After days of research and a lot of time on the water in canoes, we have all agreed that the best fishing canoes (and kayaks for that matter) come from Sea Eagle. Specifically, their Travel 16 Inflatable is the best canoe for fishing that I have used.
This canoe offers the ability to store in a closet and travel in the trunk of a car. You can be in it and fishing in under 10 minutes (after a little practice) and it’s more buoyant and stable than the hardbody alternatives that I used.
|Sea Eagle 16 Inflatable Canoe||Check Today's Price|
|Esquif Heron||Check Today's Price|
|Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo||Check Today's Price|
|Lifetime Kodiak Canoe||Check Today's Price|
|NuCanoe Flint||Check Today's Price|
|Advanced Elements StraightEdge (Inflatable Canoe)||Check Today's Price|
|Wenonah Backwater||Check Today's Price|
There are many reasons to invest in a fishing canoe. Canoes are much more stable than other types of fishing boats, so you are less likely to tip over. They are also much quieter, so you won’t scare the fish away. Canoes are also very versatile and can be used for other activities, such as camping and picnicking.
Detailed Fishing Canoe Reviews
Before you buy a fishing canoe, remember that everyone has differing fishing types and desired catches. The below reviews are in-depth and describe the fishing style that suits each model best.
1. Sea Eagle Travel Canoe – Best Overall
The Sea Eagle travel canoe was our absolute favorite fishing canoe that we tested. It was sturdy (something I was nervous about) and allowed plenty of room for gear and offered a lot of stability for casting.
- Weight: 62 pounds
- Carrying capacity: 915 pounds
- Size dimensions: Length: 15’ 2’’ , Width: 38 ½”, Depth: 20”
- Materials: T-Formex
- Most Stable
- Inflatable and compact
- Can store in car
- Great warranty
- Considered expensive
- Needs inflation
Compared to hard shell canoes, an inflatable canoe remains buoyant even if it has taken on water. Their website states that this canoe is unsinkable! It’s also easy to enter from the water, should the worst happen.
In terms of fishing, there is a lot of area for gear and 3 seats which allows room for 2 people to comfortably fly fish. We did find that taking turns casting made for a much more stable experience. As it’s less rocky than the hard body canoes I really found this to be the pick of the bunch for stability, roominess, portability, and overall quality.
2. Esquif Heron – Best Hardshell
The Esquif Heron is the perfect fishing canoe for nearly everyone. Its multi-purpose build and versatile features make it both functional and comfortable. The Heron is lightweight, durable, easy to paddle, and has enough space for three anglers.
- Weight: 69 pounds
- Carrying capacity: 800 pounds
- Size dimensions: Length: 14’ 6’’ , Width: 38 ½”, Depth: 14”
- Materials: T-Formex
- Easy to paddle
- Handle Well
- Comfortable webbed seats
You can use the canoe with or without a motor. The canoe works for solo anglers or groups, as it holds multiple people, equipment, and tackle with ease. The Esquif Heron is perfect for families looking to enjoy a new adventure.
The Heron does not skimp on high-quality materials, either. The foram core hull material provides quiet passage and helps insulation in cold waters. Comfortable webbed seats ensure a good fishing experience for all.
3. Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo – Best for Comfort
The Old Town Sportsman Discovery is a solo fishing vessel with canoe and kayak features. This canoe boasts high storage capacity, effortless paddling, and is lightweight for anglers without a fishing partner.
- Weight: 56 pounds
- Carrying capacity: 354-pounds
- Size dimensions: 11-feet Length: 9”, Width: 32.5 ”,
- Materials: Three-layer polyethylene
- Comfortable padded-kayak seats
- Rod holders
- High-quality material
- Ideal for river fishing
- Single-seat designed only
The Old Town Sportsman Discovery offers a spacious hull where you can put your fishing crates, camping gear, and duck decoys. This canoe does not have a shallow arch hull.
The Discovery has comfortable padded kayak-style seats. You can adjust the backrest and padded armrest and choose a canoe or kayak-style paddling. It also has an integrated cup holder to put your drink.
The Sportsman Discovery contains three-layer polyethylene, making the canoe lightweight and easy to maneuver through the water. It has two forward-facing rod holders for landing a fish and two rear-facing flush-mounted rod holders for rod trolling or storage.
4. Lifetime Kodiak Canoe – Best for Storage Space
If you need an on-budget canoe, the Lifetime Kodiak canoe is the perfect fit. Uniquely designed with high-quality blow-molded polyethylene, the Kodiak canoe has the space you need to store your bait, tackle, snacks, and beverages while you catch your biggest fish yet.
- Weight: 96 pounds
- Carrying capacity: 600 pounds
- Size dimensions: 13 feet long X 39 inches wide
- Materials: Blow-molded polyethylene
- Luggage-style handles
- High-quality material
- Rod Holders
- Removable seats
- Stable canoe
The Lifetime Kodiak canoe is another family-friendly model, ideal for group fishing trips. Your kids will have no issues paddling solo! The canoe has a comfortable luggage-style handle, so you can easily carry it wherever you would like.
This canoe has three seats, with additional floatation and seating for more than three paddlers. The bow and stern seats are removable, and the blow-molded polyethylene provides stability, UV protection, and impact resistance. The Kodiak endures everyday roughness and more intense wear-and-tear with little lasting impact.
A unique feature of the Kodiak canoe is a small wheel in the stern, which helps the canoe roll to the water. It also has an electric motor, making it simple to add a 40-pound thrust trolling motor.
5. NuCanoe Flint – Most Durable
The Nucanoe has the capacity and stability of a canoe with the high-speed performance of a kayak. It provides enough space and gear tracks for mounting accessories such as rod holders and electronics such as fish finders and trackers.
- Weight: 63 pounds
- Carrying capacity: 375 pounds
- Size dimensions: 11-feet, three inches long X 33 inches wide
- Materials: Rotomolded plastic
- High-quality construction
- Affordable price
- Stability and maneuverability
The NuCanoe Flint allows anglers to sit on top of the boat or use a double-bladed kayak paddle. It has an elevated frame seat for comfortable fishing standing up or sitting down.
This model delivers many features and high performance at an affordable price. Constructed with rotomolded plastic, the Flint provides top-notch maneuverability.
Nucanoe includes all the features you might need for remarkable fishing experiences, such as rod storage, fishing gear mounts, tackle storage, etc. It is the only affordable fishing kayak with pedal, paddle, and motor capabilities. There are also sit on top pelican kayak that you can take a look at here.
6. Advanced Elements StraightEdge (Inflatable Canoe) – Best for Travel
The StraightEdge is one of the best fishing canoes from the Advanced Elements brand. Constructed with extra-strength PVC tarpaulin hull materials and polyester fabric covered by layers of vinyl, this inflatable canoe might become your favorite fishing boat.
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Carrying capacity: 400 pounds
- Size dimensions: 10-feet, 6-inches long X 38.5-inches wide
- Materials: Multi-layer PVC
- Many additional features
- Drop stitch floors
- Accessory frame system
- Sturdy fishing canoe
- Inflatable canoe
- Small size
The StraightEdge Angler Pro handles rough waters and wear-and-tear smoothly due to the PVC hull. The Angler Pro also has a drop-stitch floor that creates a hull with tracking ability and rigidity to provide stability in harsh conditions. It has accessory frame systems which help you mount rod holders, accessories, or fishfinders.
This canoe has fully adjustable airframe pro seats that provide high support and comfort for hours of paddling. If you want to try your hand at long-term fishing, this canoe has your back.
This model is portable and packs seamlessly. You can even transport it via airplane by checking the packed canoe as luggage. Other features such as stainless steel d-rings, bungee deck, paddle holders, and rib-from technology for precise tracking and performance make the StraightEdge a must-have for passionate anglers.
7. Wenonah Backwater – Best Variety
The Wenonah Backwater is one of the most versatile fishing canoes. The Backwater has a square stern that helps you attach a motor (if you want one). This model handles high speeds well and provides a fantastic fishing, hunting, or general recreation experience.
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Size dimensions: 15 inches long X 41 inches wide
- Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
- Type: Square stern canoes
- Extra durability and stability
- High-quality construction
- Square stern canoe
- It can support a motor in the 2-3 hp range.
- Not portable
The Backwater has comfortable webbed nylon seats and extra interior space for added legroom. Tall anglers or those looking for extra comfort for long trips will especially love this model. Its square stern provides a smooth ride and adds comfort.
This canoe can support a motor of 2 to 3 hp or trolling motor of at least 55 pounds. The Backwater can carry a variety of loads from gear to family members, so you can use this canoe whether you will go with your family for a picnic or on a fishing trip with lots of equipment.
Overall, this canoe is a premium choice that provides stability, flexibility, and extra durability. Its primary unique feature is the square stern.
Best Fishing Canoe Buying Guide
If you know a fishing canoe is your next big purchase, you should keep some essential aspects in mind while browsing. Below are some considerations that may determine which model works best for your fishing needs.
When it comes to canoes, size matters – volume affects the speed, ease of paddling, and maneuvering of the canoe on rough waters. Canoe size refers to the length, width, and depth. In general, giant canoes are more stable and spacious; however, they tend to be less maneuverable.
Long canoes are heavy and have more seats, which is not the best choice if you are looking for a solo fishing canoe. Smaller canoes are lightweight, easily maneuverable, and portable, ideal for traveling to new fishing locations.
Substantially-sized canoes easily store hunting gear, tackle, or camping equipment. It can carry more weight than a rotomolded kayak, and it has enough space for the family.
Higher capacity levels mean a larger size, so if you want to embark on treacherous waters or high-speed fishing ventures, you may want to consider a solo canoe.
Stability is an essential quality when it comes to fishing. Wider fishing canoes provide more stability.
Your canoe should be stable enough to keep you afloat and comfortable throughout your fishing session, but you do not want it so broad that it takes up too much space on the waterway.
Some fishing canoes use less material to make them lightweight and easier to transport, handle, and maneuver.
If you plan to travel for fishing or hike to your destination, an inflatable canoe might be your best bet. The inflatable models are lightweight and made for transport, so you will not immediately run out of energy from carrying your canoe.
Try to look for fishing canoes made from multi-layer plastic and composite materials, which are difficult to damage and easy to repair. Most of the above canoes utilize rotomolded or thermoformed plastic. These plastics have rigidity but not as much durability.
Take a look at the space behind the seat to see if it has enough storage for accessories, equipment, rods, tackle, food, and beverages to provide a better fishing experience.
You do not need to take tons of food and such with you, but if you embark on an all-day journey, you need something aboard to keep your energy up.
Are you still wondering if a fishing canoe is right for you? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about fishing canoes from other anglers.
How Much Does a Good Canoe Cost?
The price of your canoe depends on the brand, size, and quality. A good canoe has an average cost of $900, but they range from $650 to $1500. Kayaks come in these price range as well. There are also the fishing kayaks here that are under $1000 for your preference.
Second-hand canoes are an available option as well. Used fishing canoes average at about $400 but range from $300 to $550.
Which Canoe Material is Best?
The above canoes have differing materials, but which material is best is subjective and depends on the intention of the canoe. For instance, the best canoe material for rocky beaches and rough waters is aluminum and rugged plastics, but inflatable canoes and rotomolded canoes are universally beneficial.
The ideal canoe materials for calm and smooth waters are plastics, aluminum, and wood, while fiberglass suits fast paddling and rough waters.
Is Canoe or Kayak Fishing Better?
Canoes are more spacious and have higher storage capacity. They have enough room for family trips or long fishing expeditions. The fishing canoe generally runs lighter than the kayak.
On the other hand, the kayak is more stable with a comfier seat. It is ideal for solo fishing trips, and it is easier to paddle.
However, if you want a combination of both, you can choose a hybrid canoe that provides both features of a canoe and kayak. You can take a look at these kayaks under 600 and compare each of them.
What Type of Canoe is Best for Fishing?
The best canoe for fishing has these specifics: it is under 13-feet, has a hull for stability, and has space for fishing accessories. It has the above specific; it might be a good choice for fishing.
Is a Wider Canoe Better?
Yes, it is. Width increases stability and storage space. The narrow canoes are less stable than the broad models and usually only work for short trips and solo anglers.
Our Final Thoughts
Fishing canoes are a great choice to level up your fishing skills and experience. Travel Canoe 16 Inflatable Canoe comfortably takes our top spot, but other canoes such as Old Town Sportsman and Lifetime Kodiak are great options for people looking for a comfortable experience out on the water.
The best fishing canoes should provide stability, storage capacity, durability, and seamless transport. Finding the perfect fishing canoe for your needs (and your family) may be a trial and error operation, but the result is well worth the journey.
Good luck, and happy paddling!