Photo: Loimere/Creative Commons

Growing up in Northern New York—where the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains roll into the St. Lawrence Seaway—meant that I spent many quiet hours casting a line into ponds, lakes, and rivers. Anyone can fish from the shore, of course, but most anglers know that the real place to go is out into the depths—and there's no better way to get there than a good canoe.

Not all canoes are the same, however. Some are designed for speed, others for maneuverability in rapids. A fishing canoe must be, above all else, stable. In addition, it needs to be relatively easy to paddle, designed to track smoothly on flat water, have enough room to hold gear and fish, and—if possible—light enough to haul across the occasional portage.

It's a unique set of characteristics, to be sure, but have no fear—here are the five best canoes for fishing on the market now:

Old Town Guide 147

When it comes to canoes, Old Town is one of the most trusted brands and their classic Guide series is in many ways the pinacle of all-around design. The Guide 147 is a stable boat with enough room for two anglers. Weighing 74 pounds, it is manageable for two—or one motivated—person. It also comes with comfortable seats and backrests. This canoe is ideal for a fisherman or woman who also wants a boat that can be functional for the whole family.

Mad River Angler 14

The Angler, by Mad River Canoes, is designed with the avid sportsman in mind. In addition to being wide and stable, this boat features a foam-core hull which deadens sound and insulates from cold water. It is also remarkably light for a canoe of its size, perfect for the long portage to those secret and secluded fishing spots.

Esquif Heron

Esquif—a boat company based in Quebec, Canada—has designed what may be the ultimate hunting and fishing boat. The Heron features a foam cored inside its long, wide hull to make a boat that is both light weight and stable. In addition, the boat features a square stern—meaning it can be used with or without an outboard motor. To top it all off, the hull is available in a camouflage pattern.

Clipper Mac Sport 16.5

For those long fishing trips—including multi-day expeditions—the Mac Sport 16.5′ from Clipper Canoes excels. The hull is made from layered kevlar and fiberglass, allowing this boat with huge capacity and great stability to weigh in between 62 and 84 pounds (depending on desired composition ratio). The boat can be loaded with 1300 pounds and still have a gracious seven inch freeboard. Finally, the Mac Sport features a motor-ready square stern for those really long hauls.

Wenonah Fusion

For the solo angler, the innovative Wenonah Fusion fusion offers all the benefits of a canoe—stability, storage, and dryness—with the lightness and solo maneuverability of a kayak. The Fusion features a comfortable padded seat with a backrest standard and an option rudder making paddling easy whether it's with a single or double blade.

From casual family fishing to multi-day expeditions to solo adventures, these canoes will fit the needs of any angler.