Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cowboy Wisdom -- Canoe Rowing vs Paddling

My 14' Old Town Hunter Canoe with an Essex wooden rowing rig

Did you ever think about rowing your canoe?

I'll be 74 this year, and because I'm retired I can't always find a fishing partner that can get off work for a fishing trip.  Consequently I do a lot of solo canoeing.

I've been canoeing for well over fifty years, and among my most cherished memories are canoe trips to the Boundary Waters, Algonquin Park, and Missouri River in Montana where I soloed 150 miles.

My son Adam with two gorgeous Brown Trout on Lewis Lake in Yellowstone

A few years back I took my son Adam on a fishing trip, and because he had very little canoeing experience I thought I'd better learn how to do a self rescue, so I could instruct him if he got in to trouble. 

I decided to swamp my Old Town Pack Canoe in a warm swimming pool to see how long it would take to empty, right, and climb back in.

Long story short -- a swamped Old Town Pack Canoe cannot be emptied by a 70+ year-old solo paddler while in the water -- and if you do manage to get back inside it sinks to the bottom of your feet.

That was a real eye-opener for me, so I decided I'd buy some air bags, and a canoe stabilizer for my solo trips, and for Adam's first canoeing experience.

While researching stabilizer floats I learned about Spring Creek's rowing rig.  I purchased one and have since discovered I can row my canoe nearly three times faster than I could paddle.  Better yet I can fish on windy lakes, and have full control of my canoe.

I am so happy I purchased the rowing rig and stabilizer floats.  I figure they may extend my fishing years, and might even save my life on some far away windy lake.

However, there are still those quiet mornings when nothing is more enjoyable than a peaceful outing where the stealth of the paddle takes you to those silent places, and reveals the secrets they hold…

Happy canoeing


  1. I really like your stories and of course your writing!
    For the first time I got the chance to read your web site!! Great! I will have fun reading it!! Thank you for sharing your experience and your thoughts with all of us! I can wait to read everything!! sincerely, Miranda

  2. Thank you Miranda. All old men have at least one good tale to share. It's in here somewhere. :)