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Flat Back Canoes: Stability and Comfort Combined

Square Stern Canoe Benefits

Square Stern Canoe Benefits

Updated on 12/5/2023
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
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I have recently seen Flat Back Canoes when I go Kayaking or canoeing.  It is duck hunting season, and flat back canoes are the best option if you intend to use them for fishing or duck hunting.

So what is a flat-back canoe? Flat-back canoes have their sterns squared off, allowing the owner to attach a small motor to the back. Connecting a small outboard or trolling motor to the stern of a square back canoe is easy, so you don't have to paddle, and you will convert it into a square canoe with motor. Paddle for the last portion of the trip, then use the engine for the remainder.

Canoes have been used for transportation and recreation for thousands of years, with evidence of their use dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Olmecs in Mexico and the Native American tribes of North America.


Which Canoe Is Best For You

Which Canoe Is Best For You

Square-back canoes have the disadvantage of being more difficult to paddle than traditional canoes. The flat back of the canoe makes tracking (staying in a straight line) difficult, so it moves slowly. You won't need to paddle much if you're fishing or duck hunting. 

While flat back canoes are often praised for their maneuverability and versatility, some argue that they can be less stable than other types of canoes, particularly in rough waters. Additionally, their flat bottom design can make them more difficult to paddle in certain conditions, such as strong currents or windy weather. However, proponents of flat back canoes argue that their unique design allows for greater stability and balance when fishing or carrying heavy loads.


A Flatback canoe's benefits

Canoes come in many different shapes and sizes, including flat back canoes, which are designed with a flat bottom to provide greater stability and a shallower draft. Canoes can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, bark, and synthetic materials like plastic or fiberglass.


Canoe with flat back for motor: One of the best features of a flatback canoe is the ability to attach a trolling or small outboard motor. An engine will make your favorite fishing and duck hunting spots easier to reach. Some light trolling motors will ensure the rig stays lightweight for those concerned about weight.


Canoes with square backs come in various sizes to suit your needs. Square backs models have a smaller carrying capacity than their larger counterparts but are easier to handle. It's easier to manage the larger models, but they can take more weight. Decide what your canoes need to accomplish, then determine the size accordingly. 


A flat-back canoe is more durable than a traditional canoe, though there is no such thing as a stable canoe. Adding stability makes it easier to balance from a canoe when fishing or hunting ducks. Depending on the model, you can fish or shoot without worrying about losing your balance, and it is essential if you are hunting or fishing with another person.

Flat back canoes are reliable

Flat back canoes are reliable

A traditional canoe is a great option to stay close to the shore. Most people do not want to paddle several miles to their hunting or fishing spot to return home at the end of the day. 

Consider some of the more reputable brands when choosing a square-back canoe. A canoe store or outdoor store may sell them new, or you may be able to find a used one for a reasonable price. Make sure the brand is known for building quality canoes in either case. 


Aluminum flat back canoe: Canoes made of aluminum by Grumman -square back aluminum canoes- are some of the most popular and well-known. The Grumman 19' Square-Stern canoe is especially popular, but the company also makes excellent models of other canoes. Grumman 19' Square-Stern canoe is remarkably stable and has a large carrying capacity because of its size. Grumman canoes track better than many other models. Grumman canoe square stern is particularly important if you intend to paddle a lot. 

There are a lot of models of Grumman, like 15 and 19 Grumman flat back canoes. 

Old Town

Old Town Discovery Sport 15 offers all the Old Town Discovery series features. A durable and stable polyethylene hull makes it easy due to the Sport 15's smaller size. Old Town has a lower carrying capacity than some other square canoes, and it can be a great trade-off if you don't have to carry much weight.


The Wenonah Backwater Square Stern Canoe is a 15-foot canoe available in various weights and colors. Wenonah is an excellent option for people who want a very lightweight canoe. You should be aware that the Ultra-light is less durable than the standard weight if you paddle in areas with many rocks or shells. Compared to Flex-Core options, these will also be heavier but more durable.

What Is The Best Place To Buy A Flat-Back Canoe?

Get ready to go hunting when you purchase a square-back canoe! The number of online retailers selling them isn't huge. You can make direct purchases from the manufacturer. There might be a backorder, but they can let you know when they will be shipped. 

You might find a square-back canoe at a local canoe store, fishing store, or second-hand store. You might be able to order them from your local canoe store if they don't have them in stock.

flat canoe

flat canoe

Check with your local canoe rental outfitter if they have any of their rental canoes for sale or if they know someone who has a flat back canoe for sale or a square back canoe for sale. Local canoes can provide great recommendations for quality square-back canoes, and Craigslist and eBay are also good sources for second-hand square-back canoes. 

Make sure you can transport your canoe with a flat back when you pick it up when you purchase it locally. You can typically tie a square back canoe to a roof rack like a standard canoe, but you should check with the canoe's owner before you pick it up. If you already have a canoe trailer, you can pick up almost any square-back canoe.

Be prepared for a hunt when purchasing a square-stern canoe! You can usually buy them directly from a manufacturer since there aren't many online retailers selling them. Your manufacturer can provide you with a shipping timeline. 
If you cannot find a Stern Canoe locally, your best bet would be to find a local boat store, fishing store, or second-hand gear store and ask if they have any available Square Stern Canoes. Local boat stores may not have Square stern canoes in stock, but they might be able to order them for you.
Getting a canoe from a local outfitter near you is possible, and some people also ask if they sell their rental boats. Getting recommendations for a good-quality square stern canoe with a motor from local boaters is a great way to find one. Additionally, you can buy used canoes on websites like eBay and Craigslist. 

Flat back canoes played a significant role in the exploration of North America, as they were used by European explorers such as Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain to navigate the continent's rivers and lakes. Flat back canoes have been used by indigenous people around the world for thousands of years, including in North America, Australia, and Africa.

When picking up a square stern canoe, ask the owner whether it can be attached to a roof rack like a standard canoe. Longer canoes may require a boat trailer, and any Squareback Canoe should fit on your trailer if you own one.



Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call a canoe with a flat back?

Flat Back Canoes are also called Square Stern Canoe. Usually, they both refer to the same thing.

What’s the best trolling motor shaft length for a flat back canoe?

The perfect motor shaft for a flat back canoe is a 30″ electric trolling motor shaft. Such a setup will allow you to get the motor and propeller far enough into the water to use the whole thrust of the engine. But it will also give you extra shaft length to put the motor down more profoundly in the water if you’re in choppy, bucking water.

Can you paddle a square back canoe?

It is not only for paddling that square sterns are used. Sure you can paddle them but they are also made to work with a small motor. My brother brought a square stern canoe on a trip once. He and I easily led the other canoes every day.