How To Mount A Trolling Motor On A Canoe

How To Mount A Trolling Motor On A Canoe

There are many different benefits of canoeing using a trolling motor. Not only is the motor easy to set up, but the usage is also hassle-free. The usage of a trolling motor can help provide you with a relaxing, stress-free, and comfortable fishing experience. It will also help in providing access to some of the best fishing spots.

For mounting a trolling motor, there are certain things that you would need, such as:

  • Know the motor and mount that is required for the canoe
  • Decide the place where the motor and mount will be placed, such as the bow, engine, or stern
  • Screw the mount and secure it
  • Attach the mount and secure it
  • Test the trolling motor in the water

You can put the trolling motor in different locations, so the steps would also be different. Based on where you want to put the motor, you will need to follow the right procedure. Additionally, there are a variety of sizes and kinds of motors. Therefore, you need to be very aware of the type and size before to start placing it.

Mounting the Trolling Motor

If you are an ardent fisher, then mounting the trolling motor on to a canoe is a very good decision. This is because rowing needs you to invest a lot of your energy.

Placing the motor on the canoe does not take up much time, and the process is not very difficult. The motor can be set up on the stern, bow, and engine. However, the steps are different for each, so we will learn about each of them in detail.

Mounting the Bow Motor

Most experienced fishermen opt for bow motors for their fishing trips. The main reason for this is that bow mounts and motors provide much better control than transom motor. The bow motors do not push the boat rather pulls in through the water.

Even though there are many different options for bow mounts and motor and several features, they take up a lot of space. In addition to this, bow motors are very hard to install. To rest the bow motor, a flat deck is very important, and they are also very expensive compared to transom motors.

To mount the bow motor, you need to see if the mount’s base can properly fit your motor. If the motor is a breakaway one, there should be ample space in the base where the motor is set up for the breakaway. Space should be present for the mounting of screws that will be penetrating the deck but will not penetrate the hull.

Use the mount base as the template to mark holes that will be drilled on the deck. The holes should be about ¼ inches deep. Once done, you need to clear the debris completely and thread the bolt into each of the holes into the mount base.

The washer of the bolts should be placed properly under the mount base. Then the mount base would be placed in the holes. The deck and mount base level should be similar, and each of the bolts will be threaded with the steel washer. After that, you will have to secure the mount and the motor properly.

The trolling motor in this should be placed a minimum of 5 inches below water level. In case you have a habit of being in a standing position while fishing, the motor has to be set a minimum of 12 inches below water level.

Mounting the Engine Motor

Engine motors are to be mounted on the anti-cavitation plate that is present in an outboard engine. This motor’s work is to provide the required thrust when the boat is being steered using the outboard motor.

It is best to use engine mounted motors for multi-purpose boars since they help in saving immense space. The engine generally stays off and only appears when you run the boat at full speed since the motor is placed underwater. One issue with engine motors is that the controlling is quite tough and does not have various features.

The bracket would have to be placed on your anti-cavitation plate while keeping the motor up for mounting the engine motor. The horizontal plate that is present above your propeller is known as the anti-cavitation plate.

The mount should be used as a template when you are marking the holes on the anti-cavitation plate.

The plate’s metal should be pierced using a very sharp drill. On the anti-cavitation plate, you will then be placing the mounting plates, after which the mounting bolts will be inserted. You should always ensure that the engine motor is secured before you start using it.

The anti-cavitation plate has to set up a minimum of 12 inches into the water because the motor has to be 6 inches into the water when being used.

Mounting the Transom or Stern Motor

Transom or Stern motors are mostly used for small boars, and the process of mounting them is much easier as compared to the bow motor. They can be attached using a clamp to the canoe’s stern. Another great thing about the transom motor is that it does not occupy much space, and they are also budget-friendly.

Transom motors are also preferred to be used in canoes since they are just like small boats. One disadvantage to using transom motors is the lack of precision in control and the limited availability of options.

The process of mounting the motor onto the transom is very easy.

First of all, the clamps have to be turned counterclockwise so that they open and then ensure that the motor is set up very close to the stern’s center. After you have placed the motor, you will have to turn the clamp again clockwise until it has been completely secured.

Side note: You need to place the transom motor in such a way that the motor’s center is 9 inches below water level. If this is ignored, the motor will keep poking out of the water’s surface, which will create noise, which will scare the fish.

What Is A Trolling Motor?

Trolling motors are electric motors that are small in size and set up on canoes while fishing. Trolling motors will assist the canoe’s maneuverability quietly through the water to not scare the fishes away.

The different voltages of motors are 12, 12/24, 24, and 36. If the voltage is very high, then the power that would help rotate the canoe’s propellers would also be high.

The measurement unit for outboard engines is horsepower; however, it is pounds of thrust for trolling motors. In this, as the thrust increases, the power also increases. That means when the motor is of 12 volts, then the pounds of thrust would be 40. Similarly, if the voltage is 36, then the pounds of thrust would be 100.

Based on the motor that would be perfect for your canoe, the motor would be operated using gasoline or batteries.

How Does The Trolling Motor Function?

There are three main parts in a trolling motor that are the propeller, motor, and controls.

The Motor: There are various sized volts in the motor. As the voltage increases, the power will also increase, and most people opt for a higher power. Avid canoers tend to look for more power since it would mean less work and stress.

There is a waterproof compartment present at the shaft’s end, where the motor is sealed. When in use, the motor is submerged deep in the water, which prevents the motor from getting overheated.

The Propeller: Almost everyone has an idea about the look of a propeller. For people who do not know, the propeller is present at the motor shaft’s bottom. Based on the type of motor, the number of blades and shape would differ. There can be two skinny and long blades or even 3 or 4 stubby and short blades. These blades help to keep the canoe mobile when in water.

The Controls: You will find three main kinds of controls present in a trolling motor. These controls are wireless, hand controls, and foot controls. There are, however, different pros and cons for each of these controls. This decision would differ for every canoe but let us see the good and bad for these controls.

Hand Controls

  • Easily operable
  • Very budget-friendly
  • Can be attached to the canoe using just a single clamp


  • It can only be used using one hand

Foot Controls

  • Do not have to use any hand


  • The speed control and steering can be hard to coordinate
  • Canoe need to be attached using a particular bracket

Wireless Controls

  • There is no restriction since they are wireless
  • Hands are completely free
  • Easy to use once you learn their usage


  • Learning to use them might be hard for some people
  • The priciest motor

Why Should A Trolling Motor Be Used?

Below are some important reasons which will help you understand why a trolling motor should be used on a canoe.

Additional Fishing: Using trolling motors, you can get more time for fishing and also relaxing.

Reduction in Paddling: With trolling motors, you would not have to constantly paddle your canoe. This will help you move from one area to another very quickly and give you more fishing time. The trolling motor will ensure that you do not face much fatigue.

Precautionary Methods: In case there are sudden mishaps such as a lost paddle or absence of paddle on board, then the motor would be a great safety precaution.

Quiet: The canoe does not make a lot of noise when it moves on the water. This would not scare the fish and disturb them.

Different Aspects to Consider When Choosing a Trolling Motor

When you are buying a trolling motor, there are many considerations that you would have to keep in mind. If you select the wrong motor for yourself, then many different issues will arise. These aspects should be taken into consideration before you plan to purchase a trolling motor.

Canoe Size: The first aspect that is probably one of the most important ones is the canoe size. Motors do not come in one size for all. If the canoe is large, then the motor’s size would have to be large and vice versa.

Saltwater or Freshwater: This is a very crucial point that many canoers do not pay attention to. Many people have a query about freshwater canoe being used on saltwater, and the answer to this is a strict no. There are separate canoes for different water types.

The design of a saltwater motor is such that it will not lead to corrosion. This is because this motor’s construction is done using stainless steel, and the electric parts are sealed, which does not lead to corrosion.

If the freshwater motor is being used in salt water, it will lead to corrosion very quickly, which in turn would make it useless. On the other hand, you can use a motor designed for saltwater in freshwater. There will be complications if it is done the other way.

Corrosion is not the only issue that arises when a freshwater motor is used in saltwater. The other significant issue is a warranty, which gets void when this is done. You will be unable o return the motor at all.

Side note: In case you do use the freshwater motor in salt water, do not panic. Rinse the motor immediately and thoroughly so that all the salt is removed, which can prevent corrosion.

Tube or Shaft Length: You need to see that the tube or shaft’s length is long enough so that the propeller and the motor are submerged completely into the water. The depth of the motor should be ideally one foot into the water.

You would also have to keep in mind that the shaft is not very long. If this happens then, the shaft will hit rocks or the bottom of the shallow water. The motor and the propeller would be damaged by this. It will also be hard for you to store a canoe that has a long shaft.

Pounds of thrust, Voltage, and Power: There are three voltage types in a motor that are 12, 24, and 36. In the 24 and 36 volts, the disadvantage is that it requires additional batteries.

Pounds of thrust relates to the power that would be required by the motor to maneuver it in the water, i.e., pull and push the canoe. Some factors that affect the thrust are the boat’s weight, wind, and current.

When you are purchasing the motor, you need to ensure that the pound of thrust is known. If you buy 12 volts, then 55 pounds of thrust is when it would normally max out, the 24 volts at 80 pounds of thrust and 36 volts at 105 pounds of thrust.

Mounting Location: Based on the canoe that you have, there are only one or two of three places where you could fit the motor. The first would be the bow present at the canoe’s front, the stern or transom present at the canoe’s back, and the engine.

You can place two motors on the canoe, with one being at the transom and the other at the bow.

How to Make a Mount on Your Own?

It is not impossible to create a mount and motor by yourself. There are tons of people who find it easier to create things themselves instead of purchasing them from a store.

If you like to construct your own things, we have the whole process laid out. There is nothing to worry about since the process is very easy and hassle-free.

Some necessary materials that would be required for this process are as follows:

  • Canoe
  • Chosen trolling motor
  • 2×4 (should be longer than the canoe’s width)
  • Two number of bolts (3/8 x 4 inches)
  • Two number of nuts (3/8 inches)
  • One deep cycle marine battery that is of 12 volts
  • Drill
  • Two number of washers (3/8; 1.5 inches in diameter)
  • Sand Paper
  • Saw

Building Instructions

  • The 2×4 should be set behind the canoe’s rear seat at a distance of two inches.
  • You need to keep one-foot space on the 2×4’s right side for your trolling motor.
  • Touching the canoe edges outsides, you will have to mark and thread two holes of 3/8 inches.
  • Take your drill and then push all the bolts down so that there is room for placing the nuts.
  • The canoe’s outside and inside edges have to be marked so that the bolt comes out of the 2×4 bottom. There will be notches that will be used to hold your mount.
  • The line has to be cut half-inch, and the excess needs to be chiseled out.
  • The rough edges should be sand downed.
  • On your canoe, you will be dry fitting the mount (bolts have to be threaded, washers will be put on, and the nuts will be threaded).
  • Mount will be cut down – bolt’s left side and one foot away from the right side of the bolt.
  • Sand down the edges of the surface (another option could be spray painting the mount. This would make the mount look more finished).
  • Next, the battery has to be connected.
  • Tighten the nuts so that the mount is secure
  • Tighten the larger bolts so that the mount is set up on the trolling motor
  • Connect the motor’s leads to the respective terminals (positive and negative)
  • Test if the motor is working properly.

Best Mounts and Motors For Purchase

You need to opt for a very good motor for the canoe. One of the best motors that you could choose is the Minn Kota Endura Transom Mount Trolling Motor. This particular motor is designed to be used in freshwater and is available on Amazon at a starting price of $93.

Another motor for which you will find some amazing reviews is the Newport Vessels NV-Series 55 pounds Thrust Saltwater Transom Mounted Motor. As is already clear from the mentioned name, the motor is designed for saltwater use and can therefore be operated in freshwater also. The price for this motor on Amazon is around $200.

For boat users, the bow mount that you can use is the Motorguide 940200060 Motorguide X3 that is available for $450 on Amazon.

Another engine motor that you can use is the MINN KOTA EM or RT EM motor. These motors of MINN KOTA have a price range between $750 and $1250.

Even though it is unnecessary to use a trolling motor when you are fishing and canoeing, the usage of the same would prove beneficial for you. They are even very easy to set up and operate.

Remember to consult a professional regarding the motor that would be the safest and best for you. Safety should always be your primary concern!

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