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Canoe Fishing
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   River Fishing for Bass
   River Fishing for Pike
   River Fishing for Trout
   Catfish Fishing
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Related Topics
   Fishing in Weeds
   Home-made Portage Pads
   River Fishing for Bass
   River Fishing for Trout
   Wilderness Fishing











    Free Info on Fishing From a Canoe, Canoe Camping, & Wilderness Camping

Canoe Fishing
No-Fail Methods!

I call this the "no-fail" method because I have used this method to catch bluegills, trout, bass, northern, walleye, perch and a few other species as well in a wide variety of lakes and rivers.

The Bait - The Authentic Floating Rapala

   Rapala Original Floating Lure
Click on Image for More Info

My favorite color is black and white, with my next favorites being gold and blue. I use 3-5 inch for Northern Pike & Lake Trout & 2-4 inch for Bass & Walleye, 1.5 -2.5 inch for smaller fish.  Notice in the display shown at left, the top choices are black, gold, and blue. In my experience I did not find other colors more productive, although in some lakes or rivers, the gold out fished the others or the blue out fished the others. If you are allowed to fish several poles at a time (trolling), you should always fish several different colors and sizes in a new lake or river to see what is most productive. Rapalas at

You may be asking what about weeds? For weed beating lures, click here.

Method 1- Trolling

Trolling in a new river or lake is by far my number one method of finding fish when fishing from a canoe. Fish locators find fish, many of which are non-target (like suckers) or non-feeding, but trolling finds feeding fish.

There is really only one variable to control in bait presentation: Depth. Depth control may be obtained with split shot(s) placed about 2 feet in front of the lure. The larger size Rapalas 4 inches or more will dive a bit deeper than the smaller Rapalas. Here are some guidelines:

Early Morning or At Dark or After Dark - Fish with no weight very near the surface.  Troll the lure well back from the canoe, and quietly paddle over weed beds and near drop-offs. You need near dark conditions! As it lightens up, you may need to fish down a bit.

Shallow Lakes or Rivers in depths of 6 ft or Less - Fish with 1 split shot at a depth of 3 or 4 feet.  Troll the lure well back from the canoe, and quietly paddle over weed beds and near drop-offs. Note: If the lake or river is excessively weedy, you may need to use different lures.

Lakes or Rivers of depth of 8-15 ft or more - Fish with 2 or more split shots so the lure obtains depths of 6 or more feet.  Troll the lure a moderate distance back from the canoe, and quietly paddle near drop-offs and underwater islands if you know where they are.

First time on the lake? - Troll the entire lake shore at least twice.  After several times, you will find the best spots.


Method 2 - Surface Fishing

If you have identified some good areas where you often see fish breaking the surface in the early morning or evening, then it time to try one of the most exciting types of fishing - surface fishing.  I like fishing quiet evenings since the action tends to pick up the later you are out.  For this type of fishing you need a fairly long medium weight good-casting pole loaded with an easy casting  line like 8 lb Trilene XL or 10 lb Trilene XL.  If you have no weeds to contend with, try 6 lb, but a Northern Pike may rob you of your lure! When around lily pads, I use 10 lb. In general, splashing fish are often feeding fish - if you see what appears to be a game fish surface, cast as close to this location as possible.  Here is what you need to do:

  • After casting let the lure lay motionless for 3 to 5 seconds but be ready for a strike!

  • You don't retrieve the lure, you give it several small "twitches" and reel in the slack.  I usually give the lure a twitch, followed by 2 micro twitches.  Then reel in the slack, but let the lure settle to a stop again, then repeat the twitches.  Vary your retrieve to see what works.  Try not to reel in like a "robot", but twitch the bait to make it look like a wounded minnow - this is a performance and the hungry fish is your audience and critic!

  • Keep your distance when fishing this way and stay quiet! You are fishing shallow water of depth 2-5 feet.  Usually, I get no strikes within 25 ft of the canoe.

  • In some cases, the fish are just too finicky for the 3 inch Rapala and you need to use the 2 inch Rapala with a little lighter line. Also, for bass, I have found that I have had to use a fly rod with bass fly in a few places.