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Tips On Fishing From A Canoe

A canoe is a great tool for anglers who want to reach remote locations.

It’s light, portable and quiet, and it won’t scare the fish away when you’re trying to reel them in.

The only downside is that maneuvering can be difficult to handle on windy days or when fishing alone.

But experienced canoe anglers prefer them because they are lightweight and easily portable.

A canoe can be transported using the roof rack on a truck or larger-sized car, and once in the water it’s maneuverable, so you can explore several fishing spots.

How to Prepare your Canoe for Fishing

canoe by lake

If you put your boat into storage properly last season, you likely won’t have an issue with any of these steps, but it’s still good to give your boat a good inspection; it’s a matter of pride.

Here are 10 tips for preparing your canoe for the coming season.

Remember the history

Did your boat go through an overhaul again this season?

Take a closer look at what your boat went through in the past couple seasons and take a close look at affected areas, they might need some repairs.

Check for Deep Scratches, Cracks, and Holes

Regardless of your canoe’s material, make sure you can trust your canoe to hold up to all the abuse it will have to endure.

Give the whole hull a once-over, especially if there was any incident that might have caused problems.

Check for Mold and Rot

Our boats are typically stored outside, and this can lead to rot and mold. If the wood on your deck looks bad, consider refinishing it, repairing it, or replacing it.

When in doubt, check with your local shop.

Check for stowaways

Whether you’re canoeing in the spring, summer, or fall, it’s important to get rid of those four, six and eight-legged stowaways before you go paddling.

Inspect Seats

Most canoeists don’t want to have to do repairs in the field. Take a look at the seats and make sure that they’re secure, that the frame is in good working order.

Restore the Shine

Your boat’s been dormant for a few months, and odds are it’s gotten some dirt and dust and duff.

Make it shine with a good scrub, and you’ll be back to looking sharp in no time.

Make those upgrades

Do you still think about that upgrade you had to make when buying your boat?

Now it’s time to do it.

Are you tired of your knees and back taking the pommeling from rough water?

Do your bow and stern look a little rough after spending all day in the boat?

Get some new knee pads to make paddling comfy!

Check your Transport Materials and Gear

You need to get your canoe ready before you paddle it, so this is a good time to check your paddles and make sure they’re in tip-top condition.

Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of the trip to find that you’ve lost a paddle.

Make Sure your Portage Pads are Installed

Your trapeziuses will thank you for having a set of premium quilted pads with you when your boat gets wet.

Check your Registration

In many places, canoes are rated as a watercraft that necessitates registration.

Check your local laws and make sure that your boat is legal.

It’s easy, not too expensive and a lot better than a ticket.

Canoe Fishing Accessories You’ll Need


Fishing Rod Holder for Canoe

We recommend the Brocraft Power Lock Fully Adjustable Rod Holder with Aluminum Large Opening Clamp / Jon Boat Rod Holder from Amazon.

Brocraft Power Lock Fully Adjustable Rod Holder with Aluminum Large Opening Clamp / Jon Boat Rod Holder
Buy at Amazon

Dry Sack

We recommend the Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Sacks. Get the best price on these at REI.

buy at REI

Map Case

We recommend the Seattle Sports Dry Doc MagniMap Case at REI.

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Buy at REI

Canoe Barrel

We recommend the North49 Canoe Barrel 30L at Amazon.

North49 Canoe Barrel 30L
Buy at Amazon

Yoke Pad

We recommend the Spring Creek Manufacturing Canoe Seat/Yoke at Amazon.

Spring Creek Manufacturing Canoe Seat/Yoke
Buy at Amazon

Canoe Fishing Tips

Here’s a few tips to keep you flush in fish.


Most canoe anglers who are fishing from a canoe stay seated when they are casting.

This increases the difficulty in casting accurately for most canoe anglers.

Especially if you love to fly fish, here are some tips to increase your casting success.

  • Clear the Deck of All Line-Catching Snags – When you’re ready to take your canoe out and start paddling, place your gear in a crate to keep it secure.
  • Purchase Fly-Rod Specific Rod Holders – An aftermarket rod holder is an essential part of any fly rod set. You can use them to store your fly rods when not in use, or to keep them handy while you’re fishing.
  • Anchor Up in Current and Wind – You should always have an anchor system in your canoe, especially if you are a beginner and/or plan to spend time in the open water. In just a few minutes, you can stop worrying and learn how to deploy or retrieve it quickly. A good strategy is to paddle into a likely fish-holding area, then anchor your canoe in a position that allows you to cast to all the fishy looking spots. Now you can spend as long as you’d like casting your rod without repositioning it every few seconds.
  • Keep Your Back Casts High – The problem is that slappin’ the water on the backcast comes naturally when standing up! The trick is to keep your cast high enough and to do it while seated.
  • Shoot Line to Gain Distance and Reduce False Casts – With a little practice you’ll find that distance can be added through line shooting by bringing your rod tip to a defined stop at the end of your forward cast.

Reeling In

The biggest thing to remember is that you are there for the fish.

Don’t chase them, be patient and let them come to you; and when they do, make sure you’re ready for the fight with all your best gear.

Instead of just “stripping in line” to land a fish, attempt quickly reeling up any slack while pinching the line with your rod hand.

Benefits of Fishing from a Canoe

Fishing with a canoe is not only fun, but incredibly economical.

You don’t have to purchase expensive gas, there is little upkeep besides the odd cleaning, no big ticket repairs, and no storage fees.

Risks of Fishing from a Canoe

Risks factors to be aware of when fishing from a canoe include:

  • Inexperience
  • Poor technique
  • Choosing an unsuitable waterway
  • Failure to use protective equipment

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