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Canoe Fishing Tips

If you want to catch fish on secluded lakes and streams, learning how to fish from a canoe may be a good option. Fishing from a canoe can give you the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing day on the water and get some upper-body exercise as you paddle.

FISHING FROM A CANOE

These lightweight vessels are very portable with the use of a roof rack or trailer, so they are ideal to use for exploring different fishing spots. However, there are some canoe fishing tips you should follow before paddling off to try fishing from a canoe for the first time.

  • The first step in learning how to fish from a fishing canoe is that of following all safety recommendations. One of the most important for first-timers is to bring a friend with you. This way, not only can you both take turns paddling and fishing, you will have extra help in case you need to paddle through any currents or get tired on the way back.
  • Don a PFD at the beginning of each canoe trip you take and leave it on until you are on dry land again. Make sure anyone else who joins you for a day on the water has a proper fitting PFD as well.
  • Stay centered in the canoe to avoid tipping. This is especially important to remember when casting, fighting a fish, or reeling in a fish. Remember, the narrower the design of the canoe, the easier it can tip. The best canoe for fishing will be wide enough to offer plenty of stability. Here is where your canoe fishing setup can make or break your trips.

SETTING UP A CANOE FOR FISHING

  • Keep your gear minimal and simple. Bring along only the tackle and gear that you know you'll use. If you plan on targeting smallmouth bass, for example, plan to leave your big tackle box full of muskellunge lures at home.
  • When rigging a canoe for fishing, consider the conditions of the water. There are two basic canoe rigs: gravity and diamond. If you are an experienced angler in calm waters in a wide canoe with little chance of tipping over, a gravity rig may be all you need, but most anglers opt for a diamond or hybrid rig that keeps loose objects from noisily rolling around the canoe when initially learning how to fish from a canoe.
  • In addition to your rig, use waterproof dry bags or gear cases and secure any canoe fishing gear that you aren't using. This way, if your canoe does tip, your gear will stay dry and you won't lose anything down at the bottom of a lake or stream.
  • For more stability and control, consider adding a motor or anchor to your canoe.

CANOE FISHING TIPS

  • If you are fishing from a canoe in clear or shallow waters, do your best to approach these types of fishing spots as quietly as possible. In these conditions, fish can easily be scared off by sudden or loud noises. It's also important to avoid hitting the side of your canoe with your paddle or making any other disturbances.
  • When canoeing from one fishing spot to another, you can troll a spoon behind your canoe and try to catch species like lake trout, northern pike or walleye. When you find a good spot, remember to cast close to any structure or vegetation for your best chance at a bite.

The most important tips to remember when learning how to fish from a canoe are those that will keep you safe on the water. Consider taking a boating safety course prior to your first canoe fishing trip when learning how to fish because each state has a specific set of safety laws that recreational paddlers and boaters are required to follow. Stay safe and have fun!