Canoe Fishing

If you like the serenity of remote waterways and the simplicity of angling with just the basics, canoe fishing may be your new favorite pastime.

Just think about how much fun it would be to catch smallmouth bass from a canoe on a nearby river, or to see a redfish chase your lure while fishing from a canoe in a quiet saltwater estuary.

Canoe Fishing Advantages

There are many advantages to fishing from a canoe. Many of the latest fishing canoe models can be easily outfitted with comfortable seating, built-in fishing rod holders, and gear storage compartments. While you won't have all the conveniences of a larger boat, such as livewells or built-in electronics, some canoe models do have enough space to mount an electric trolling motor on the back.

  • Canoes are easy for beginners to transport and launch.
  • You can go to fishing spots that you wouldn't otherwise be able to access with a larger boat.
  • Some states don't require you to pay a boat registration fee when you buy a canoe, but it's important to remember that every state has its own set of laws regarding canoe registration. Be sure you know which laws apply to your state.

Once you have given some thought to your preferred types of fishing methods and spots, you can determine if canoe fishing is a good fit for you. If you don't have an electric trolling motor on your canoe, you will also need to be comfortable with paddling to and from your fishing spots.

How To Canoe Fish

Learning how to canoe fish isn't hard. You can even try this type of fishing before you buy a canoe of your own by renting one from a local paddle sports outfitter. Just remember, if you are taking a canoe out on the water for the first time, you'll need to know the U.S. Coast Guard boating safety laws as well as any state laws that apply to canoes. Follow these suggestions on how to canoe fish if you are a beginner.

  1. Check the state fishing regulations or laws, and make sure you have a valid fishing license, and if needed, boating license.
  2. Read a list of canoe fishing tips.
  3. Make sure your canoe is ready to go by checking to be sure that you have a paddle and all required safety equipment on board.
  4. Bring along basic fishing gear for the type of fishing you plan to do (freshwater or saltwater) and two anchors. You will want to have two anchors on board so that you can drop one anchor off the bow and the other directly off the stern (this will help prevent the canoe from swinging around while anchored).
  5. Review a map or chart of the waterway you intend to fish and plan out your route. Opt for calm waters, avoiding areas with strong current. On your first trip out, it's a good idea to stay within a reasonable distance from the launch in case you get tired.
  6. Launch your canoe.
  7. Paddle to a fishing spot that has some structure nearby.
  8. Cast out your line while applying what you’ve learned about freshwater fishing in lakes, streams and rivers, or saltwater fishing in the backwaters.
  9. Catch a fish!

Once you've fished from a canoe with success, you'll appreciate how easy it is to transport your canoe to different waterways. Use the places to boat and fish map to make a list of spots in your area that are ideal for canoe fishing.