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Electric Trolling Motor on a Canoe?

Discussion in 'Northwest Fishing' started by teflon97239, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Experienced kayaker here. I rode in a canoe at Timothy lake recently, and I was really surprised at how efficient the little electric trolling motor was for scooting the boat across the lake, even against a stiff breeze.

    Now I want a similar setup (probably a 14' canoe, not 17') and I need to learn whatever I can about what kind of motor and battery to buy with it.

    Probably won't need the foot control, so basic is fine with me. But I don't want to buy anything weak or trouble-prone. Are there certain brands to look for (or avoid)? Minimum amperage/watts/thrust to seek? Best/worst RV battery to buy?

    Would appreciate any/all advice or leads around Portland so I can find and buy a solid deal. Thanks in advance.

    teflon97239@yahoo.com
     
  2. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    For a 14' canoe, a 30 or 40lb thrust is fine. The two brands to look at are Motor Guide and Minn Kota - the Minn Kotas are easier to find around here, and a bit less expensive. I run a 30lb thrust motor on a 12' aluminum that gets loaded down. A 14' canoe will move a lot faster than my tin can.

    Get a square transom canoe if you're going to run a motor, it's just a lot easier.

    Go with an AGM battery over lead acid - an Optima Blue Top group 24 would be the ticket. You will need to get a battery charger, if you don't have one already.

    Visit Fisherman's Marine supply or Bi Mart for the motor, and you can get the Optima batteries at any good auto parts store. Remember, you want the blue top (marine deep cycle) battery.

    If cash is more of an issue - you can get a cheaper lead acid deep cycle, but they'll be heavier. Get a deep cycle battery, not a plain automotive cranking battery. Deep cycles are meant to be completely discharged and recharged a lot more than a cranking type battery.

    Remember that adding a motor, even an electric, requires you to license the boat with the OSMB.
     
  3. saxon

    saxon springfield Active Member

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    use to run a minkota on a 14 foot aluminim with 15 Lb thrust and it would get me up the rouge river in S, oregon
     
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  4. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    I've been considering a transom canoe with e-motor as well.

    I see that Dicks Sporting has one, Old Town Saranac Square Stern Canoe for $550 and has mostly positive reviews. Anyone have an opinion?

    Also, I understand that you don't need a square back canoe to run a motor either as there are attachments which allow you to mount motor on gunnel making it a steering board (starboard!! haha!!!)
     
  5. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    You don't need a square back transom to run a motor - but it sure makes it a lot easier. You can simply bolt an electric to the side of the canoe - but an issue you run into is having to constantly adjust course, because all your trust is on one side. A square transom allows you to mount the motor on the center line of the canoe, and you'll track straighter with less effort to maintain course. The Old Town canoes are sweet. I had a 14' Coleman, and were I to do it again, I'd opt for the Old Town. They had more dry storage, and way more comfortable seats available.

    One other thing I'll recommend on a canoe is a good anchor setup. On my canoe - I had twin anchors for lake fishing. I used a 10lb mushroom as my primary anchor (I would've used doubles, but only had one available and hadn't bothered to buy a 2nd, because I had a different style anchor as a 2nd already) - and used 3/8 inch diameter rope to it. I bolted polymer cleats fore & aft to tie the anchor line off with (mounted inside, near the top of the gunnel near both the front and rear seat) and then routed the line along the hull through a couple eye bolts. This let me drop or pull anchor one handed, if I was playing a fish, holding position with a paddle, or otherwise had one hand occupied. Having anchors fore & aft will let you hold position in the wind, or against a current in an inlet. If you set up your eyelets (or better might be pulleys) correctly, you could set / pull both anchors from the driver seat and operate the whole boat without having to climb around.
     
  6. BEN LILLY

    BEN LILLY Lincoln City, OR NRA LIFE MEMBER Bronze Supporter

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    My adult son has a nice setup. He has an old. Town pack canoe. It's a 12 footer. We made a motor mount out of a 2X6 and a couple clamps. He bought a min not a 35 motor at a garage sale. I know he uses a deep cycle battery. His 7 year old daughter is already an avid fisherman. He and daughter fish on small lakes or ponds. She loves catching bluegill.
     
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  7. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    I thought it would take forever to find a good deal, but last night I traded a kayak I had for a 14' aluminum canoe with a trolling motor and battery. Previous owner couldn't find the motor mount, but I can make one with a couple pieces of 2x4 and C-clamps. I'm anxious to take the maiden voyage!

    So with that said... I have some total newb questions:

    - If I rinse carefully each time, can I use an old Minn Kota Endura 40 in salt water?

    - How stringently are motor boat laws enforced if I mount this tiny electric trolling motor just now and then?

    I ask because I wonder if John Law (Oregon/other states) will be actively looking for me to display registration info on the hull. I’m not trying to scam out on anything, but I’d like to make a couple shakedown runs to decide if this is the right boat/motor combination before I turn around and sell or trade for something else.

    Thanks in advance for any constructive tips about getting into this electric trolling motor stuff.
     
  8. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    1.) Enforcement depends where you're using it. High mountain lakes probably very little. If you're going someplace like Hagg Lake or Timothy Lake, or any of the reservoirs on the Clack - you stand a good chance of getting checked. Also remember that you either need to register the boat, or buy your stupid "invasive species permit" and keep it with you. The ISP fee is part of boat registrations for powerboats, or you pay like $8 or $10 and get it where you get your fishing license.

    In Washington state, you don't need to register the craft unless it's 10hp or over.

    2.) you probably don't even need a "motor mount" bracket - just clamp the motor to one side of your canoe.

    3.) if you decide this boat combo works for you and you're going to fish a lot from it - get a pair of anchors (mushroom type are great for canoes) and maybe a brush clamp, if you're going after bass & panfish. I say a pair because if you want to anchor up, dropping one from the bow and the stern will keep you from swinging in the wind, and keep you in the sweet spot.

    4.) Take a spare paddle. One paddle is not enough - it's easy to loose them, and paddles don't cost that much. You can use one of the kayak types that breaks down and just tuck it under the seat out of the way. But have a spare.

    5.) bailing scoop or bucket. Cut the bottom from a 1 gallon milk or bleach bottle and glue the cap on. You will get water in your canoe. You need a way to get it out. I also liked to keep a towel (don't use yer wifes good towels unless you wanna hork her off!) to sop up the water with.

    Trolling motors are easy and low maintenance. Make sure you get a battery charger. You can get one at Harbor Freight, or you can get a good one at Home Depot or Lowes. The Harbor Freight ones work, and have settings for both lead acid and AGM type batteries. Think I paid $20 or so for mine.

    Have fun and remember the life jacket(S) - you'll be surprised how easy it is to get into super fishy places, and get into places you might never have fished on foot or in a different type of boat.
     
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  9. huthuthike

    huthuthike Hillsboro OR Active Member

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    I would make sure you have life jackets, the invasive species permit and as long as you're not being completely stupid or run into an ahole enforcer plead ignorance on the registration/title and you will probably be fine. Of course, it all depends on the officer, I prefer not to give them an excuse.
     
  10. PopsBdog

    PopsBdog Southern Oregon Active Member

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    I have a 17' Coleman with a 35lb MinnKota mounted on the side. I had to add a 6" x 8" x 1/2" reinforcing board to mount it.
    I've had no problems with tracking straight. It's not an issue. With the 35lbs it moves around pretty good and lasts the whole day.
    I also run an Eagle sonar/fishfinder with speed and water temp off of the motor battery. I use a Lead Acid Deep Cycle in a Battery box mounted mid front for balance. It's got anchors front and rear and I put carpet on the floor.

    It is a stealthy lean mean fishing machine.
    In the last twenty years I have caught countless freezer fulls of fish.

    The cost of one fine is probably way more than a lifetime of registrations.
    I wouldn't chance it
    Don't forget life vests and paddles for just in case.
     
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  11. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to run this 14.5' aluminum MirroCraft backwards since the front seat is 18" closer to the middle, giving me more room to mount the motor behind me when I swap ends. I'll have room for a crab bucket back there, too. My passenger can face me since there shouldn't be much/any paddling on a short jaunt to drop and pull crab rings.

    Empty, it's light enough to grab by one side and carry, but I have a set of wheels that make it easier for my old *ss, and I can throw them in the bow for ballast when I'm solo.

    Checked the battery yesterday (which I have not yet charged) and got 12.7v. My 2 amp slow charger has an auto-shutoff/trickle feature, but I'm wondering if there's a target voltage I should aim for, then unplug it.

    On the same note, is there a low voltage I should stay above when I'm tooling around? Previous owner says he's been "out on the Columbia in the wind for a couple hours" before, and never ran it down. I expect my use to be gentler, but it seems neither of us has a clue about how much the battery can safely be expected to deliver.

    Still wondering, is it okay to run the motor in salt water and just rinse it thoroughly when I get home?

    Thanks for looking fellers.
     
  12. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I recommend you check out the Battery Tender brand of smart battery chargers. They will make your battery last a lot longer and you can pretty much just plug it in and forget it. I leave them on my trucks and motorcycles until I go to use them with no worry about overcharging or anything.
     
  13. Petes

    Petes Active Member

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    I have done a lot of bass fishing with a canoe or 12 man inflateable. 20 yrs ago i coild be seen on i5 headed south to fish the pudding river or another secret place in that area. Had a vw, a roof rack, 9' inflateable wood transum, wood floor, 2 cut down swivel bar stools, trolling motor, battery from the vwwhen we got there, smoked salmon for snack and great fishing buddy.

    Got some weird looks on the freeway but it was a lot of fun and caught a lot of fish.
     
  14. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    Been using the same thing for my boat for years. Get home and just hook it up and walk away. It will charge when needed and keeps the battery toped off.
     
  15. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I finally did the test voyage. Bottom line? It's a great canoe, 14.5' aluminum Mirrocraft circa 1969, watertight and straight.

    Regarding the motor and battery, which I consider "extras" in the deal:

    - Minn Kota Endura 40# thrust
    - 2x4" motor mount off the port side secured with clamps
    - Acceptable tracking and maneuvering
    - Harbor Freight 35Ah Universal Battery, says "deep cycle" (in fine print) on the label...
    - Two 200-pound dudes in the boat
    - Noticable slowing, 40 minutes at full throttle, totally discharged when I checked it at home

    So it's pretty clear that I need a more robust battery. Went to Bimart and their best (100Ah) was both HUGE (for a canoe) and heavy. Great price, but I'm not sure I want to go that big, so I held off.

    So, you guys who get hours of service, what are you using? Please be specific because I'm making phone calls, checking prices/availability, and dropping cash asap. Investing in toys tends to motivate me to get off my *ss and use them!!! Thanks in advance.

    PS, thanks, too, for tips on the battery tender. I have a couple chargers, but I like the idea of a set-and-forget gadget for those spans between outings.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  16. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    If you plan on using a "cycling battery", meaning a battery that was made specifically for discharging and recharging, do yourself a favor and get a real charger for the battery. By "Real" charger I mean a charger that will charge at the proper voltage for the battery. There are specific charging needs for deep cycle batteries as far as voltage and amperage. Also, different deep cycle batteries have different charging needs, flooded/Gel/AGM...A little trickle/maintainer charger from Harbor Freight is likely to leave your battery "Unsatisfied?" and ruined well before it's time, (been there done that!). A "Tender" would likely keep your battery up to snuff once it's received a full charge though. Just be sure the tender type charger turns on and off to maintain the battery, trickle chargers that stay on all the time will "cook" and ruin a battery. You may also find, smaller, dry cell type batteries that come with their own chargers, and other specific instructions for charging/maintaining them.

    Gel and AGM batteries are much lighter than flooded batteries, MUCH more expensive too. They also can be laid on their sides as there's no free electrolyte in them. Something else too, any lead acid battery's expected life will be shortened by complete discharging, it is best to not go below half on a regular basis as there are only so many "Cycles" in a cycling battery.

    Mike
     
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  17. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    So what's a good brand/model battery in the 75/80 Ah range that's not too huge?

    I've had 100+ Ah deep cycle batteries stashed away in the corners of fishing/ski boats and an RV. I'd get Bi Mart's biggest one for any of those applications.

    But physical size, weight and possible tipping all become factors in a 14' canoe. Any decent quality small-mid size deep cycle batteries (perhaps sealed or gel) that'll deliver decent service for a couple hours?
     
  18. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I wish I could help you with that, sorry. The smallest battery I ever used was a standard lawn tractor starting battery in my 13' Smoker Craft. I used it for lights/depth finder and a bit of 27# thrust Minn Kota, never wore it down much and recharged immediately. Discharging and re-charging starting batteries will kill them quick. And now a full size 27 series for the bigger boat/w 55# Minn Kota. The main reason I posted on your thread was so you don't make the same mistakes I did with charging. I used a charger that didn't provide what the batteries needed and got about half the life I should have from two of them.

    You may want to look into an AGM (Absorbed glass mat) deep cycle battery seeing as they are a bit lighter than flooded batteries, but $$$. Figure out a way to secure it midships and you wouldn't have a problem with the weight. Your problem is, the longer the running time, the heavier the battery!

    Mike
     
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  19. 40calruler

    40calruler Lake Oswego Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the Minn Kota. I run a 50lb thrust with a deep cycle rv battery on my 10ft livingston and it does a good job pushing as much weight as I have ever needed in there. I even took it up current on the clackamas....a ways but then turned around once I was at full throttle and sitting still.
     
  20. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Lithium Ion