The Best Canoe for Fly Fishing 2022 (5 Models That Will Get the Job Done)

Finding the best canoe for fly fishing can be a daunting task. With so many different models on the market, it can be hard to know which one will suit your needs the best.

In this blog post, we will discuss five of the best canoes for fly fishing and provide a brief overview of each one.

We’ll also give you a few tips on what to look for when choosing a canoe for fly fishing. Let’s get started.

The Best Canoe for Fly Fishing

Can you fly fish from a canoe?

Can you fly fish from a canoe? Of course! In fact, many anglers prefer to fly fish from a canoe because it allows them to reach places that boats can’t.

Canoes have a shallow draft, so they can get into shallow water, and they’re also stealthy, so you can sneak up on fish. Plus, who doesn’t love being out on the water in a canoe?

If you’re thinking about trying fly-fishing from a canoe, just be sure to practice your casting before you go out – it can be tricky to cast from a moving boat.

What to look for in a good fly fishing canoe

Comfort

I’ve been fishing in a lot of different canoes over the years, and I’ve found that some are definitely more comfortable than others.

For example, I don’t like to fish in those really long canoes – they just aren’t very comfortable for sitting in for long periods.

My favorite canoes are the ones that have a nice wide seat and a lot of space to move around. That way, I can adjust my position as needed and stay comfortable all day long.

Canoe Size

If you’re in the market for a canoe, you might be overwhelmed by all the different size options. But don’t worry, the size isn’t nearly as important as the hull shape.

The main thing you want to avoid is a recreational canoe, which is meant for still water instead of rapids.

My personal favorite is 16 feet long and 35 inches wide, but it depends on your needs.

The most important thing is to find a canoe that will allow you to navigate the waters safely and efficiently. With the right hull shape, you’ll be able to paddle through any challenges that come your way.

Type of canoe

When it comes to canoes, there are a variety of different types to choose from. If you’re planning on using your canoe for fishing, then you’ll want to make sure you select a sporting canoe.

These types of canoes offer a good balance of stability and packing space. Additionally, some canoes are designed for hauling a bunch of gear through moving water, while others are better suited for recreation.

Ultimately, the type of canoe you choose should be based on your specific needs and preferences.

Price

Of course, price is always a consideration when choosing a canoe. But don’t let the price tag be the only factor in your decision.

There are plenty of affordable canoes out there that will suit your needs just fine. And, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get a top-of-the-line canoe that will last you for years to come.

No matter what your budget is, there’s a perfect canoe out there for you.

What are the best canoes for fly fishing?

Now that you know what to look for in a good fly fishing canoe, let’s take a look at five of the best canoes on the market.

Old Town Discovery 133

Old Town Sportsman Discovery Solo 119 is a versatile canoe that is perfect for anglers and hunters. It is extremely agile and stable and comes packed with handy convenience features.

The padded seat and armrests make it comfortable to paddle for long periods, and the customizable accessory tracks allow you to bring along all of your necessary gear.

This fishing canoe has a maximum capacity of 354 pounds and can be paddled with either a single-blade or double-blade paddle.

Pros:

  • Comfortable seat.
  • Space to move around.
  • Stealthy design.
  • Shallow draft.
  • Can navigate through rapids safely.

Cons:

  • Not the best for long periods.

NuCanoe Frontier 10

The NuCanoe Frontier 10 is a versatile, lightweight canoe that is perfect for anglers and hunters.

It is extremely agile and stable and comes packed with handy convenience features.

The padded seat and armrests make it comfortable to paddle for long periods, and the customizable accessory tracks allow you to bring along all of your necessary gear.

This fishing canoe has a maximum capacity of 500 pounds and can be paddled with either a single-blade or double-blade paddle.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Comfortable seat.
  • Space to move around.
  • Can navigate through rapids safely.
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Cons:

  • Not the best for long periods.

Old Modern Handicrafts Wooden Canoe

If you’re looking for a beautiful and high-quality display canoe that will be the center of attention in any space, look no further than this model from Old Modern Handicrafts.

Made from Canadian red cedar and fiberglass, this canoe is extremely durable and lightweight. It’s also stunningly beautiful, with a matte finish that gives it greater texture and richness.

Paddle included.

Pros:

  • Beautiful design.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Sturdy construction.

Cons:

  • None.

Old Town Penobscot 174

The Old Town Penobscot 174 Canoe is a great choice for paddlers of any experience level. It has a shallow arch bottom and slight rocker that make it a sleek, nimble tripping canoe for solo or tandem paddlers.

The nylon mesh seats, aluminum gunwales, comfortable carrying handles, and ash thwarts and yoke makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a durable, tough canoe.

It has an exceptional 1500-pound maximum load capacity and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Paddles are not included.

Pros:

  • Great for paddlers of any experience level.
  • Sleek, nimble design.
  • Durable and tough construction.
  • Exceptional load capacity.

Cons:

  • High price.

MYCANOE Duo Origami

The MYCANOE Duo Origami is a high-quality, lightweight canoe that can be assembled in just minutes. It is made from custom polypropylene with a 15-year UV treatment and can hold up to 500 pounds.

This canoe is perfect for solo or tandem paddling and has a sleek, nimble design that makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a durable, tough canoe.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Can be assembled in minutes.
  • 15-year UV treatment.
  • Perfect for solo or tandem paddling.

Cons:

  • Expensive

What length of canoe paddle is best for fly fishing?

I recommend a 240 cm or longer canoe paddle when fly fishing from a solo canoe. I have found that the typical 220 cm kayak paddle is too short when trying to fish from a canoe.

The reason is that the canoe is wider than a kayak, so you need a longer paddle to reach the water.

A longer paddle also gives you more power to paddle against the current. I have found that the 240 cm paddle is the perfect length for me, but you may want to try a few different lengths before you decide what works best for you.

What type of canoe is best for fly fishing?

Fly fishing is a passion of mine, and I have spent many hours paddling different types of a canoe in pursuit of the perfect catch. In my opinion, the best type of canoe for fly fishing is one that is lightweight and portable.

Canoes can be cumbersome to transport, and heavier models can be difficult to maneuver on the water.

A lightweight canoe, on the other hand, can be easily carried to the water’s edge and maneuvered with precision.

Stability is also important when fly fishing, as you need to be able to cast your line without fear of tipping over.

For these reasons, I believe that portable canoes are the best option for those who want to enjoy a day of fly fishing.

Is a canoe better than a kayak for fly fishing?

I grew up fishing from canoes. My dad always took my brother and me out in our canoe, trolling for bass and pike. We would spend hours on the water, and I loved every minute of it.

When I moved away to college, I started fly fishing. It was a whole new world for me, and I quickly fell in love with it. The peace of being out on the river, surrounded by nothing but nature… it was amazing.

A few years ago, my wife and I bought a cabin on a remote stretch of river. We spend every weekend there during the summer months, fishing from our kayaks. The more time I spend fly fishing from a kayak, the more I realize how much better it is than a canoe.

When it comes to fly fishing, there are a lot of different opinions on the best way to do it. Some people swear by canoes, while others prefer kayaks. I’ve tried both, and for me, the kayak is the better option.

The biggest advantage to a kayak is the ability to have foot pedal paddling. This allows you to be hands-free while moving, which in turn, allows you to cast while moving. That’s a huge advantage when you’re trying to cover a lot of water in search of fish.

Another big advantage is the stability of the kayak over the canoe. If you have balance issues, this could be a deciding factor in which boat you choose.

What are the advantages of fly fishing from a canoe?

  1. I never really gave much thought to fly fishing from a canoe until I had the opportunity to try it out. It didn’t take long for me to realize the advantages of fly fishing from this type of watercraft. The shallow draft made it possible to navigate through areas that were inaccessible by other boats. I was also able to get closer to the fish, which resulted in more bites.
  2. You can move around quietly and stealthily, which is essential for sneaking up on fish. You can also get into tight spots that larger boats can’t reach, which gives you a lot more options when it comes to where you want to fish.
  3. Another advantage of fly fishing from a canoe is that it’s very low maintenance. There’s no engine to maintain or gas to buy; you simply paddle your way to where you want to go.

What are the disadvantages of fly fishing from a canoe?

Not enough stability

The disadvantages of fly fishing from a canoe quickly became apparent to me on my first trip out. I was new to the sport and had no idea how challenging it would be to balance in a canoe while trying to cast a fly rod. My inexperience led to several spills into the river, which not only made for a wet and frustrating experience but also decreased my accuracy when casting.

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It wasn’t all bad though. After a few hours of practice, I started to get the hang of it and was able to make some decent casts. The biggest challenge for me was staying balanced in the canoe while doing so. It required quite a bit of agility and balance, something that I’m not as young as I used to be.

Propulsion

I was reminded of the disadvantages of fly fishing from a canoe when I recently attempted to fish a small creek. The creek was only about 10 feet wide and ran between two large boulders, making it the perfect spot for trout. However, getting to the spot involved paddling up a narrow, fast-moving stream.

I soon found out that fly fishing from a canoe is not as easy as it looks. The biggest challenge is keeping the canoe stable while casting. If you lean too far to one side, you risk capsizing your boat. And if you lose your balance while trying to retrieve your fly, you could end up in the water.

The other big challenge is propulsion. Paddling against the current can be exhausting, and if you’re not careful, you can quickly lose ground. In a kayak, you can use a paddle to help you move forward, but in a canoe, you’re at the mercy of the current.

Can’t be stopped quickly

The ability to quickly stop is one of the disadvantages. I was using a light tackle rod and reel, so when that big fish popped up out of nowhere, I couldn’t react fast enough. Needless to say, I lost that fish.

Fish tend to pop up when you least expect them. When fishing from a boat, the added weight and new technologies make stopping the boat quickly far easier than when using a canoe. 

Storage

For me, the biggest one is storage. You can’t just open up a storage compartment on a canoe-like you can on a boat – your gear will be all over the place, and it will be very difficult to move around the canoe without breaking or stepping on anything.

I’ve found that using storage bins, like a milk crate, for tackle is helpful. I’ve also modified my canoe where possible to add rod holders and push pole/paddle holders. This makes life much easier when fishing from a canoe.

Having a designated standing space with plenty of room for all my gear makes fly fishing from a canoe much more enjoyable for me.

Is fly fishing on a paddleboard a good idea?

One of my favorite ways to fly-fish is from a paddle board. I find that it’s the easiest way to manage your fly line and the fly rod can be placed in front of you at your feet.

There is a limited amount of space, making this ideal for someone who doesn’t bring a lot of gear with them. A small box of flies, a fly rod, and a paddle are about all you would want to carry.

Being that the board is flat and usually only a couple of inches above the waterline, it’s easier to lose things over the side. This is another reason you want to pack light. Again this is the best option for the minimalist.

There are paddle boards designed specifically for fishing and they usually have a place to put a cooler or fish bag as well as some built-in rod holders. These are great if you want to take your time and enjoy the scenery while fishing.

A paddleboard is a great way to enjoy the water, whether you’re surfing, fishing, or just paddling around. But one thing to consider when paddleboarding is the draft. Since a paddleboard is similar to a surfboard, it uses a large fin to keep you tracking straight.

This will add a draft to the paddleboard and will cause them to draft around 6”. This will be greater than the draft of the paddleboard or kayak that simply has the boat in the water.

Shorter fins can be purchased or the existing fin can be cut down to lower the draft. While on paddleboard fishing, you are not making large turns like when using one in the ocean, therefore very little fin is needed in the water to maneuver around.

So if you’re looking for a great way to enjoy the water, be sure to keep the draft in mind when choosing a paddleboard.

BOTE Deus Aero – the best paddleboard for fly fishing

The BOTE Deus Aero paddleboard is a great option for anyone looking for the best of both worlds.

It converts easily from a kayak to a SUP, and it’s inflatable and portable so it can go with you wherever you go.

The Deus is stable and durable, and it comes equipped with all the features you need for a successful fishing trip.

Plus, the BOTE Deus Aero comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, so you can be sure it will stand up to the rigors of fishing.

Canoe fly fishing tips and tricks

Casting technique

A crisp back cast and economically casting action will help a lot to fly fish from a canoe. Fly fishing from a canoe is not for beginners or intermediates really and if you plan on doing it, work on your casting until it is second nature.

For starters, you will be casting sitting down, which makes things tricky. And because your legs are pointing forward you are already in an awkward position to cast anywhere that’s not straight in front of you.

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You’ll also be sometimes casting to the left and right, whereas you’ll continually be facing forward.

Having a good basic stroke allows you to modify it as required to cast on those angles and to reduce the number of false casts. Every false cast on a canoe brings the possibility of tangles.

Fishing on a river introduces additional challenges with the wind. A headwind can push your line down into the water making it drag and difficult to control. A crosswind can cause your line to bow and sag making accuracy more difficult.

In both cases, you need to increase the amount of slack in your line by false casting more or less across the wind to keep tight control of your line throughout your entire presentation. If all this sounds difficult, it is. But with a little practice, you can become quite accurate and be able to put your fly where you want it.

Try to avoid overshooting

When approaching likely spots for fish, resist the temptation to cast your whole fly line. A roll cast or single false cast will be more than enough to get your fly where you need it to go. Not only will this minimize noise, but it will also help you avoid spooking the fish.

Be sure to keep an eye out for obstacles in your path, especially when paddling through shallow water. submerged logs, rocks, and other hazards can damage your canoe or injure you if you aren’t paying attention. Slow down and take your time when paddling in unfamiliar waters.

Safety goes first

Canoe fly fishing can be an amazing experience, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind to stay safe.

  1. Always wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device).
  2. If you are paddling in a remote area, it is also a good idea to bring along a Personal Locator Beacon. This can be activated if you get into trouble and need to summon search and rescue.
  3. Mobile phones can be unreliable in these situations as you may have issues with reception, battery life, and the potential for them to be dropped in the water. So make sure you have a backup plan in place.

By following these simple safety tips, you can enjoy canoe fly fishing while staying safe on the water.

Choose the correct rod and line weight

If you’re looking to get into canoe fly fishing, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First of all, you’ll need the right rod and line weight.

You’re not going to be delicately throwing dry flies in a hatch; more likely, you’ll be throwing something big and buoyant for trout on the surface, or a streamer to target deeper areas.

In salt water, you’ll usually be throwing a pattern with dumbbell eyes, like a Clouser or shrimp pattern.

Lakes, bays, and coastal estuaries are often windy as well, so you’ll need a rod that can pack enough power to throw these heavier or bulky flies, even with a limited backcast and awkward positioning. For me, that means a six-weight or above, depending on what you’re targeting.

Another thing to keep in mind is that canoe fly fishing is all about finding the right spot. You want to look for areas where there’s a cover from the wind, but still enough open water to cast your line.

And finally, patience is key. Canoe fly fishing can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. So take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t get frustrated if you don’t catch anything the first few times out.

Keep things in order and tidy

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be neat. Even if you are just punching out short casts, you are going to end up with a line piled up at the bottom of the canoe.

It’s not good when you get on to a fish only to find that this line is wrapped around your tackle box or pliers and pulls tight, causing the fish to bust off.

So stow this kind of gear beneath your seat wherever possible so that you can release the line easily and get the fish on the reel. And above all, pack light. Don’t take any gear you don’t need.

That way you avoid overcrowding in the canoe and the prospect of losing all your gear if you capsize.

Use kayak outriggers for improved stability

When I first started canoe fly fishing, I quickly learned that stability is key. I considered adding outriggers to my canoe to boost its stability and make it easier to cast.

Outriggers are particularly useful if you are often out in any sort of waves. They can help you keep your balance and prevent your fly line from tangling.

If you are new to canoe fly fishing, I would recommend practicing with a friend who can help you stay safe and give you tips on how to improve your casting.

Conclusion

Canoe fly fishing is a great way to get out on the water and enjoy some time casting your line. But it’s important to remember to be safe, choose the right gear, and keep things tidy to have a successful trip. With a little practice, you’ll be an expert in no time.

What are your thoughts on canoe fly fishing? Have you tried it before? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated on June 29, 2022 by Duncan Barrett

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