Inflatable and folding canoes
Inflatable and folding canoes are an evolving category. These canoes and kayaks offer the portability and storability needed for urban living and public transit. They’re popular at some remote fly-in fish camps for the same reasons.
They are made from a variety of materials, including vinyl and plastics, and performance can vary widely depending on the technology used. Good ones are tough enough to withstand punctures from rocks and hooks.
Is a fishing canoe stable?
Whether you fish solo or with the kids and family hound hanging over the gunwales, stability is perhaps the most critical feature for fishing canoeists. How “tippy” a canoe does or doesn’t feel is a combination of the environmental conditions, a paddler’s experience and the canoe’s design. A canoe’s stability is determined by its width and cross-sectional shape. A wider canoe is more stable, while narrow canoes are generally faster and more efficient in the water.
Flat-bottomed canoes are a favorite among sporting canoeists. Flat-bottomed hulls offer the widest platform on the water, so they feel more stable than other hull shapes in calm conditions. For sheltered water, a flat-bottom canoe is a great option. However, this shape sacrifices speed and rough water performance.
Anglers regularly fishing on large lakes or moving water may want to consider a more versatile shallow-arch or shallow-V hull, which may feel less stable initially, but will more comfortably roll with waves.
How to choose the perfect size of fishing canoe
Opt for a canoe that matches the type of fishing you often do, rather than the fishing you dream of doing. For example, if you regularly steal away for solo dawn patrol, choose a smaller canoe you can easily paddle alone. Don’t get stuck trying to solo an unwieldy 18-footer more suited to multi-week tandem fishing trips in the Boundary Waters.
A little pack boat may be ideal for dedicated solo anglers who paddle mostly protected waters. These lithe canoe-kayak hybrids were popular for pond hopping in the Adirondacks at the turn of the 20th century and they’ve made a comeback. They’re often built with featherweight composites—it’s not uncommon for a 12.5-foot design to weigh just 24 pounds and measure 27 inches wide—although other compositions are increasingly common.
Pack boats have a shallow depth and are designed to be paddled by a single canoeist sitting on the hull using a double blade, like in a kayak. They’re efficient for their length but not ideal for rough water or standing in.
A mid-size symmetrical canoe is a versatile option for anglers who fish solo sometimes and want to fish with a friend at other times. A 15-foot model can weigh anywhere from 25 pounds to more than 50 pounds, depending on hull material. It’s a size that can easily handle everything from solo wilderness tripping to day touring with a second angler aboard.
A symmetrical canoe—where the bow and stern have the same shape—allows a solo paddler the option to flip the canoe around and paddle solo from the bow seat, where they will be closer to the center of the canoe.