The 9 Best Trolling Motors

Updated November 22, 2017 by Sam Kraft

9 Best Trolling Motors
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. These trolling motors will enable you to drag your lure at the ideal speed to entice fish out of their underwater hiding places. We've included models good for both fresh and saltwater environments, that offer bow and transom mounting, and that will work on kayaks and dinghies, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best trolling motor on Amazon.

9. Outsunny Transom

The Outsunny Transom is built to thrive in both fresh and saltwater, so you can enjoy yourself no matter where you are without the worry of corrosion. It is strong enough to push three or four people in a 14-foot dinghy all day without draining its 12-volt battery.
  • lever lock bracket for easy mounting
  • surprisingly quiet at full speed
  • not very fast at just 4 mph
Brand Outsunny
Model A30-001
Weight 20.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Newport Vessels NV

The Newport Vessels NV features a strong 30-inch composite fiberglass shaft with a heavy-duty nylon mount for stability. It has five forward speeds and three reverse speeds, so you can customize your approach based on wind speed and other factors.
  • 5-point led battery meter
  • 6-inch telescoping handle
  • cannot reverse the head direction
Brand Newport Vessels
Model 23M1000205
Weight 20 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Haswing Protruar

The trim height adjuster of the motor features a quick lock, which allows you to easily regulate the Haswing Protruar on the fly in calm or turbulent waters. In the event you do collide with a log or a rock, it includes a convenient auto propeller cutout safety feature.
  • suitable for salt and fresh water
  • tilting lever with 6 settings
  • loud while in use
Brand Aquos
Model pending
Weight 28.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Goplus Freshwater

Designed specifically for small to medium-sized boats, the Goplus Freshwater sifts through weeds and underwater cabbage to give you a smooth ride and, more importantly, allow you to tailor your speed to elicit the best action possible out of the lure you’re dragging.
  • includes handy operation manual
  • works on kayaks with brackets
  • battery display is hard to read
Brand Goplus
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Minn Kota Endura C2

When considering the combination of performance and cost, the Minn Kota Endura C2 is a solid option. Its innovative motor design creates minimal noise while making efficient use of its battery, which gives you more time to catch supper.
  • comprehensive two-year warranty
  • six-inch telescoping handle
  • not suited for standing steering
Brand Minn Kota
Model 3005.6702
Weight 25.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Motorguide R3

Constructed from a long-lasting aluminum alloy, the rugged Motorguide R3 features a durable powder-coated finish that can withstand daily sun exposure. It has a reversible motor head for bow or transom mount operation, and offers five forward speeds.
  • stainless steel hinge pins
  • 2-speed reverse capability
  • multi-position angle adjustment
Brand Motorguide
Model 940100050
Weight 25 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Watersnake Tracer

With a nimble maneuvering ability and the versatility to handle a variety of marine environments, the Watersnake Tracer offers the choice of a tiller steer or electric foot control configuration. It has a 44-pound thrust when operating on a standard 12-volt battery.
  • great for inflatables and canoes
  • heavy-duty 3-blade weedless prop
  • transom and bow mounting capability
Brand Watersnake
Model 55177
Weight 27.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Newport Vessels Electric

The Newport Vessels Electric offers the distinguished angler an ideal combination of high-power performance and a stylish construction in one unit. It’s designed with tough corrosion-resistant components to be used in saltwater environments.
  • 36-inch composite fiberglass shaft
  • all-weather stainless steel hardware
  • 8 speeds for ultimate control
Brand Newport Vessels
Model 23M1000098
Weight 26.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Minn Kota C2 40

When you’re trolling the river with this stealthy operator, it’s almost not fair for the fish. The Minn Kota C2 40 features extra-large windings and commutators that disperse the heat it generates, which means cooler operating temperatures and enhanced battery efficiency.
  • advanced bearings reduce friction
  • flexible shaft is indestructible
  • ergonomic tiller for precise control
Brand Minn Kota
Model 3005.6990
Weight 22.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Trolling For Fish: The Basics

Just to be clear from the get-go, trolling is a style of fishing wherein a baited fishing line (or sometimes several lines) are drawn along through the water at a steady speed. The idea is to catch the attention of nearby fish, who will see the moving bait or lure as a live morsel of dinner and then pounce, hooking themselves in the process. This type of movement can be achieved by the deft arm of a fisherman, or by walking along a bank, shoreline, or dock, but is most easily and frequently achieved by drawing a trolling line along beside or behind a moving boat.

Do keep in mind that trolling is entirely distinct from trawling, a method of fishing that uses a moving net designed to catch large numbers of fish at the same time. The two approaches, though similar in name, are almost opposite in approach. Trolling is the preferred fishing style of many recreational fishers, who find the activity both relaxing and rewarding.

With experience, patience, and the right gear, trolling for fish can land a fisherman plenty of great catches, and when practiced on placid lakes or slow-moving rivers–the most common spots for recreational trolling–it is a low-impact activity great for fishers of all ages and physical abilities.

The most important consideration when planning a trolling outing involves location: you can't catch fish in a river or lake not frequented by fish. Beyond that, you need to choose the right bait or lures for the fish at hand (troll fishing is usually geared toward catching pelagic fish, which is to say fish that swim well above the bottom of a body of water and that tend to stay in the open water, as opposed to fish that stay on the bottom or among the warrens of a reef). You also need a stable boat with a shallower draft (for most freshwater fishing, anyway), and you need to choose the right trolling motor.

When it comes to trolling for fish, the motor you choose is about more than simple propulsion; it's one of the most important pieces of gear overall.

How To Choose The Right Trolling Motor

Trolling motors offer two major benefits over larger outboard (or even inboard) motors: they are quiet, and they are precise. The low noise and vibration, as well as the limited water disturbance of a trolling motor means less chance that fish will be scared away, and the deft control afforded by a trolling motor means easy navigation of even the narrowest, winding waterways of a stream or lakeshore.

Trolling motors also offer superb speed control (though of course they don't boast high speeds), so you can set the pace to counter or work with the flow of the river or match the approximate swimming speed of the fish you hope to catch.

When considering a trolling motor, know that the price range of these units is a wide one; in fact, you may pay more for a trolling motor than for the canoe or other small watercraft to which you affix it.

Some trolling motors are easy to attach and remove, some swing up out of the way when not in use, and others stay affixed more permanently. The type of boat, the way you transport and store it, and the locations in which you fish all impact which motor mounting type is ideal for your situation.

Make sure you choose a trolling motor suitable for use in salt water if you ever fish in the sea, in estuaries, or in other salty or brackish waters.

A trolling motor can also serve as a helpful backup motor if a primary engine dies or runs out of gas, so you might want to consider a model powerful enough, and with a long enough battery life, to push your boat along for a good distance if you ever need it in a pinch; spending a few more dollars now may save you from exhausting paddling or even a rescue tow later.

How To Use Your Trolling Motor

Trolling motors calibrate speed more accurately than large outboard motors, and thus many fisherman will use a larger motor to get to their chosen fishing spot, and will then drop their smaller trolling motor into the water once the actual fishing has begun.

A lure or baited hook is usually trolled through the water at speeds below 9 knots (which is around 10 miles per hour, for the record), and under some conditions or when fishing for certain species, speeds might be much slower.

Make sure you choose a motor that offers speed settings appropriate for the location and type of fish you'll be after, or that offers plenty of varied speed settings, because the speed at which the lure moves through the water directly impacts the fishing success.

The optimum trolling speed varies with different species of fish. For example, a lake or river trout is used to a rather slow-paced swim and won't go for bait zipping past it. A salmon, on the other hand, is a faster swimmer, stalks faster bait, and may well chase after your baited hook even when it's moving at closer to 12 or 15 knots.

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Last updated on November 22, 2017 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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