A Flat Back Canoe: When Should You Choose One?

A Flat Back Canoe: When Should You Choose One?

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/14/2022

It's best to buy a square back canoe (also known as a square stern canoe or a flat back canoe) if you intend to use it exclusively for fishing or duck hunting.

Square 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.

A Flat Back Canoe

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. If you're fishing or duck hunting, you won't need to paddle much. 

A Flatback canoe's benefits


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. With added stability, it is 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 canoe

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. 


Canoes made of aluminum by Grumman -square back aluminum canoe- 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 canoe 

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

Check with your local canoe rental outfitter if they have any of their rental canoes for sale if they know someone who does has a flat back canoe for sale or 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 have a way to transport your canoe with 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 if possible since there aren't many online retailers who sell 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 motor from local boaters is a great way to find one. Additionally, you can buy used canoes on websites like eBay and Craigslist. 
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 boat trailer if you own one.