The Top 5 Best Canoes For Fly Fishing

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Grabbing a canoe and taking it out to the lake is one of the more enjoyable ways to fish. You could use any old canoe and it should work fine, but if you’re doing any sort of serious fishing, you’ll want to pick the right rig. There are different hull styles you can pick, different lengths, and different widths. In this post, I’m going to be talking about my favorite canoes to use for fly fishing.

We’ll cover what I like to look for in a canoe, the hull type I’d recommend, my preferred size, and then my top picks. I don’t own all of them myself but I have seen them at different outdoor shows and all of them seem like they’d work great. They’re in no particular order. Let’s get started.

What We Look For In A Canoe

Comfort: One of the most important things is picking a canoe that’s actually comfortable to sit in. If you’re going to be fishing you’ll probably be sitting for a long period of time. There’s really nothing worse than sitting in an uncomfortable boat all day long. All of the canoes I’ll be mentioning are fairly comfortable for longer periods of time.

Type: You’re also going to want to make sure you pick the right type of canoe. There are a number of different styles, but the best type of canoe for fishing is going to be a sporting canoe. These will give you a good balance of stability and packing space. Some canoes are designed for hauling a bunch of gear through moving water while others are designed for recreation.

Size: Canoes come in a range of lengths and widths but those actually aren’t as important as you think. The main thing that matters is having the right hull shape. Just make sure you aren’t using a recreational canoe because those are made for still water where you’re just paddling around. My personal favorite size is somewhere around 16 feet long and 35 inches wide.

Best Canoes For Fly Fishing

1. Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman

If you’re looking for a good solo canoe then this will probably be for you. I like it because it’s small, lightweight, and can be carried by yourself. It’s also stable enough to stand in and fly fish (as long as the water is fairly calm).

The length of this canoe is just under 12 feet long and it weighs a little over 50 lbs. Not going to be light enough for everyone to carry but that’s kind of expected with an object like this.

It’s awesome because it already has two rod holders built-in and has plenty of room on the back for your tackle box and backpack. Everything I’d bring out with me had a place to go, so that was all I could really ask for.

The seat is also pretty comfortable and can be adjusted however you want. If you’re not going to be fishing there’s also a bit of room for your dog (if you have one). It’s not the most comfortable situation but it is manageable.

Learn more about the Discovery 119 on Amazon.

2. Old Town Discovery 133

If you want a canoe where you can row instead of paddling then this could be perfect for you. You can still row this canoe with two people but it does come with oar mounts too. You can even buy a motor mount for it if you have a small motor.

I like this model because it’s fairly wide which makes it super stable when you’re fishing or when you’re hauling cargo. As long as you’re in fairly calm water, you should have no issues standing up in this canoe.

I would recommend you get some seats with backrests if you’re going to be fishing for a period of time. I’m sure you know what it’s like to not have them. Not very fun at all.

Learn more about the Discovery 133 here.

3. Old Town Discovery Sport 15

If you have a small gas or electric motor and want to strap it to your canoe, this will probably be for you. It’s designed with a flat back and that’ll let you quickly attach your motor without needing an extra mount.

It’s rated for anything up to 4 hp but I normally use an electric motor and it’s got plenty of power behind it. You can still paddle it no problem but nothing beats having a motor to get you around the lake.

The hull on this canoe is the right one for fishing and should be sturdy enough to stand and fly fish. If you’re using paddles, you can carry up to 1650 lbs, which should be plenty for whatever you’re doing. If you’re using a motor, you can have 4 people or 800 lbs of stuff.

Learn more about the Discovery Sport 15.

4. Wenonah Fisherman

This is another great option if you’re looking for a canoe to paddle. You can mount a motor on it but you’ll need to purchase a motor mount for that. I like this model because it has a nice and wide middle and is designed specifically for fishing.

The overall length is 14 feet and the width of the center is just under 40 inches. What’s cool about these canoes is that they’re custom. You can pick from a bunch of different colors and you can also get it made from different materials.

You can get an ultra-light hull, one that’s made from graphite, one that’s extra durable, and a few others.

Learn more about the Fisherman here.

5. Wenonah Backwater

Wenonah Backwater Canoe

If you like the design and customization of the Wenonah but you want to mount a motor, this will probably be the one for you. It has a flat backend where you can quickly put gas or electric motor. I prefer this over the standard design with a motor mount.

Obviously, you can still use paddles, but having the motor on the back will give you a smoother ride. The length of the canoe is 15 feet long and the width of the center is just over 40 inches. It’s a really sturdy rig.

Again, you can customize the color and hull material. The standard options still work great though.

Learn more about the Backwater here.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. This site is where I test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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