BWCA Electric motor on a canoe? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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distinguished member (125)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/17/2023 09:45AM  
This obviously is more of a canoeing question than a Boundary Waters question, but I thought there might be people with experience who could advise me.

I have a 16" Northstar canoe (in Kevlar) stored at my parents' place in Florida, which I use when I'm visiting them. I was thinking of fitting it with an electric motor to take my dad fishing in inshore and inland waters. Not to troll, but to get out more easily than me just paddling the two of us.

What would be a good size? I have two of them here in the North, a MinnKota Endura 30 lb thrust and a larger, MinnKota Endura Max 50 lb thrust, which is, of course, heavier. (I would place the battery in the middle or toward the bow and run the lines back from there in order to keep the canoe better balanced.)

Any advice?
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distinguished member (243)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/17/2023 09:54AM  
I'd be concerned about clamping a trolling motor onto a kevlar canoe without cracking the canoe. I've never done it, and I'm not an expert on kevlar, so that concern might be unfounded, but that would be the biggest issue imo.
member (37)member
03/17/2023 10:17AM  
You can get mounts that clamp across the gunnels that have a block to fix the TM to. I think either motor will work OK. The one with more thrust varibility is likely the better option. While fishing, slowly backtrolling in a motorized canoe for positioning and casting can work slick. If an option, trimming the TM shaft to a shorter length might be worthwhile.
distinguished member(2023)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/17/2023 10:31AM  
Spring Creek makes a universal motor mount for small motors. It would work for your transom mounted trolling motor. Make sure you secure the battery so it doesn't slide around or sink should you capsize the canoe. I have both a 50 lb. and a 55 lb. trolling motor that power my 16' and 16'6" fishing boats very well so either of yours could easily power a canoe. They make lithium batteries that are less than half the weight of a traditional battery that work great on trolling motors ($$$). The Spring Creek motor mounts are reasonable ($120-$155) and they make very high quality accessories.

Tuff Motor Mount
distinguished member (125)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/17/2023 11:49AM  
How big a battery would I need for a few hours fishing?
03/17/2023 06:45PM  
if you google "minn kota endura for canoe" you get a bunch of youtube videos on the matter. Picture/video is worth at least a thousand words.
distinguished member (417)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/24/2023 07:08PM  
I have motorized an old Grumman and also my Kevlar. They both use the same out rigger to hold the motor. It attaches to the gunnel. A very small electric is more than enough to push either canoe, it only takes a small battery. I would have to look and see the wattage. I find a shorter shaft is important to ensure it doesn’t bottom out in shallow water. We also have use a 3hp outboard with the Grumman, It also worked very well. Of the two I like the convenience of the electric.
distinguished member (417)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/24/2023 07:08PM  
03/25/2023 08:51AM  
I use a 30 lb thrust motor and a 12V 100amp lithium battery to push around a 14 foot john boat that we use fish gigging in the winter on small rivers/creeks in Missouri. The 30 lb thrust has excess power, and after a couple hours of continuous use including the LED lights, the battery has never gotten past the Green rating on the invertor we use. The battery weighs about 27 pounds. For what you are describing a slightly smaller battery would probably be sufficient, but you will not be disappointed if you go with a quality 100amp. With the new lithium's weight isn't a problem. I recommend using the shorter shaft trolling motors, several guides online showing how to pick the proper length of shaft.

Happy fishing.
03/25/2023 09:42AM  
Once used a 30 lb thrust Minn Kota powered by a 12v AGM mobility scooter battery that was much cheaper and lighter than marine batteries, and it could push around an aluminum canoe without issue.
distinguished member(1602)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/26/2023 08:38PM  
While 30 pounds thrust will be plenty, the endura max should give you the ability to dial in your speed more precisely, which will help you use only what you need and make your battery last longer.

You can go a long time on a fully charged deep cycle battery!
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