How To Mount A Trolling Motor On A Canoe

Adding a trolling motor to a canoe can really help improve canoeing in many ways.

Whether you’re unable to paddle or just want to have a hands free way to get around, a trolling motor can make it happen.

This guide will explain all the steps you need to take to mount a trolling motor to your canoe. We’ll cover the following steps:

1. Determine how you will mount the motor.

2. Decide on the trolling motor location.

3. Decide how you will power the trolling motor.

4. Mount the trolling motor.

5. Attach the motor to the power source.

6. Test the canoe and trolling motor in the water.

Mounting Options For Canoe Trolling Motors

When you’re looking to mount a trolling motor on a canoe, you really have 2 main options. 

You can get a square back canoe, or if you already have a regular canoes, you can use a mounting bracket. If you don’t have a square back canoe, then the mounting bracket is your best option.

Canoe Trolling Motor Mounting Brackets 

Trolling motor brackets for canoes can be mounted on various locations along the hull of a canoe.

They’re basically a bracket that clamps on to both sides of the canoe. A mounting plate extends from one side.

That mounting plate is where you mount the trolling motor.

Brackets are usually made of metals such as aluminum for light weight and strength.

The mounting plate is often made of wood. Before ordering a trolling motor bracket, make sure that it will fit where you want it to be on your canoe.

Where To Locate A Canoe Trolling Motor Bracket

An ideal location for a trolling motor bracket is right behind the rear seat. 

This is likely to be the best place to sit on the canoe and steer the motor from.

If there is a good amount of space behind the rear seat, it may also be a good spot for the battery as well. However, keep in mind that you may want to consider the balance of the canoe and not put too much weight on one end.

Another option is to attach the mounting bracket amidships. This means you’d clamp it down near the middle of the canoe.

Finally, you may want to attach a trolling motor to the front or bow of your canoe.

You can use the standard bracket method a place the bracket in front of the forward seat.

There are also foot controlled trolling motors that require extra electronics and an extra motor to turn.

Attaching one of these types of trolling motors to a canoe would not be easy.

At the moment I cannot find any bow mounted trolling motors with brackets that would allow for canoe mounting.

So, I recommend that you stick with the hand steered motors.

Mounting your motor on the rear of the canoe if probably your best bet.

Use one of the many commercially available brackets.

Best Battery For A Canoe Mounted Trolling Motor

When it’s time to decide how you will power your motor, you have a couple of main options.

Lead acid batteries and lithium ion batteries.

You’ll find that lithium ion batteries are a much newer technology. They offer significant advantages over lead acid. 

One of the key advantages of lithium ion batteries is that they are much lighter. 

A lithium ion battery can weigh half as much as an equivalent lead acid battery. 

So, it sounds like a no brainer to go with lithium ion type batteries.

Unfortunately, they are much more expensive and can be well over twice the price of regular lead acid batteries. 

In the end, a lead acid battery is fine from a weight perspective because canoes are usually made for hauling heavy gear.

Another advantage of lithium ion batteries is lifespan.

Lithium ion batteries have a much larger depth of charge. Meaning they can be used almost to their maximum potential.

This makes them more resilient. 

In short, lithium ion batteries can get up to six times more discharge cycles than lead acid batteries.

So, keep this in mind if you think you’ll need to use the battery for long periods of time and drain it frequently.

If that’s the case, then you may want to opt for a lithium based battery.

Mounting The Motor

Mounting The Motor

Make sure you follow the instructions provided with the bracket.

Most will simply require that you clamp them down to both sides of the canoe.

Hardware will be included to screw down the clamps onto the canoe’s gunwales.

Once the bracket is attached to the canoe, you’re ready to mount the motor.

You’ll want to have a transom mount style trolling motor. It will come with 2 screws that have flat metal plates on the inside. 

These plates will press against the brackets motor plate.

You’ll need to ensure that the motor mounting screws are securely screwed against the bracket plate.

You’ve successfully mounted the trolling motor to the mount.

When storing the canoe, make sure you tilt the motor up if you’re going to leave it mounted.

Attaching The Motor To A Power Source

When you’re ready to attach the motor to your battery, you’ll need to think about where the battery will go. 

It needs to be close enough to the motor so that the cable will reach the battery.

An obvious location is right behind the rear seat. Of course keep in mind that if you’re going to be on the canoe solo, you might have a weight distribution problem.

This will most likely only happen with a large capacity lead acid battery.

I also recommend that you get a battery box.

This will help keep the battery terminals protected.

You can also strap the box to the canoe so that the battery does not slide around.

They may also come with convenient carrying handles that will help you load and unload the battery box.

Testing The Trolling Motor In The Water

Before you go on any important trips make sure you test your set up out. 

Even if it means taking it to the local pond.

Sure you can test the motor out on dry land and make sure it works. But having the canoe in the water will tell you how well it performs and reveal any balance issues.

You’ll want to make sure that you understand how long your battery will power your motor at low and high speed settings.

Running at high speeds will drain your battery dramatically fast.

Square Back Canoes

If you want a canoe that doesn’t require a bracket for mounting a trolling motor, there is a solution.

You can get a square back canoe.

Square back canoes have just what their name implies. They have a squared off back.

That’s where you mount the trolling motor. 

Just slide the motor over the rear. The flat rear wall is called the Transom.

Clamp the motor down onto the transom. 

Then, you’re ready to connect it to the battery.

The great thing about square backs in that you don’t need a bracket and you can put the battery right behind the back seat.


Putting a trolling motor on a canoe can really help out those that want to take a canoe ride but can’t paddle.

It’s also great for hand free propulsion.

If you’re an angler, you can move along with the motor while fish.

Just make sure you follow the instructions on any mounting bracket that you buy. Safe travels.

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