Canoe Fishing [14 Tips and 11 Accessories]

Canoe fishing is arguably the best way to catch fish and relax on the water. However, to ensure that you have the best fishing experience, you have to be prepared.

14 tips for maximizing your enjoyment while canoe fishing are as follows:

  1. Get a fishing permit.
  2. Get information about the water and the weather.
  3. Wear a personal floating device.
  4. Stay in the center of the canoe.
  5. Kneel for added stability.
  6. Be inconspicuous by using a trolling motor.
  7. Attract fish to your canoe.
  8. Cast with a 90° angle.
  9. Adapt your position based on the fish you want to catch.
  10. Practice drifting in your canoe.
  11. Rig the canoe yourself.
  12. Get a foldable anchor.
  13. Protect your gear.
  14. Bring a friend.

11 of the best canoe fishing accessories are as follows:

  1. Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor – Click here to see it on Amazon Our #1 Top Pick!
  2. Slide Anchor – Box Anchor for Offshore Anchoring Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Lowrance HDS-16 Live C-Map Insight Active Imaging 3-N-1
  4. Scotty Depthking Manual Downrigger
  5. Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal Drive
  6. Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler
  7. WOOWAVE Kayak Seat Padded Deluxe Canoe Seat Adjustable Boat Seat
  8. System G Fishing + Bag and Accessories Collection
  9. Indoor or Outdoor Canoe Rack
  10. IKURAM Canoe Roof Carrier of Bilateral Premier J-Style Folding
  11. Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Canoe Trailer
canoe fishing

A canoe is great for fishing because it is relatively lightweight and very portable. You can easily transport it using the roof rack on a truck or larger-sized car. Once in the water, it is maneuverable, allowing you to explore various fishing spots.

Read on to learn more about our top canoe fishing tips, including the best canoe fishing setup and accessories.

Also, for an excellent trolling motor for your canoe, take a look at our top pick, the Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor. It is easy to install, powerful, and quiet, so it won’t scare the fish:

Click here to see it on Amazon.

And, for the best foldable anchor, take a look at the Slide Anchor. The Slide Anchor is the best compact, foldable anchor for canoe fishing. It folds into a small size, and it is designed to hold your canoe against the fastest currents.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Canoe Fishing – 14 Important Tips

Below are the 14 essential tips you should take note of before going on a canoe fishing trip.

Of all the canoe fishing tips that you will learn, the best to remember is the safety tips. Whatever the conditions are, always keep in mind that your safety on the water is far more important than the enjoyment you can get or the number of fish you can catch.

In this regard, and especially if this is your first time using your canoe for fishing, it will be wise for you to take a boating safety course. You need to understand that every state has its own specific set of laws that regulate the use of boats and fishing gear.

Below are the best canoe fishing tips and gear advice to maximize your canoe’s fun and safety:

1. Get a Fishing Permit

It is not very difficult to get a fishing permit or license in most states. You can apply for it online or by phone. To avoid getting a fake license, only use your state’s fish and game department’s official website.

You can also get or buy a license at a fishing store. Some states even allow fishing licenses to be bought from Wal-Mart stores. Arm yourself with a fishing license so nobody will accuse you of fishing illegally.

2. Get Information about the Water and the Weather

Before you jump into the water, you should first know its conditions, including the weather. This is important in ensuring that you will have a successful canoe fishing trip. You will get the right information if you visit the official website of the location you intend to visit.

This website should have enough information about the fish you can catch there, the laws that regulate fishing in that place, the best time to fish, and many more.

It’s also important to know what kind of weather you will face in that area to prepare all the right clothing and gear you will need.

3. Wear a Personal Floating Device (PFD)

An essential part of any fishing canoe setup is a good PFD. Don’t forget to wear a PFD every time you are in the water. The only time you take it off is when you are already back on land. Make sure that your friend is also wearing their own PFD.

4. Stay in the Center

Always keep your body at the center of the canoe. This will reduce your chances of tipping the boat on one of its sides. Remember to do this when you are casting your line, reeling in the fish, or fighting one.

The narrower the width of the canoe, the easier it will be for it to tip over. So, if you can, choose a wider canoe over a narrower one.

canoe vs kayak fishing

5. Kneel for Added Stability

If you kneel in the canoe instead of sitting, you will add stability to the canoe since it will lower your center of gravity. This will also get you closer to the canoe and be able to control it more. For comfort, you can wear knee pads.

While kneeling, over half of your body weight will still be carried by the seat. This will also relieve the pressure from your legs. If you want to stand in the canoe, see that it is anchored solidly in the water.

Before standing, ready your gear first and then slowly rise to a crouching position. Then hold one side of the canoe with one arm and the other with your other arm.

With both arms as support, slowly raise your body and plant your feet solidly on the floor. Remember, when fishing from a canoe, always center yourself in the canoe so that it won’t tip on either side.

6. Be Inconspicuous by Using a Trolling Motor

Being inconspicuous on the water is very important when fishing from a canoe. Fish are disturbed by your constant paddling on the water.

If you use a trolling motor, you will get to the right fishing spot without the fish noticing you.

7. Attract Fish to Your Canoe

You can attract fish to your canoe by attaching a shiny object to its back. As you troll or paddle quietly and slowly on the water, the fish will see the shiny object and flock to it.

Fish are always attracted to bright and shiny objects. The things that you can attach can be as simple as a metal fork or spoon. 

8. Cast with a 90° Angle

Cast your rod tip with a 90° angle. This will provide the best curve so that you can fight and reel fish more effectively.

9. Adapt Your Position Based on the Fish You Want to Catch

Search for the best position for the canoe according to the kind of fish you are trying to catch. It is also important for you to center your canoe on the water. Keep it level with the water, and not one end or one side propped up more than the other.

Always keep your bait drifting on the water from right to left or vice versa directly at your front. Make sure to maintain this position always. Keep your canoe parallel to the current and away from the shoreline. This will help the bait move along with the boat. And never fight the wind.

10. Practice Drifting in Your Canoe

Keep your canoe floating sideways with the current, and then drift a white twister and a bright-colored 3/8 ounce jig. Your vertical should remain tight, which means if the current is fast, you have to use a heavier jig.

Keep your rod tip high as well and as you drift, try to feel the bottom. With little paddling, you will be able to control your drifting. Change your orientation from left to right by thrusting the paddle backward on either side of the canoe. 

11. Rig the Canoe Yourself

Rigging the canoe yourself is cheaper, and it will contain just the gear that you need. Before rigging it, consider the conditions of the water where you want to fish. There are two types of canoe fishing setup: diamond and gravity.

The majority of anglers prefer the diamond rig because it keeps unattached objects from rolling noisily around the canoe. This rigging is ideal for those who are just learning how to fish in a canoe.

fishing canoe setup

The gravity rig is preferred by more seasoned anglers who are using wider canoes. With this kind of rig, there is less chance for the boat to tip over.

If you want the rigging done professionally, you can ask an experienced rigger to do it. One benefit of a professional fishing canoe setup is that the rig comes with a certain warranty.

12. Get a Foldable Anchor

Foldable anchors offer greater stability while fishing on the water. The typical weights of these anchors range from 1.5 to 4 pounds. Being foldable, you won’t encounter any difficulty in storing them.

The best compact, foldable anchor for canoeing is the Slide Anchor. This anchor saves space on your canoe as it folds into a small size. Despite its smaller size, it has a brilliant design that grabs the bottom of the water and keeps your canoe from floating away.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

13. Protect Your Gear

Use appropriate gear cases or waterproof dry bags to protect and secure the fishing gear you are not currently using. If your boat tips over, it won’t get wet. Additionally, they won’t get lost at the bottom of the stream or lake.

14. Bring a Friend

Having someone with you go fishing on the water can increase your safety. Also, two extra hands paddling the water are better than just your own two hands. You can take turns paddling and thereby make your canoe fishing trip more relaxing.

More importantly, if something unforeseen happens, you have someone who can help you get out of tight situations.

Best Canoe Fishing Setup – 11 Accessories

When it comes to a proper fishing canoe setup, you should do your research and ensure you have all the essentials. The best canoe fishing accessories and gear that will maximize your enjoyment on the water are as follows:

1. Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor

When you get tired of paddling, it is helpful to have a trolling motor on your canoe. A trolling motor is also quieter than paddling, so it won’t scare away the fish.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

2. Slide Anchor – Box Anchor for Offshore Boat Anchoring

The Slide Anchor is the best compact, foldable anchor for canoe fishing. It folds into a small size, and it is designed to hold your canoe against the fastest currents.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

3. Lowrance HDS-16 Live C-Map Insight Active Imaging 3-N-1

Click here to see it on Amazon.

4. Scotty Depthking Manual Downrigger

Click here to see it on Amazon.

5. Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal Drive

Click here to see it on Amazon.

6. Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler

Click here to see it on Amazon.

7. WOOWAVE Kayak Seat Padded Deluxe Canoe Seat Adjustable Boat Seat

Click here to see it on Amazon.

8. System G Fishing + Bag and Accessories Collection

No fishing canoe setup is complete without a proper tackle bag or box. This System G Fishing bag is lightweight, durable, and has tons of space for your gear.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

9. Indoor or Outdoor Kayak Rack, Canoe Rack, or SUP Rack

Click here to see it on Amazon.

10. IKURAM Kayak/Surf/Ski Roof Carrier of Bilateral Premier J-Style Folding

Click here to see it on Amazon.

11. Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Kayak Trailer Durable Transport for Kayaks, Canoes, SUPs, and Bicycles

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Canoe vs Kayak Fishing

What is better – a canoe or kayak for fishing? There are several differences between using a canoe vs kayak for fishing. The table below lists the differences between kayak and canoe fishing:

CanoeKayak
Comfort:More comfortableLess comfortable
Stability:Less stableMore stable
Fishing Accessories/Gear:More or less the sameMore or less the same
Gear Storage:More storage spaceLess storage space
Size:Variety of sizesVariety of sizes

There exist different types and sizes for both canoes and kayaks. Depending on the size, fishing from a canoe might be better than a certain type and size of the kayak and vice versa.

Conclusion – Canoe Fishing Setup, Accessories, and Tips

If you want to make sure that you will have a successful and enjoyable canoe fishing trip, follow these 14 tips:

  1. Get a fishing permit.
  2. Get information about the water and the weather.
  3. Wear a personal floating device.
  4. Stay in the center.
  5. Kneel for added stability.
  6. Be inconspicuous by using a trolling motor.
  7. Attract fish to your canoe.
  8. Cast with a 90° angle.
  9. Adapt your position based on the fish you want to catch.
  10. Practice drifting in your canoe.
  11. Rig the canoe yourself.
  12. Get a foldable anchor.
  13. Protect your gear.
  14. Bring a friend.

Our 11 top picks for the best canoe fishing accessories and gear are as follows:

  1. Minn Kota Terrova Freshwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor – Our #1 Top Pick! – Click here to see it on Amazon
  2. Slide Anchor – Box Anchor for Offshore Anchoring Click here to see it on Amazon
  3. Lowrance HDS-16 Live C-Map Insight Active Imaging 3-N-1
  4. Scotty Depthking Manual Downrigger
  5. Wilderness Systems Helix PD Pedal Drive
  6. Wilderness Systems Insulated Catch Cooler
  7. WOOWAVE Kayak Seat Padded Deluxe Canoe Seat Adjustable Boat Seat
  8. System G Fishing + Bag and Accessories Collection
  9. Indoor or Outdoor Canoe Rack
  10. IKURAM Canoe Roof Carrier of Bilateral Premier J-Style Folding
  11. Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Canoe Trailer