable as a freshwater trolling motor as well.

The NV series was designed to provide long-lasting battery life instead of just providing maximum amounts of thrust, giving you a very long lifespan between battery charges.

The battery life is combined with a 3 bladed prop for more performance when lower speed settings are used.

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • 3 blade prop
  • Rated for saltwater use
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb
Newport Vessels NV-Series 36lb
Our Score

The 36-pound thrust version of the Newport vessels NV series is the exact same in terms of features as the 55 pounds of thrust model.

For a canoe, 36 pounds of thrust is more than adequate for power, and you can easily scoot around from spot to spot and fish for longer periods of time due to less power consumption when used at higher power levels.

One difference between the two models is that the 36-pound version only has a two-blade propeller instead of a three-blade propeller, but this doesn’t affect performance.

  • Long-lasting battery
  • 30″ shaft length
  • Light and portable
MotorGuide X3 Bow Mount Foot-Controlled Trolling Motor
MotorGuide X3 Bow Mount Foot-Controlled Trolling Motor
MotorGuide X3 Bow Mount Foot-Controlled Trolling Motor
Our Score

This trolling motor is a classic and can be found in use on a variety of boat types.

The X3 features a cable drive foot pedal for fast and easy directional changes and features what is known as proprietary variable-ratio steering.

The trolling motor propeller is a two-blade weedless prop that will allow you to travel in relatively thick submergent vegetation.

The outer shaft of the X3 is made from stainless steel, and many critical components are also made from stainless steel hardware.

  • Stainless steel shaft
  • Weedless prop
  • Variable-ratio steering
MinnKota Traxxis 55SC
MinnKota Traxxis 55SC
MinnKota Traxxis 55SC
Our Score

The Minn Kota Traxxis is a very affordable and high-quality trolling motor with some pretty awesome features.

The tiller handle/speed control can extend up to 6 inches and upwards at a 45-degree angle.

One of the best features of the Traxxis is the digital maximizer that extends the life of your battery charge by 5 times.

The variable speeds let you fine-tune your speed so you can either get to a spot faster or slowly cruise while casting.

  • Variable speed control
  • Digital maximizer/extended battery life
  • Adjustable and extendable tiller handle
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55lb
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55lb
Newport Vessels Kayak Series 55lb
Our Score

The Newport vessels kayak series was specifically designed for kayaks, but the same advantages of the kayak design translate to canoe usage as well.

The Newport Vessel Kayak series has some awesome features for canoe users.

It features a compact shaft that allows you to keep the trolling motor itself closer to the surface which is a serious advantage in shallow water, while still having the controls lower to the canoe at a comfortable level.

The Kayak Series trolling motor by Newports vessels also has battery cables that are much longer than many other trolling motors out there, This feature will give you more flexibility on battery placement.

To top it all off, the kayak series is also a saltwater trolling motor so it will tackle freshwater easily, and saltwater is no issue.

  • Saltwater rated
  • Short shaft trolling motor
  • Long battery cables
Minn Kota Powerdrive
Minn Kota Powerdrive
Minn Kota Powerdrive
Our Score

The power drive by Minn Kota has an electric foot pedal. Unlike the cable drive foot pedals. you can place the pedal anywhere within cable length, which is typically 20 feet in length, you can also use the electric foot control unit with your hands in a pinch if needed.

The speed controls allow for very precise and fine-tuning, with anywhere from 0-100% power available in micro-adjustments.

The weedless Wedge 2 blade prop by Minn Kota excels when moving through heavy vegetation, the blade will slice through the weeds, and with only two blades on the prop, there are fewer chances for weeds to wrap around the trolling motor head and bog the prop.

Like all Minn Kota trolling motors, the Powerdrive has a composite shaft which means it can really survive a beating.

  • Composite shaft
  • Electric foot pedal/controls
  • Wedge 2 weedless prop

Watersnake Tracer Transom mount trolling motor

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.

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

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.

Voltage

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

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.

Battery

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.

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

How Fast Can a Canoe Go With a Trolling Motor?

Minnkota TRAXXIS Hero 2

There are several factors that will determine the top speed of your canoe, such as canoe weight, the weight of gear and occupants, and trolling motor power and propeller type, but you should get anywhere from 4 to 6 mph from a canoe with a trolling motor.
And even if you could go faster, canoes are not really meant for higher speeds, and it could be dangerous, even canoes with small outboard tiller motors need to travel at a slow speed.

Do You Need a Special Trolling Motor for Saltwater Use?

You don’t necessarily need a saltwater-rated trolling motor for use on saltwater, but it is highly recommended that you do use a saltwater trolling motor.
A freshwater trolling motor that is not rated for saltwater will have a tough time with corrosion, and many of the parts will fail, and your trolling motor will not last long.
A well-maintained trolling motor can last for several years when used properly, so if you are fishing in saltwater, it will be work getting a saltwater trolling motor.

What’s the main advantage of using an electric trolling motor on your canoe?

Having a trolling motor on a canoe allows you to move fairly quickly on any body of water, and still allows you to keep your overall weight low.
Trolling motors on a canoe are very advantageous off the water as well, as you can easily carry or drag the canoe to the water over short to medium distances and reach water that isn’t accessible to other boats and anglers.
Trolling motors can also be adjusted so you can navigate through very shallow water and canoes have the low draught to do so as well.

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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AUTHOR
Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species.