If you’re going to use your canoe on quick water as well as on lakes and rivers, a twenty-foot Model Guide is best. If the canoe is only to be used on lakes and ponds it is best to have a canoe of the same size with a keel.
Two paddles are required, one being 5 1⁄2 feet long and the other 6 feet long. Using seasoned maple or ash paddles with well shaped blade and shank.
You should have a strong spruce pole 11 to 13 feet long and 22 inches in diameter, fitted with an iron socket at one end for fast water work. A water removal sponge and approximately 30 feet of solid clothesline is almost a must.
The pole is necessary to go up swift streams where a paddle is useless. A pole is required to snub the canoe for going down stream.
If you are going up a really swift stream where you can’t use a rope, tie one end of the clothesline to the canoe ‘s bow and walk along the stream bank and tow the boat as best you can. Let your companion with pole aid hold the bow off shore. Some streams are too fast to use a line properly, allowing the canoe to be pushed across these rapids. Fill it with water before using a canoe in fast water, and let it soak for an hour or two. A very dry canoe is suitable for being brittle.
The best way to learn how to handle a canoe properly is to go canoeing with someone who is familiar with the craft. You’ll learn first how to use the bow paddle, then the stern and then using the pole later. If you don’t have an coach, I suggest you put two or three rocks in the bow for practice purposes. The rocks will have gross weight of at least 100 pounds. During your first few practice lessons, pick a quiet day, and sit on a lake, pond or river where there’s just a slight current.
Paddle in simple, continuous strokes with one hand just above the blade, and another on the shaft. Seek not to stretch out too far and try to make extra-long strokes. Steering a canoe on one hand without paddling, and then practicing the other with a little practice.
Without using a rope, you can go down several streams, but I don’t recommend it unless you know the streams well and are aware of all the hidden rocks and sunken logs that could capsize your canoe if struck.
Guard your canoe well. Do not pull or drive a canoe around the beach the way rowboats are done by some people. Carry a repair kit and test your canoe regularly when all rips and tears are in service, and fix.
Load balancing is very critical in the canoe. By definition, the heaviest duffle must be in the middle.
The load will settle slightly in the back of the middle in running white water so that the canoe can be swung or placed instantly.