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Fishing from Kayaks and Canoes New Topic Printer Friendly Version

  Fishing Canoe
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-11-06 11:41 PM (EST)

I am sorry to be redundant in this question (I have seen it posted several times). However, I was hoping for some advice from those more knowledgable and experienced on the subject.

I am interested in a canoe used primarily for fly fishing. It will be used in the Delaware river system (slow moving water to class I-II rapids).
My primary concern is stability and comfort.
I have narrowed my search to three canoes: 1) the Wenonah Fisherman (Wide beam looks nice) 2) Old Town Osprey (the only one I have fished out of in the bunch) and 3) the Bell Canoe Works Angler (Those swivel seats look soooo comfortable).

Since I have only tried one in the group, I was hoping that someone who may have fished from one or more of these models could give advice .

Thank you in advance

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Messages in this Topic


  Haven't tried any of them, but am
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-12-06 12:11 AM (EST)
familiar with the makers and did look at the Wenonah when I bought my first kayak. All are good quality canoes, though I've found Bell and Wenonah to be a bit pricy. Don't remember what material the OT Osprey is built out of, but I'd go for the Royalex if it comes in it, assuming the price difference isn't too steep.
  Posted by: Bernie/CNY on Jun-12-06 8:43 AM (EST)
canoes like the Wenonah Fisherman are nice but would be a bear to paddle upstream.You might want to consider something a bit more efficient like the Vagabond.Ive paddeled that one and it has plenty enough stability for fly fishing while providing good efficiency for it's length.The lighter weight would also be a plus if you should need to portage past some hairy stuff.Good luck!
  I went with the Wenonah Fisherman
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-12-06 12:24 PM (EST)
in Royalex. 14ft long and 57lbs unloaded. I cartop it myself no problem, but you might want to consider your physical capabilities when choosing which boat is right for you. with a 39 inch beam(width) it has excellent initial stability. I fish and paddle standing up with a doubled ended kayak paddle and have never come close to getting wet. This includes the couple times when I've lost my balance and fallen back onto the seat. It probably doesn't track as well going upstream as a narrower canoe, but then you'd be compromising stability and room for gear. An added bonus is that at 14ft, it easily accommodates another paddler. As far as the price goes, it is a higher end canoe. But as much as I use it, I was more than willing to lay down the cash for it.
  mad river malecite
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-25-06 7:58 AM (EST)
I have a mad river malecite that I have enjoyed fishing from for 30 years. mostly with someone else though, rarely solo. I find the hull design very manuverable and you can stand in it and cast or pole it along in shallow marsh.
  Don't think I'd buy Mad River these days
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-25-06 10:52 AM (EST)
customer service seems to be nowhere.
  fishing canoe
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-27-06 11:56 AM (EST)
you should also take a look at the River Ridge Custom Canoe at
  osprey 140
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-22-06 2:07 PM (EST)
I have the old town osprey 140 with the oars. It is a great fishing canoe. very stable. I often stand in it. Just make sure everything is centered, including your feet, and get up slowly.
I'm tired of rowing so I bought a trolling motor, and will be posting questions about that.
I'm sure it will change the stability dynamics, but it's a great canoe.
  my thoughts...
  Posted by: Al_A on Jul-25-06 11:45 PM (EST)
Okay, from a lifetime of fishing from a canoe, here's my take on it...

Material...nothing better than Royalex. The Old Town poly would be almost as good if it wasn't considerably heavier. Fiberglass, Kevlar, aluminum, all are NOISY--not what you want in a fishing canoe.

So, limiting your choices to Royalex canoes, everything else is a compromise. Wide, flat-bottomed canoes feel stable, but are not good for paddling upstream or paddling down long, dead pools that aren't good fishing spots, to get to the next good spot. They also aren't as easy to slow or stop in current in order to fish good spots, because the same design characteristics that make them more difficult to move through the water also makes the water move them more. A canoe that slides through the water easily will also allow the current to slide by it easily. As for stability in flyfishing, while you CAN stand up in a wide canoe, I doubt that you'll ever be completely comfortable standing up and isn't like standing in a jonboat or against the braces in a driftboat. So stability, at least initial stability, is in my opinion overrated.

Some other things to consider...weight becomes important in loading and unloading, especially at accesses where you can't drive right down to the river.

Length is an important consideration in that shorter canoes are more difficult and dangerous for two anglers to fish from, since your partner is more likely to be within the arc of a careless backcast. Also, it's a lot easier to stow a rod in a longer canoe.

Canoes with higher ends catch more wind than those with lower ends. Check out the difference between the height at ends and the height amidships in any canoe you are considering.

Having said all that, I will say that plenty of people totally enjoy fishing from plenty of different canoe designs. What works best for me might not be your best choice.

  Good advice, the long and short of it.
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-26-06 3:53 AM (EST)
The only thing to add is ALWAYS were your pfd when fishing in a canoe or kayak. Fishermen, even the best often do dumb things without thinking, like leaning too far over to unsnag a line or pull a lure out of brush. Hooks in the ear can make you do funny things to that affect the stability. I gues if you are in less than 4 ft of water you can get by without the pfd, but even then, I have it on.
  Another Vote for the Old Town Osprey
  Posted by: FrankNC on Aug-21-06 10:53 PM (EST)
It's a nice boat especially if you want to set it up for rowing.

I also Liked my Mad river 14tt it is made of ploy so I guess it is heavier but it was east ro carry. I think it is only 72 pounds but it balances well. I pick up one end and walk forward to the center with my hands and lower the thwart on my shoulders. It paddles nicely as a tandem or as a solo facing "backwards" in the bow seat. I did set it up for rowing and it was OK, but it doesn't row like an osprey.
  My .02 cents
  Posted by: old_user on Aug-22-06 5:36 AM (EST)
All those canoes are worthy of the task you want them to perform. I've paddled the Bell. the Angler is very similar to the Morningstar only with bucket seats added. It felt a little weird to me, I think because of the bucket seats, though you can get it without them. I've not paddled a Wenonah but they are highly touted by other paddlers on the board. The Osprey is a pretty decent canoe, light weight and you can get it with a rowing option. Old Town for the most part makes decent, affordable, tough canoes. I paddle and fish from Penobscot 16, a good design that paddles efficiently, has good speed, decent initial stability and rock solid secondary stability. This spring my flyrod went overboard and the only reason I didn't take an unplanned swim was due to this boats ability to handle my gymnastics without turtling.
  What did you get?
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-01-06 9:01 PM (EST)
I am curious since I am looking at both the Osprey and Fisherman. I may go with the Wenonah Heron since a shop near me has one.
  Osprey 140
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-05-06 12:56 AM (EST)
All three of these were on my short list when I was looking two years ago. The deciding factor was that we have an Oldtown dealer in town and the others were eighty miles away at best. I have yet to be disappointed with the Osprey with the rowing option.
  Canoes for fishing
  Posted by: esox on Oct-04-06 10:27 AM (EST)
Any recreational canoe can be a fine fishing platform. The two I use the most are a 16' 34" wide wood canvas at about 60 lbs. and an old Mad River explorer in royalex. Most of my flyfishing in these boats is solo. If a 34"-36" wide boat isn't stable enough for you then a 39" boat isn't going to solve your problen, probably best to get a jonboat. Shorter boats are just plain plugs to paddle in my opinion. You don't need to stand up in your canoe to fly cast, just kneel up and your at the same height above the water as though you were wading in knee deep water, no problem. The longer canoe of normal width is far easier to paddle to the next likely fishing spot.
About the only modification I've made on my canoes is to get a "bullseye" from a sailing shop and mount it to the very end of the deck of the canoe. I run the line from a SMALL anchor through it and tie off with a single hitch on a bite to the seat frame. This way it is easy to quickly untie in an emergency and easy to get the anchor up to move to another location.
I've done 2 trips to the Adirondacks this year with my Wenona C1-W , 16'6" 29" wide 34 lbs. No problem flyfishing out if this boat either , especially with 40 lbs, of cambing gear in the bottom , feels much more solid with this extra weight on the bottom. This setup allows me to do the portages in one carry.
John M. A Connecticut Yankee
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-19-06 5:58 PM (EST)
  Posted by: old_user on Dec-31-06 4:59 PM (EST)
Well said Mario

  You're right in that...
  Posted by: Al_A on Jan-02-07 8:07 PM (EST)
Grumman aluminum canoes will last longer than any other canoe material and take less maintainance. My first canoe was a 15 ft. Grumman, back in about 1970, and it's still in use, although I did finally wear a hole in the bottom of it about 1985, and the epoxy patch is gone now so it leaks. My brother-in-law has it. Since I "retired" it and bought a new canoe in 1985, I've gone through 2 tandem canoes and I'm on my third one (one fiberglass and two Royalex).

However, Royalex is the best fishing canoe material, hands down...except for durability and price, where aluminum beats it.
  I had no choice, I already had a canoe
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-17-07 4:27 PM (EST)
I had a 1985 Mad Explorer used for whitewater until life got in the way (mortgages, kids, ...). The first thing I purchased was a set of stabilizers from Spring Creek Outfitters. An Explorer is not stable enough for fishing with kids. With the stabilizers fully extended and down I can stand up with no worries. Over time I've added a trolling motor, bow and stern anchors, rod holders. Several years ago I replaced all the wood (I ordered the parts through REI) The same unit that holds the stabilizers holds a side board meant for canoe sailing, but without it the canoe doesn't track.

I've got my eye on a custom fishing canoe from River Ridge but meanwhile the Explorer get me by.

  AAAAMEN Mario!
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-20-07 12:30 PM (EST)
I use a nice little Royalex 14' OT Hunter for fishing now, but I miss my old 15' Grumman Square Stern. I even miss the noise and the huge effort it often took to make it turn. For years, that old boat defined the outdoor experience for me on trip after trip, but asked so little in return that I seldom thought about it. It never dumped me, not even once. Sold it cheap in a moment of weakness.

I've been looking at the specialized fishing canoes also, especially the Osprey. But I might just say to Heck with it and get another Grumman.

You don't know what you got 'til it's gone.
  Canoes for fishing
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-19-09 9:57 PM (EST)
I have tried many but the very best was a 17 ft Smoker Craft, yes aluminum canoe. I managed about 75 to 100 trips per year for 20 years in it. Yes it got mildly wrapped a few times in swift water, but after a little work it kept on. Needed a sponge and cup to get out the water sometimes, but it carried 2 guys and a ton of gear. I tried others, a Blue Hole as I got into faster water, a bad mistake as it just was not a fishing boat and would not track at all, a Colman, and others but my memories are all with that old Smoker Craft. I bought it for $157 including paddles, etc. and sold it for $100 and a few tears. The guy who bought it was very excited and going fishing that day.
  another thought
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-07-07 11:50 AM (EST)
Have you looked at Native Watercraft? Iv'e been considering the Ultimate 12 for fishing. It looks extremely stable and well set up. I am wondering about its' manueverabilty and speed. I don't need a fishing platform that is a rocket, but I don't want a barge either. Anyone tried it?
  Check out these two kayak fishing sites
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-20-07 1:08 PM (EST) and Both have had threads on the Ultimate recently. It may be easier to find the information on kayakfishingstuff, but a search on the other site will give you a lot of information. Basically, from what I've read, those who bought he Ultimate like it. The exception may be wind problems, but those are not as bad as with a higher sided canoe (though I don't find that to be much of a problem with my Sandpiper). Its stable and paddles reasonable well, not a barge. Comfort seems to be something that stands out in the reviews I've see, along with the stability to stand.


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