Electric Trolling Motor for Drift Boat

Electric Trolling Motor for Drift Boat

One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to go fishing on a river is from a drift boat. This kind of watercraft boasts a design that not only makes it easy for you to maneuver and navigate through rapids, but you can do it quietly so as not to scare the fish away. But can you put an electric trolling motor on drift boats?

An electric trolling motor is the best type of motor to use on your drift boat because of its low thrust, low weight, and low noise. However, using this type of motor on your boat will not give it extra speed. Instead, it will help with propulsion, and you won’t need to exert effort to move your drift boat forward quietly.

This article will discuss the advantages of using an electric trolling motor for your drift boat, especially compared to other motor types. We will also share a few of the best electric trolling motors on the market to help you find the right one!

Note: most links in this article are Amazon.com Affiliate links, see Affiliate Disclosure, thank you.

What You Need To Know About Drift Boats and Motors

A drift boat is a unique inland watercraft specifically designed for use in rivers. Characterized by a wide and flat bottom, a pointed stern, a flat bow, and flared sides, these features allow your boat to float down the river while helping you navigate and maneuver it easily through rapids.

This boat works best with oars. You will need to row to move the boat forward, providing thrust from the boat’s center. Needless to say, a drift boat does not work well with thrust from its rear.

Can You Put a Motor on Your Drift Boat?

While a drift boat is designed to be used with oars, putting a motor on it is certainly possible. However, it is something that you need to do carefully. For one, you have to get the right motor to install, as your drift boat will react differently to different motor thrusts.

For instance, with a high-HP outboard motor attached to the boat’s transom, the thrust from the rear can push this portion of the boat down toward the water. The more thrust is applied, the more difficult it will be for you to control your boat. The issue is that the boat does not react smoothly to the instant acceleration that the thrust generates.

Moreover, fitting your drift boat with a powerful HP motor and generating fast acceleration will only send your boat into the riverbank.

Electric Trolling Motor for Your Drift Boat

A low-HP electric trolling motor, meanwhile, would work great with your drift boat. That’s because this type of motor ensures that you can’t generate a thrust that would drive your boat uncontrollably toward nearby obstacles or down the river bank. A low-HP motor would still acknowledge your drift boat as a rowboat design-wise.

Low-HP electric trolling motors are also great because it’s not about speed but propulsion when it comes to drift boats. This type of motor is just powerful enough to move your boat down the river at a speed that is akin to rowing because it has a lower thrust compared to gas-powered motors.

A 55-pound thrust electric motor can sufficiently power a drift boat that is at least 16 feet long. Smaller drift boats, meanwhile, can use 30-pound to 40-pound thrust electric trolling motors.

Why Put an Electric Trolling Motor on Your Boat?

Aside from providing just the right amount of thrust, a low-HP electric trolling motor is lightweight. It is not too heavy that it would push the stern down. Moreover, the battery that supplies the motor’s power can be placed or stowed anywhere in your boat, allowing you to distribute its weight correctly.

Additionally, a low-HP trolling motor is way quieter than a gas-powered engine, meaning that you don’t have to worry about scaring the fish away and not catching anything on your trip.

Mounting an Electric Trolling Motor on Your Drift Boat

Most drift boats have a motor mount plate on the stern. Motors can be clamped to this plate by tightening the screw clamps. Some of the motor brackets have one or two-hole to accommodate a bolt for extra security.

An Additional concern on a drift boat is the battery location. Placing the battery as close to the center of a drift boat is important for handling rough water. Attaching a battery box to the boat can be a great way to keep your battery dry, safe, and secure. Don’t forget to buy the proper size wires if you need battery wire extension kits.

Some people choose to run their transom mount electric trolling motor in reverse while using their drift boat. The most efficient way to reverse your motor’s thrust is to mount your control head in reverse orientation. Reversing the control head is simple in most motors and can be done by removing one bolt located under the head, connecting it to the top of the shaft.

How To Pick an Electric Trolling Motor for Your Drift Boat

To find a suitable electric trolling motor for your drift boats, there are a few things you need to consider or check out because trolling motors are designed for specific purposes and certain types of water vessels. 

For example, there are trolling motors that have been made explicitly for saltwater crafts and can withstand rust and corrosion brought about by salt, while there are also those that are only for freshwater ones.

You also need to decide where you will be mounting your electric motor, as some are designed for specific locations. You can mount it either on the bow or front of your boat or on the transom or back section.

The size of your boat will also matter when picking a motor. However, the size refers to the thrust level it requires, the number of volts needed to power your boat, and the shaft’s length that provides adequate propulsion. The heavier your boat, the more thrust is required. A generally accepted amount would be at least two pounds of thrust for every 100 pounds.

Voltage, on the other hand, indicates the amount of electricity a motor needs. But generally, motors that provide 55 pounds of thrust need a 12-volt battery. Those with 60 to 80 pounds will need 24-volt batteries.

The Best Electric Trolling Motor for Drift Boats

If you are looking for a good electric trolling motor to put on your drift boat, you can check out the following:

Our Top Pick Drift Boat Electric Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Endura C2 55 Transom Mount Trolling Motor

This electric motor gives your boat adequate, quiet power. It is available with various thrust outputs, and it has a high energy-efficiency score. It features a power prop for a bit more power when running through obstacles, a 36-inch-long shaft, and a telescopic handle and tilt-twist tiller that is easy to operate offers effortless steering and speed control. Moreover, it boasts five forward speeds and three reverse speeds.

See customer reviews on Amazon.com

Check out our article on Endura C2 trolling motors.

Black Haswing 12V Bow Mount Trolling Motor

This small trolling motor offers 55 pounds of thrust and is great for boats, whether saltwater or freshwater, that weigh up to 2750 pounds. This motor is compact, quiet, and energy-efficient, but the best thing about it is its wireless remote control, enabling you to control the motor from a distance.

So you can steer your watercraft from land while you have your hands on your fishing rod. You can also adjust the speed easily with the remote control or turn the motor’s handle 180 degrees to put your boat in reverse.

This motor will require some extra work to mount, such as a custom motor bracket. For some ideas check out this bracket on Amazon. While this bracket is not heavy-duty it can work well for light applications and might lead to great other ideas.

Another way to get an idea would be to check out the Leelock company website, they also have a Contact page.

See customer reviews on Amazon.com

Click here for our detailed Review of the Haswing Osapian Trolling Motor.

Watersnake Tracer Transom Mount Trolling Freshwater Motor

This trolling motor has three available thrust outputs: the 30-pound thrust and 30-inch shaft, the 44-pound thrust with a 36-inch shaft, and the 54-pound thrust with a 42-inch shaft. The motor has five forward speeds and two reverse speeds. Its weedless two-blade propeller allows you to move easily through weeds and water. This motor suits different small watercraft best!

See customer reviews on Amazon.com

Click here for our detailed Review Of Watersnake Electric Trolling Motors


An electric trolling motor is the ideal kind of motor to put on your drift boat because of its low thrust output. And a low thrust output is necessary to easily control your boat given its size and shape and rivers’ nature.