Best Fishing Canoe of 2021 Reviewed and Compared (Buyer’s Guide)

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Any fans of kayak fishing who find them a little unstable, or anyone who simply thinks fishing in a kayak is a little risky should look at a fishing canoe.

Fishing canoes give you the same portability and access as the best inflatable fishing kayaks but a whole lot more stability and load carrying so you can go on longer fishing adventures.

Not all fishing canoes are made the same though, and finding a canoe to match your waters and fishing style can be a little tricky, but not to worry, I’m here to help.

Below you’ll find some of the best fishing canoes around and a detailed review of each to help you pick the right one and save wasting hours scouring the internet

The Best Fishing Canoes From The Review

Top Pick

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw Canoe

Full of features to ensure you can fish in peace and reserve any patience for the fish instead of being annoyed with the storage or layout of your angling gear.

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw Canoe

The best fishing canoe overall is the Sun Dolphin Mackinaw.

This canoe is durable, great on the water, and comes ready for any angler.

You can add a motor to the canoe, there is a dry storage area, an in-built cooler, paddle holders, and fishing pole holders too.

There is everything an angler needs on this canoe to get fishing the day it arrives.

Best 2 Person Fishing Canoe

Lifetime Kodiak Canoe

Made from a high-density polyethylene hull that makes it durable it also has plenty of space for your fishing gear with its 600lbs carrying capacity.

Lifetime Kodiak Canoe

The best fishing canoe for 2 persons is the Lifetime Kodiak Canoe.

This canoe has a wheel on the skeg for portability, two comfy seats with backrests, plus holders for your drinks and your fishing rods. The canoe is also durable, stable, and does well on the water too.

Best Square Stern Canoe For Fishing

Grumman Sportboat

Canoe at the front but has a square stern transom at the back where you can mount a motor of up to 7HP.

Grumman Sportboat

The best square stern canoes for fishing is the Grumman Sportboat.

This canoe is as durable as they come being made from aluminum and you can add a motor up to 7HP to the back of it so you can get places quickly.

It’s also a very seaworthy canoe and the best one to choose for rough waters as it’s heavy weight keeps it steady in the water.

Best Poly 3 Person Fishing Canoe

Mad River Explorer T-Formex Canoe

Ideal canoe for fishing on a river and if you’re planning a long angling trip thanks to its spacious design and huge load capacity.

Mad River Explorer T-Formex Canoe

The best poly 3 person canoe is the Mad River Explorer canoe.

At almost 17 feet long, this canoe has ample space for 3 people, a design similar to a traditional canoe, and it’s built out of poly T-Formex for awesome durability.

You can push your limits with this canoe and load enough gear for long multiple day trips if you want to.

Best Fishing Canoe For Families

Mad River Passage 14 Canoe

A 2-3 person canoe that is durably made from polyethylene and is perfect for canoe fishing.

Mad River Passage 14 Canoe

One of the best fishing canoes for families is the Mad River Passage.

There is enough space in this canoe for two adults and two children or two adults and a dog and a child.

The canoe is also super stable, does well on the water, and light enough for two teenagers to carry down to the water.

Best Canoe For Fly Fishing

Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe

Lightweight, portable, and tracks well for an awesome paddling experience.

Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe

The best canoes for fly fishing are the Mad River Adventure canoes.

This canoe’s seats sit quite high making it easier to cast from, and each seat has its own stripping well in front of it for easy line management.

There is also a dedicated storage well behind the front seat so you can ensure nothing gets in the way of your line while you’re fly fishing.

Our Top Fishing Canoes

Best 2 Person Fishing Canoe

Lifetime Kodiak Canoe

Made from a high-density polyethylene hull that makes it durable it also has plenty of space for your gear with its 600lbs carrying capacity.

Lifetime Kodiak Canoe

The Lifetime Kodiak Fishing Canoe is an ideal choice for two people or even three.

This durable canoe comes with three molded-in seats, two of which come with adjustable backrests so you can paddle in comfort.

This stable canoe is made from a high-density polyethylene hull that makes it durable and able to handle any knocks of rocks that your voyage might have you encounter. The canoe is 13 ft long which is at the range of tandem canoes and has a wide beam for stability.

What’s Inside the Lifetime Kodiak Fishing Canoe?

Once inside it’s very spacious and you’ll have more than enough room for your gear, and with a carrying capacity of 600 lbs, this stable canoe can carry enough gear for long multiple day fishing trips.

The canoe features carry handles at the front for portability, and a unique wheel skeg design meaning you can lift the front and wheel it down to the water, making launching the canoe easy.

Rod Holders

Inside you’ll find two built in rod holders for your rods in the middle seat and holders for your cups too. There is also a mount for a small motor on this canoe, so you don’t have to rely on paddle power all the time if you don’t want to.

On the water, the canoe tracks well thanks to the skeg and is quite quick when you get your paddling in sync.

It also comes with a 5-year warranty, so if anything happens due to a manufacturing issue, you can get it fixed or replaced for free.

Is there a downside?

The only downsides to this cone are that it’s a little heavy to move around, so lifting it on to your roof rack will take some muscle, and that the holders for your rods are not the best, they are just holes in the seat that offer little support.

Specs

  • Material: High-density polyethylene
  • Weight: 96 lbs
  • Length: 13 ft
  • Person: 3
  • Capacity: 600 lbs

Pros

  • Well made from durable materials
  • Great maximum load
  • Has 3 molded seats with 2 adjustable backrests
  • Carry handles for portability
  • Includes a mounting bracket for a trolling motor
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Includes holders for your rods and cup holders
  • Stable and tracks well
  • Includes a wheel on the skeg for easy portability

Cons

  • A little heavy to move around
  • Fishing rod holders aren’t the best

Best Square Stern Canoe For Fishing

Grumman Sportboat

Canoe at the front but has a square stern transom at the back where you can mount a motor of up to 7HP.

Grumman Sportboat

The Grumman Sportboat canoe is a canoe at the front but has a square stern transom at the back where you can mount a motor of up to 7HP.

This makes it more of a boat than a recreational canoe, but it’s the same size as a regular canoe at 15 feet long and you can paddle it too.

Build

These canoes are made from aluminum, making them exceptionally durable, corrosion-resistant, and seaworthy but a little heavier than a regular canoe.

They weigh 150 lbs, so you might need a trailer to get them into the lake or some serious muscle power.

Inside these canoes, you’ll find three aluminum bench seats spread out across their length and ample room for carrying any gear you’ll need on angling trips.

DIY

The canoe is missing angling features like holders for your rods, but being made from aluminum means you can add mountings for anything from fish finders to holders for your rods without compromising the fishing vessel.

The Grumman Sportboat on the Water

On the water, this canoe is super stable and safe to be on.

The extra weight ensures it sits in the water and doesn’t get rocked around much and there are ideal canoes for fishing in areas with turbulent waters like tidal estuaries.

Overall it’s a great stable canoe for solo fishing, river fishing, or fishing trips into rougher waters. When using this as a solo fishing canoe, the only thing to think about is that it is heavy and you’ll have to add your fishing accessories, but that can be quite fun too.

Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Length: 15 ft
  • Person: 2-3
  • Capacity: 450 lbs

Pros

  • Extremely well made and long-lasting
  • Super stable and seaworthy
  • Can be paddled or motored
  • Great carrying capacity
  • Tracks well and is easy to move around
  • You can add a 7HP engine to the square stern
  • Easy to mount any angling accessories you like

Cons

  • Very heavy and hard to carry
  • No holders for your rods included

Best Canoe For Fly Fishing

Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe

Lightweight, portable, and tracks well for an awesome paddling experience.

Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe

The Mad River Adventure 14 Canoe is a 2-3 person canoe that is lightweight, portable, and tracks well for an awesome paddling experience.

The Mad River Adventure 14 recreational canoe is made from high-density polyethylene for durability and is virtually maintenance-free.

The Mad River Adventure Canoe won’t ever rust, it’ll just need rinsing off after each trip and some TLC if any damage occurs, which is unlikely based on the solid design.

Inside the Mad River Canoe

Inside the canoe, you’ll find three molded-in seats, two with adjustable backrests for paddling comfort.

Each seat comes with holders for cups and in the middle seat there are some holes which you could slot your rod into, but they aren’t actual angling pole holders.

This recreational canoe is pretty spacious and has a huge carrying capacity of 875 bs which is more than enough for a long fishing trip or hauling in a load of fish to take home for the freezer.

Carry Handles

At the front and back of the canoe you have carry handles for portability and weighing just 75lbs, you’ll be able to get this canoe to the water with ease.

On the water, these recreational canoes are great and easy to handle.

Handling

The canoe tracks well, is easy to maneuver, and is light enough to get it moving quickly with some solid paddling.

The one thing this canoe is missing for an angler is the lack of angling features, there is no dry storage or even angling pole holders, so you’d have to add these yourself.

Specs

  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Length: 14 ft
  • Person: 2-3
  • Capacity: 875 lbs

Pros

  • Lightweight for portability
  • Handles for carrying it around
  • Awesome carrying capacity for long trips
  • 3 seats with cup holders and comfortable padded backrests
  • A great amount of storage space
  • Stable and tracks well on the water

Cons

  • No fishing features like holders for your rods

Best Poly 3 Person Fishing Canoe

Mad River Explorer T-Formex Canoe

Ideal fishing canoe for river fishing and if you’re planning a long angling trip thanks to its spacious design and huge load capacity.

Mad River Explorer T-Formex Canoe

The Mad River Explorer T-Formex Canoe model is close to traditional canoes with its slim design and very pointed ends.

It’s an ideal canoe for fishing on a river and if you’re planning a long angling trip thanks to its spacious design and huge load capacity.

Build

These river canoes are 16 feet long and can hold 1100lbs of weight, making them the ideal fishing vessel for long expeditions as you can load up as much gear as you might need.

This means you can have one hell of a fishing experience by doing a 5-day drift down a river for example.

Durability

This 3 person river canoe is a heavy-duty product thanks to it being made from a material called T-Formex.

T-Formex is a laminate that consists of a foam core with ABS plastic layers on top, making the canoe super tough and buoyant.

These river canoes are great for any rocky river adventure and for pushing your limits, as it’ll handle whatever you throw at it.

One the water, this canoe is easy to handle. It’s responsive to every paddle stroke, easy to maneuver, and being so light at 77lbs, you can get some good speed up too.

What’s Inside this Canoe?

Inside the canoe, you’ll find three nylon web seats that sit on wooden beams.

The nylon web seats are comfy to sit on and there is space underneath for gear too, but there is no back support which could make long canoe paddles uncomfortable.

DIY

The downsides to this canoe are that there are no angling features included like pole holders, and there is no space for a motor either.

But you can mount things to it quite easily once you have it at home.

This canoe is also a little long for use as a solo canoe, so you’ll have to have a buddy to go with you when you want to go angling.

Specs

  • Material: T-Formex
  • Weight: 77 lbs
  • Length: 16 ft
  • Person: 2
  • Capacity: 1100 lbs

Pros

  • Awesome carrying capacity for long expeditions
  • Built from super strong materials for pushing the limits
  • Lightweight and easy to carry with the included handles
  • Loads of space for your gear
  • Stable and tracks well on the water
  • Easy to add angling accessories

Cons

  • Includes no angling features
  • No space for a trolling motor
  • Quite expensive

Best Fishing Canoe For Families

Mad River Passage 14 Canoe

A 2-3 person canoe that is durably made from polyethylene and is perfect for fishing.

Mad River Passage 14 Canoe

The Mad River Passage 14 Fishing Canoe is a 2-3 person canoe that is durably made from polyethylene and is perfect for canoe fishing.

You can also use it as a solo canoe, as it’s light enough for one person to move around.

These fishing canoes are 14 ft long, weigh 75 lbs, and can hold up to 800 lbs.

This makes the canoe both spacious, easy to move around, and it can handle enough weight for all your angling gear and more.

Features

The canoe comes with 3 built-in seats, each with holders for your cups.

The front and back seat also comes with removable backrests for extra comfort when paddling.

The middle seat of the canoe comes with 4 holes in it where you could put your rods while you find your angling spot, but they aren’t actual holders and I wouldn’t rely on them.

How does Mad River Handle on Water?

On the water, this Mad River canoe handles well.

It’s wide, stable, tracks nicely, and being light, you can get some good speed going of 5-6 knots in it too.

The canoe is also pretty much maintenance-free.

There is nothing that can rust inside it, all you’ll need to do is give it a rinse and clean now and then

Seats

The only downsides to these canoes are that the seats are not very comfy and you might want to add a cushion.

The canoes also lack any angling features like holders for your rods, but you can add them later on if you want to.

Specs

  • Material: Polyethylene
  • Weight: 75 lbs
  • Length: 14 ft
  • Person: 2-3
  • Capacity: 800 lbs

Pros

  • Well made and durable
  • Maintenance-free thanks to the polyethylene materials
  • Light for portability and easy to carry with the handles
  • Comes with molded seats and backrests for comfort
  • 6 cup holders for convenience
  • Great carrying capacity and ample storage space
  • Stable and tracks well on the water

Cons

  • Seat bottoms are not that comfy, you might need a cushion
  • No angling features like holders for your rods

MYCANOE 3.0 Origami Folding Portable Canoe

This lightweight canoe folds up into a box making it very portable. You can bring it anywhere as it can fit inside a car and only weighs 52lbs.

MYCANOE 3.0 Origami Folding Portable Canoe

Did you ever think you’d see a folding fishing canoe?

An inflatable canoe for sure, but a folding one, really? Well, the MYCANOE 3.0 Origami Folding Portable Canoe is just that.

This inflatable canoe folds up into a box and has a built-in shoulder strap so you can carry it over your shoulder.

This makes the foldable and inflatable canoe exceptionally portable.

Portability

You won’t need a roof rack as this lightweight canoe will fit into your car, and weighing just 52 lbs, you’ll be able to carry it from your car to any waters you want to go angling on.

This canoe can be used for 2 people or as a solo canoe, and it takes just a few minutes to unfold and fold up again.

Once set-up the canoe is pretty spacious inside and can hold up to 400 lbs of weight.

How is this Canoe on Water?

The canoe performs well on the water and is a solid all-rounder for calm lakes and rivers, but it is not as sea-worthy as non folding canoes and you should avoid rapids or areas with waves in this canoe.

If you’re not planning on using them on just flat water. You do have the option to add stabilizer pontoons and even a sail to these inflatable canoes though, which can help the canoe’s performance and make them more seaworthy.

What’s Inside the MYCANOE 3.0?

Inside the canoe, there are two seats and lots of space for angling gear.

There are no angling features though, you could easily add some, but you’d have to be able to remove them after each fishing trip so you could fold the canoe up again.

Specs

  • Material: Polypropylene
  • Weight: 52 lbs
  • Length: 14.7 ft
  • Person: 2
  • Capacity: 400 lbs

Pros

  • Folds up into a box for carrying on your shoulder
  • Light and super portable
  • Quick to set up and fold away again
  • Durable and well made
  • Ample storage space
  • Stable and does well on the water
  • Option to add stabilizers and a sail
  • Easy to mount things like rod holders

Cons

  • No backrests on the seats
  • Not as water-worthy as non-foldable designs

Top Pick

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw Canoe

Full of features to ensure you can fish in peace and reserve any patience for the fish instead of being annoyed with the storage or layout of your angling gear.

Sun Dolphin Mackinaw Canoe

The Sun Dolphin Mackinaw Canoe is the best fishing canoe I have come across.

This fishing canoe is full of features to ensure tranquil fishing and reserve any patience for the fish instead of being annoyed with the storage or layout of your angling gear.

Features

The Sun Dolphin Mackinaw canoe comes with a mounting bracket for a motor, angling pole holders, holders for your drinks, a seat that opens up to be a cooler, and a dry storage area for your valuables.

Sun Dolphin really did think of everything for an angler when they made these fishing canoes.

There are even paddle clips so you can get them out the way when using the motor or angling.

Capacity

The Sun Dolphin Mackinaw canoe can be used as a solo canoe or with 2-3 people inside it. There are three bench seats inside this multi purpose canoe, all of which are padded for Entocort, but none come with backrests for extra paddling comfort, so you’ll have to rely on your core muscles to keep your back straight.

How Does the Sun Dolphin Handle Water?

These canoes are made from Fortifex polyethylene for durability and are maintenance-free bar needing the occasion rinsing.

The canoes can handle a few knocks off rocks with ease and come with a large carrying capacity of 800 lbs so you can go on long angling trips without worries.

What’s the Downside?

The only downside to these canoes is their weight.

Unlike solo canoes, They weigh 104 lbs, which makes moving them around and carrying them hard unless you have someone to help, so they might not be the best solo canoe around.

Specs

  • Material: Fortiflex high-density polyethylene
  • Weight: 104 lbs
  • Length:15.6 ft
  • Person: 2-3
  • Capacity: 800 lbs

Pros

  • Comes with a bracket for an electric motor
  • Easy to paddle and maneuver on the water
  • Includes 4-rod holders
  • Well made and durable for rugged expeditions
  • Comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • The middle seat opens up as a storage space/cooler
  • Dry storage stash area for your valuables
  • Excellent carrying capacity
  • Paddle clips are included to keep them safely stowed

Cons

  • Quite heavy to move around

What Is A Fishing Canoe?

Fishing Canoes on a Lake

A fishing canoe is like a regular canoe but is fitted out with angling features like pole holders or the ability to mount an electric motor to the back.

Otherwise, they are pretty much the same as a regular canoe.

Fishing Canoes vs Fishing Kayaks, Which is better?

The age-old fishing boats question of fishing canoes v’s fishing kayaks comes up often.

Canoes are better for fishing in my eyes as they are more stable, can carry more load, are more spacious – you sit higher on the water too so you can see the water and fish better.

The benefits of fishing kayaks are that they are easier to paddle and lighter to carry but are harder to get inside than a canoe as you have to balance on the top which could result in a capsize.

Can You Fish From A Canoe?

Absolutely, in fact, it’s easier to fish from a canoe than from kayaks as they are more stable and you sit much higher on the water.

You can also add a motor to a lot of canoes to get you to your angling spots quickly and cover more ground.

You can have your rods out trolling in a canoe or have them ready for when you arrive at your fishing grounds.

Where Can You Use A Canoe?

You can use a canoe anywhere from the sea to lakes and rivers.

But you should be careful using them in the ocean as once capsized, they can be hard to flip back over.

Make sure you pick calm water fishing days if you plan on using them in the sea.

Things To Think About When Buying A Canoe

Canoes at a Lodge
Canoes at a Lodge

Canoe Types

Most canoes are the same shape, as it’s the shape that defines them as a canoe, but they come in different lengths from 10ft, 12ft, 15ft, 16ft, 17ft, and more. There are also wide and narrow canoes.

Picking the right canoe hull design and length comes down to personal preference and where you’re going to use them.

Long

Longer canoes track better, move faster, and glide further.

They also have more space and can carry a heavier load, but they are harder to turn and maneuver.

Short

Shorter canoes turn easily and are far more responsive to paddle.

They are ideal for small streams where you might have to cut around hard corners for example.

Wide Canoe

As well as being long or short, canoes also come in various widths.

The wider the canoe the more stable it’ll be but it’ll also be slower to paddle. So might want to keep that in mind if you’re looking for the most stable canoe.

Wider canoes are useful for stability in rough waters, and on some you can even add pontoons to increase stability.

Balance

In the end it’s about finding a balance between length, and with that suits the water you intend to fish on.

NOTE

In the end, picking the right length comes down to a balance of enough maneuverability for the water you’re in combined with enough space and the ability to carry enough gear.

What material is best suited for fishing in a canoe?

Canoe at a Lakeside
Canoe at a Lakeside

Canoes are made out of different materials, One of the top materials for a sturdy fishing canoe is either a polyethylene-based material or aluminum.

Both of these canoe materials are tough, durable, and will stand up well to the wear and tears of fishing.

Types

Unlike inflatable canoes, one made from aluminum or polyethylene is not going to suffer from punctures when a hook goes in it, or when you scrape across some mussel beds.

All the canoes in the reviews are made from one of the two materials mentioned above and all are durable and will last a long time.

Weight & Portability

The whole idea of owning a quality canoe is to take it places and get fishing away from the shoreline.

If it’s too heavy, loading on the car and carrying it down to the water is going to be a painful job that might make you not want to use it as much as you should.

Weight Range

Check the weight of the canoe before you buy, as they range from 150lbs to 75 lbs, and there is a big difference between the two when it comes to the health of your back.

See this cool lightweight origami canoe on the video below…

MyCanoe Origami Folding Canoe Review

TIP

You should also look for useful features like carrying handles at the front and back, and some even have a wheel in the skeg so you can roll it to the water with one person lifting the front.

Fishing Features & Gear Space

Brown Colored Canoes with Two Paddles
Brown Colored Canoes with Two Paddles

Catching fish requires enough patience and the last thing you need is to lose some of it when all your gear gets tangled up in the canoe because there is nowhere clever to put it.

Some canoes come with handy little features like holders for your rods, paddle clips, an in-built cooler, holders for drinks, a dry storage area, and a place to mount a motor. A canoe like this has a place for everything to stay organized.

DIY

Some canoes come bare without most or any of the features mentioned above.

But, the key is being able to add them with ease to create the right fishing layout for your needs.

Just make sure there is enough space for everything before you buy and then you can mount what you like where you want it. Consider adding a custom tackle box or back rest.

Summing Up

Thanks a lot for reading my reviews of the best fishing canoes above and I hope you have found the right canoe or the best canoe brand for you.

It’s all about ensuring you can get the canoe to where you want to fish, that it holds enough weight for your needs, and can handle the waters you want to fish in.

If you’re still struggling to decide which one to go for, I have outlined my two favorite fishing canoes below and for different reasons.

Best 2 Person Fishing Canoe

The top 2 person canoe is the Lifetime Kodiak Canoe.

This canoe is durable, good on the water, you can add an electric trolling motor to it, and it has a wheel on the skeg meaning you can roll it into the water instead of carrying it.

This means that it can be a single person canoe and it’s just easier, in general, to take in and out of the water.

Best Square Stern Canoe For Fishing

If you’re looking to cover large areas of water, and fish in rough waters, the Grumman Sportboat is the canoe to choose.

It’s made from aluminum for the best durability around, and it has a square stern for adding a motor up to 7HP on it so you can cruise quickly if you need to.

It’s also the heaviest of the canoes in the review, meaning it’s hard to move around but much steadier in rough waters.

Happy Fishing

I hope you enjoyed the article and found it useful, please feel free to share it around with any of your buddies too.

If you want any more advice on fishing gear, check out some of my other articles. I cover everything you might need for fishing from fly rods to GPS units and dry bags.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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