Best Square Stern Canoe

For sure, a hybrid watercraft allows you to have two unique experiences at the same time. One such example is a Square Back Stern Canoe – an innovative blend between a canoe and a rowboat.

Basically, a canoe with square stern contains backed ends to accept outboard canoe motors/. The ability to glide through water without physical exhaustion, coupled with stability and extra weight capacity make this watercraft ideal for duck hunting or fishing.

If you’re an angler, hunter, or simply a hybrid model seeker, a square back stern canoe has got you covered. The best square stern canoe should contain comfortable seating, efficient propulsion, durability, lightweight construction and excellent stability. Got confused?

Don’t worry, as this article will explore some best canoe with square stern along with some additional information you must know before making a purchase.

Key Takeaways of Best Square Stern Canoe

Key Takeaways on Canoe Camping

Are square stern canoes more stable?
Square stern canoes tend to be more stable than traditional canoes due to their wider transom, which provides better balance, making them suitable for calm waters and fishing.

Who should use a Square Stern Canoe?
Square stern canoes are ideal for individuals who want to combine paddling with motorized boating, as they can accommodate an outboard motor for easier propulsion. They are favored by anglers for fishing due to their stability and motorization capability.

How does a square stern canoe differ from regular canoes?
The main difference between square stern canoes and regular canoes is the square-shaped back end of the hull. This design allows for the installation of an outboard square stern canoe motor and provides enhanced stability.

Why square stern canoe is best for motorized boating and fishing?
Square stern canoes are advantageous for motorized boating and fishing due to their ability to mount an outboard motor. This makes them efficient for covering larger distances and accessing fishing spots that might be challenging to reach with paddling alone.

Comparison Table of Best Square Stern Canoes

Boat ModelMaterialsMotor CompatibilityCarrying CapacityMotor RatingWeightLengthBest Use
Grumman 1750CSAluminumYes750 lbs.Not specified85 lbs.17′ 2″Solo tandem
Esquif Heron 15T-FormexNoNot specifiedNot applicable52 lbs.15′Whitewater canoeing
Old Town Discovery Sport 15Not specifiedYes1,650-1,700 lbs.3 HP113 lbs.15′ 3″A group of 4 or 3
Sportspal® CanoesAircraft-grade aluminumYes625 lbs.3 HPNot specifiedVariesFishing
Golden Hawk 10′Fiberglass, ResinYes450 lbs.3 HP50 lbs.10′Duck Hunting

7 of the Best Canoes With Square Stern

Grumman 17’ Square Stern Canoe – Best Overall


Length17′ 2″
Weight85 lbs.
Carrying Capacity750 lbs.

Canoe Overview

When it comes to exploring waters, there are many unhidden spots that you may want to explore. In that case, the Grumman 17’ Square Stern Canoe can be your ultimate companion. This boat empowers you to divide how you would like to travel, either by paddling or using a motor. 

Other than this, its aluminum construction really stands out with top-notch durability because it’s the same material that is used in manufacturing airplanes.  

Prominent Features

Lightweight: While the boat is durable, it does not weigh more than 85 pounds. This means you can easily carry it to the launching site from the storage area using the top of your car. 

Enhanced rigidity: The boat comprises additional ribs that transcend other typical boats when it comes to being rigid. With this, stability comes as a bonus, allowing you to navigate through even the toughest waterways with ease. 

Versatile use: Be it angling, hunting, or enjoying water sports, this canoe can be used for a variety of purposes altogether. 

What I liked
  • Portable 
  • Durable construction 
  • Comprises a motor mount 
What I don’t Liked
  • A bit costly

Esquif Heron 15′ Square Stern T-Formex Canoe – Best Lightweight


Weight52 lbs.
Carrying CapacityNot Specified
MaterialPlastic and ABS Foam

Canoe Overview

Next up, we have the Esquif Heron 15’ Square Stern Canoe, an exceptional blend of performance and flexibility that guarantees a perfect paddling experience for you.

From taking a leisure trip through the lake to indulging in a thrilling adventure on a fiery river, it can serve equally well for both purposes. Its lightweight of 52 lbs is the limelight stealer, making the canoe easily transportable. 

Prominent Features

Top-notch durability: What sets this square stern canoe apart is the fact that it’s crafted from a sturdy material i.e., T-Formex. With careful use, it will last for many years to come. 

Repair-friendly design: Much like the beloved Royalex canoes of the past, the Heron 15 can be outfitted and repaired with ease. This means you can personalize your canoe to suit your needs and carry out repairs when required, extending its lifespan.

Adaptable Dimensions: With a length of 15 feet and a width of 35 inches, this canoe strikes the perfect balance between maneuverability and stability. The 12.5-inch depth further enhances stability without compromising on agility.

What I liked
  • Durable 
  • Offers flexibility in use 
  • Stability on various water conditions
What I don’t Liked
  • Limited seating

MACKINAW SS Square Stern Canoe – Best Spacious


Length14′ 6″
Weight85 lbs.
Carrying Capacity750 lbs.
Motor CompatibilityYes (Motor not included)
Rod HoldersSix built-in locations

Canoe Overview

With a capacity to comfortably seat three individuals, the Mackinaw Square Back Canoe is designed to accommodate your family’s outdoor aspirations. Constructed from rugged UV-stabilized Fortiflex High-Density Polyethylene, this canoe ensures optimal stability while cruising through water bodies. 

Prominent Features

Ideal for Trolling Motors: Perfectly suited for electric trolling motors, this canoe with square stern offers a seamless integration for those who prefer motor-assisted exploration.

Sturdy Design: The square back transom not only supports the motor transom but also contributes to the canoe’s overall sturdiness and stability.

Equipped with a dry-storage container: A cooler under the center seat, and beverage holders molded into each seat, the canoe offers practical storage options for essentials and refreshments.

What I liked
  • Spacious seating 
  • Built-in motor transom 
  • Multiple storage options
What I don’t Liked
  • Limited motor power

Old Town Discovery 15 Sport Canoe – Best Durable


Length15′ 3″
DepthNot specified
Weight113 lbs.
Carrying Capacity1,650-1,700 lbs.

Canoe Overview

With its square stern design, the Old Town Discovery Sport 15 presents a unique fusion of tradition and modernity, offering paddling enthusiasts the option to paddle traditionally or harness the power of a motor of up to 5 HP. 

Whether you’re rowing, paddling, or utilizing a square stern canoe motor, the Discovery 15 promises an enjoyable and adaptable adventure on the water.

Prominent Features

Full-Length Stabilizing Chines: The canoe is equipped with full-length stabilizing chines, enhancing its stability and ensuring a confident ride even in varying water conditions.

Generous Beam and Dry Ride: With a generous beam and flared sides, this canoe with square stern maintains a dry ride, minimizing the chances of water splashing into the canoe. This feature is particularly valuable during paddling and motorized excursions.

Three-Layer Polyethylene Construction: The canoe is constructed using extremely durable three-layer polyethylene material, ensuring longevity and durability to withstand various environments and impacts.

What I liked
  • Comfortable seating
  • Durable build 
  • Ample capacity 
What I don’t Liked
  • Motor not included

Sportspal S-13 Square Stern Aluminum Canoe – Best Budget-Friendly


MaterialsAircraft-grade aluminum
DesignSquare Stern
Motor CompatibilityYes
Carrying Capacity625 lbs.
Max Horsepower3 HP
Canoe TypeSporting, family uses

Canoe Overview

Sportspal Canoe is crafted with precision, using stretch-formed, heat-treated, and hardened ultra-light aircraft-grade aluminum. 

The canoe’s unique construction includes a closed-cell polyethylene lining, ensuring it remains buoyant even when fully loaded. Their two-piece hull is joined at the keel, enhancing its durability and providing exceptional structural integrity.

And it’s the best square stern canoe if you’re low on budget.

Prominent Features

Unsurpassed Stability and Safety: Sportspal Canoe is renowned for its unusual stability and safety. These qualities make it an excellent choice for both family recreational activities and premier sporting pursuits, ensuring a secure experience on the water.

Quiet and Reliable: The special lining within the canoe adds an element of quiet performance. This is particularly beneficial for activities such as duck hunting, where a gun’s recoil won’t flip the canoe, and your dog can easily retrieve game without upsetting the balance.

Lightweight and Portable: Thanks to its lightweight construction, Sportspal® Canoe is easy to portage. Its adaptability and manageable weight make it suitable for year-round use and various sports activities.

What I liked
  • Versatile for all seasons 
  • Quiet performance
  • Durable
What I don’t Liked
  • Moderate weight capacity

Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe – Best Fishing


Motor CompatibilityYes
Carrying CapacityNot specified
Suggested UseFishing

Canoe Overview

The 14-Feet Square Stern Canoe stands out as a testament to thoughtful design and functionality. This watercraft embodies optimal stability and tracking, ensuring a smooth and confident ride on the water. 

Prominent Features

Stability and Tracking: With a focus on optimal stability and tracking, this canoe offers a reliable platform for various water activities, ensuring a comfortable and controlled experience.

Motor-Ready Transom: The square stern design not only enhances stability but also provides a sturdy transom, ready to accommodate an electric trolling motor. This feature opens up possibilities for motor-assisted exploration.

Built-In Rod Holder Locations: The inclusion of six built-in rod holder locations caters to fishing enthusiasts, allowing easy and secure placement of fishing rods for a hands-free experience.

What I liked
  • Easy to transport 
  • Inexpensive 
What I don’t Liked
  • Might compromise stability on wavy waters

Golden Hawk 10′ Square Stern Canoe – Best Duck Hunting


Weight50 lbs.
Carrying Capacity450 lbs.
Motor Rating3 HP
MaterialFiberglass and Resin

Canoe Overview

The Golden Hawk 10′ Square Stern Canoe stands out with its distinctive design, making it a true double-ender at the waterline. The design innovation enhances canoe maneuverability, allowing you to both motor and paddle in both forward and reverse directions without any drag. 

This unique feature opens up possibilities for seamless navigation and control, catering to outdoor enthusiasts seeking adaptable water experiences.

Prominent Features

Double Ender Design: The canoe’s double-ender design at the waterline contributes to exceptional maneuverability. This design innovation enables you to motor or paddle in forward and reverse directions without experiencing drag.

Compact and Lightweight: With a length of 10 feet and a weight of 50 lbs., this canoe offers portability and ease of transportation, making it convenient for various outings.

Carrying Capacity: Despite its compact size, the canoe boasts a carrying capacity of 450 lbs., allowing you to bring along essential gear and equipment.

Motor-Friendly: The canoe’s square stern is designed to accommodate a motor rating of up to 3 H.P., providing the option for motor-powered exploration.

What I liked
  • Versatile motor compatibility 
  • Outstanding maneuverability 
  • Flexible use 
What I don’t Liked
  • Smaller size

What are the benefits of a square stern canoe?

Benefits of a Square Stern Canoe:

1. Stability: The square stern design provides additional stability, making it easier to stand or move around in the canoe, which can be particularly useful for fishing, photography and for beginners as well and even you don’t need to add canoe outriggers especially if you’re a beginner.

2. Motor Mounting: The flat stern allows for easy installation of a small outboard motor. This can be advantageous for those who prefer not to paddle long distances or for navigating against currents and winds.

3. Maneuverability: The square stern shape can offer improved maneuverability in calm waters like lakes and slow-moving rivers, making it easier to turn and change direction.

4. Carrying Capacity: Square stern canoes often have a higher carrying capacity, which can be beneficial for transporting larger loads, gear, or multiple passengers.

5. Long-Distance Trips: Square stern canoes are well-suited for embarking on long-distance journeys across bodies of water. The ability to attach a motor to the square stern enhances the canoe’s efficiency and makes it easier to cover larger distances. 

Drawbacks of a Square Stern Canoe

Drawbacks of a Square Stern Canoe:

1. Speed and Efficiency: The flat stern can create more drag in the water, leading to reduced speed and overall efficiency compared to canoes with streamlined designs.

2. Choppy Waters: The square stern design is less adept at handling rough or choppy waters. The flat rear can cause the canoe to rock and feel unstable.

3. Weight: Square stern canoes tend to be heavier due to the reinforced stern structure required for mounting a motor. This additional weight can make them more challenging to portage or carry.

4. Paddling Performance: The flat stern design may not perform as well when paddling without a motor.

What Things to Watch Out for While Buying Square Stern Canoe?

No doubt, opting for the best square stern canoe is paramount to maximizing the value of your investment. Here are a few crucial factors you must pay attention to in order to select a model that really sticks out from the pack:


A canoe’s length is paramount to consider as it has a profound impact on the watercraft’s maneuverability, speed, and stability. 

For example, if you need to ride at high speeds, longer canoes would be a suitable pick. In comparison, shorter canoes are more maneuverable making leisure trips a breeze. 

But of course, you must assess the water conditions you will be paddling on along with your skill level before making a final decision. 


Next comes the square stern canoe’s width, which influences the stability of the boat. 

The wider a canoe, the more stable it would be. However, remember that you might have to sacrifice on speed and efficiency. For speed, opt for narrower canoes but you must be skilled enough at paddling to tackle the stability issues. 


Square stern canoes come in a variety of materials, including aluminum, fiberglass, plastic, wood, etc.

Each has its own set of pros and cons when it comes to durability, weight, cost, and performance. That said, you should assess these factors and then go for the one that suits your preferences and budget.

For your ease, we have devised a list considering various canoe materials and their best use purpose:

  • Plastic Canoe: Ease of transportation
  • Aluminum Canoe: Durability
  • Fiberglass Canoe: Performance
  • Kevlar Canoe: Speed

Intended Use

Next up, you need to determine the primary reason for using the square stern canoe. Different models serve different purposes. Thus it’s crucial to choose one according to the intended activities. However, the watercraft is generally used for recreational paddling, fishing, camping trips, or whitewater adventures. 

Seat Configuration

When it comes to the seating arrangement, square stern canoe comes in a variety of styles, including benches, removable, and molded seats.

This factor can directly impact comfort. The most comfortable seat, as reviewed by our experts, are benches. It’s because the paddler can change its position to adjust easily while paddling.

Moreover, it also decides how many passengers can ride at once on the watercraft.

Overall Weight and Weight Capacity

Considering the stern canoe’s weight is also important because it decides the boat’s portability and transportation. On average, it can weigh anywhere from around 65 to 110 lbs. The heavier a watercraft, the more challenging it’d be to take it to the launching site. 

Additionally, you also need to evaluate the weight capacity of the boat to ensure it can carry gear, passengers, and other stuff without compromising on stability. Generally, these hybrid boats can easily carry up to 600 to 1200 lbs of weight easily.

If you’re thinking of increasing carrying capacity by adding a trolling motor, you’re wrong. Carrying capacity is basically the potential of boat to hold weight, hence, trolling motor wouldn’t effect it.

Portability and Transportation

You need to make sure the canoe is easy to transport to and from the water. And that’s majorly decided by its weight as discussed above.

It’s recommended to utilize Golden Hawk 10′ Square Stern Canoe, as it’s lightweight and possesses a compact design.


Look for features that enhance your experience, such as storage compartments, cup holders, paddle holders, and tie-down points for securing gear. These features can make your trips more enjoyable and convenient.

If you seek such watercraft, we recommend you to buy Sun Dolphin Scout SS Canoe.

Stability and Performance

Be sure to check the boat’s stability by sitting or leaning on it. A stable canoe is important, especially for beginners or if you’ll be fishing. 

Additionally, consider how the canoe performs in various water conditions, such as calm lakes or moving rivers. Since you can’t judge its performance by just looking at it, you need to check out reviews from other buyers.

If you want a watercraft with high performance, we recommend you to buy MACKINAW SS Square Stern Canoe.

Different Types of Square Back Canoes

There are several types of square back canoes, each with its own characteristics and purposes you must know before making a purchase.

Here are a few major ones:

  • Recreational Square Back Canoes
  • Fishing Square Stern Canoes
  • Hunting Square Back Canoes
  • Camping Square Stern Canoes

Square Back Canoes vs Regular Canoes

Motor Compatibility and Stability with it

Square back canoes are known for their squared-off sterns that allow for easy motor attachment. Additionally, the squared stern enhances stability, especially when a motor is in use, making them steady platforms for various activities. 

Meanwhile, traditional canoes were not originally designed for motors, but some can be adapted with motor mounts. However, they might not offer the same level of stability as square back canoes when equipped with a motor.

Winner: Square Stern Canoes 

Fishing Advantage

Square back canoes provide a distinct advantage for fishing enthusiasts. The motor attachment option allows for hands-free fishing, as you can control the boat’s movement with the motor while you focus on your fishing activities.

Regular canoes can also be used for fishing, but they might require more effort in terms of paddling to maintain position or reach desired fishing spots.

Winner: Square Stern Canoes 

Weight Distribution & Load Capacity

The motor’s weight at the back of square back canoes can affect weight distribution. However, these canoes usually offer good load capacity for gear and passengers. 

Regular canoes offer balanced weight distribution, which can enhance their overall stability. Just as square back canoes, they also provide sufficient load capacity for various activities.

Winner: Regular Canoes 

Price Range

Square back canoes often come with a higher price tag due to their motor compatibility features. Regular canoes are generally more budget-friendly in comparison.

Winner: Regular Canoes 


Some square-back models offer customization options tailored specifically for motor use and fishing needs. Regular canoes may also offer customization possibilities such as fishing rod holders, dry storage compartment and cooler, though the level of customization can vary based on the model.

Winner: Square Stern Canoes

Paddling Skill

The option to use a motor in square back canoes can simplify the paddling experience, making them suitable for beginners or those who prefer a less physically demanding outing. 

Regular canoes demand more paddling skill and coordination, offering a more traditional paddling experience. In general, there are different tactics for effective paddling, which includes forward stroke, draw stroke, J stroke and cross draw stroke.

Winner: Square Stern Canoe

Specialized Activities

Square back canoes excel in motor-powered exploration, fishing, and leisurely cruises. Regular canoes are versatile and well-suited for a wide range of activities, including canoe camping, recreational paddling, and waterway exploration.

Winner: Regular Canoes


The added weight of the motor at the back can affect the maneuverability of square-back canoes. Regular canoes are generally more maneuverable, making them ideal for navigating through tight spots and winding waterways.

Winner: Regular Canoes

Portability and Portaging

Square back canoes might be slightly bulkier due to the motor mount, potentially affecting portability and ease of portaging the canoe. Regular canoes are usually lighter and more streamlined, making them better suited for portaging.

Winner: Regular Canoes

How to choose an outboard motor for Square Stern Canoe?

If you tend to buy the best square stern canoe, you will also need an outboard motor for efficiency. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make choose the perfect motor for such canoes:

1. Manufacturer’s Recommendations:

Start by checking the manufacturer’s recommendations for your square stern canoe. Manufacturers often provide guidelines on the maximum horsepower (HP) and weight that your canoe can safely handle. 

Adhering to these recommendations ensures that your canoe remains stable and performs optimally with the motor.

2. Calculate Total Weight:

Before choosing an outboard motor, factor in the combined weight of the motor, fuel, passengers, and any additional gear you plan to carry. Make sure the total weight remains within the manufacturer’s recommended limits for your canoe’s capacity.

3. Appropriate Horsepower (HP):

Select an outboard motor with an appropriate horsepower for your canoe’s intended use. Consider factors like the size of the water body, speed requirements, and the number of passengers in canoe

While a higher HP motor can provide more canoeing speed, a motor that’s too powerful might affect stability and maneuverability.

4. Fuel Efficiency:

Opt for an outboard motor known for its fuel efficiency. Fuel consumption can impact the duration of your trips and overall costs. Choosing a motor with good fuel efficiency ensures longer journeys like canoe camping without frequent refueling stops.

5. 2-Stroke vs. 4-Stroke:

Decide between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke outboard motor. 2-stroke motors are generally lighter and more compact, but they tend to be less fuel-efficient and produce more emissions. 

4-stroke motors are known for their better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and smoother operation, but they can be heavier.

6. Shaft Length:

Ensure the outboard motor’s shaft length is appropriate for your canoe’s design. The shaft length determines how deep the motor sits in the water. A shaft that’s too short might not provide adequate propulsion, while one that’s too long can interfere with maneuverability.

7. Tiller or Remote Control:

Choose between a tiller-steer motor (where you control the motor from the back) or a remote control model (where you control the motor using a handheld device). 

Tiller models are simpler and provide direct control, while remote control models offer convenience but may require more installation and maintenance.

What’s the performance of a square stern canoe with a trolling motor?

A square stern canoe with a trolling motor offers efficient performance on calm water bodies. The power of the trolling motor affects speed and thrust, enabling smooth movement against currents or mild winds.

Proper weight distribution maintains stability, and the canoe’s steering is generally good. Wind and water conditions can influence performance, and battery life depends on usage and capacity.

To retain performance, we recommend you to buy a trolling motor with specific thrust for different canoe’s weights. A good rule of thumb indicates that for every 100 lbs, you need 2 lbs of thrust.

For example, if your watercraft weigh around 350 lbs, you should opt for a trolling motor with 7 lbs of thrust.

To be precise, this setup is a versatile choice for leisurely exploration and fishing, combining convenience with effective navigation.

FAQs – Best Canoe With Square Stern

Can you paddle a square stern canoe?

Yes, you can paddle a square back stern canoe. However, it demands physical effort and can make you worn up during long outings.  So it is recommended to utilize a motor for propulsion of this hybrid watercraft.

Are square stern canoe and flat bottom canoes the same?

No, they are not the same. A square stern canoe has a squared-off back end, while a flat-bottom canoe refers to the shape of the hull’s bottom.

Are square stern canoes stable and suitable for manual paddling as well?

Yes, square stern canoes are stable and allow for manual paddling. If you tend to paddle your canoe manually, we recommend you to utilize old town discovery 15, as it’s the best canoe for square stern for maximum efficiency.

Can square stern canoes be used effectively in rough water or whitewater conditions?

No, you can’t use a square stern canoe in rough water or whitewater conditions, as it is not designed for that purpose. To have a ride, consider calm water bodies such as lakes and rivers.

Where not to use a square stern canoe?

You must avoid taking your square stern canoes for whitewater paddling, fast-moving rivers, or turbulent conditions. Under such conditions, your canoe can get flipped over, even if it is equipped with an outboard motor.

What is the resale value for a square stern canoe?

The resale value of a square stern canoe can vary based on factors such as brand, condition, and demand. Generally, well-maintained canoes hold their value better over time.

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