How Fast Do Trolling Motors Go?

Any serious angler who owns a fishing boat will tell you a trolling motor is an indispensable item to own. It makes fishing much easier and more enjoyable; they are the unsung heroes, in our opinion.

It helps maneuver your boat with near surgical precision on windy days to lock in your spot where the fish are biting.

Sure, you can use a boat anchor, but it’s a pain if you want to work the shoreline methodically.

Trolling motors are like a second, smaller motor for your boat that includes propellers and an electric motor.

They are used to control the speed of your boat’s movement and also allow you to stay in one spot in the current.

But how fast can they go, and what affects their speed?

We’ll drill down how fast these motors can go based on load, weather conditions, and much more.

Let’s begin.

Why Do You Need a Trolling Motor?

two friends fishing on a boat

You usually require a trolling motor to assist you in your recreational fishing adventures. In particular, one kind of recreational fishing is called trolling, in which you can cast multiple fishing lines from your boat and keep them slowly moving behind your boat as your boat moves forward.

Typical trolling setups are using metal lures or spoons like Kastmaters for trout and other species. With a trolling motor in place on your boat, you can help maintain a slow speed on your boat so that the lines can remain sturdy and keep moving with your boat without falling off.

This can also keep all your lines from coming into contact with each other and creating a tangle. This can, therefore, increase the chances of you making a successful catch.

You can either use trolling motors alongside the boat’s motor for movement and speed or even as the main form of propulsion. 

How Fast Do They Go?

man fishing on a boat and sunset

Trolling motors can travel with a top speed of 5 miles per hour (mph). This is relatively quite slow as compared to the usual speed at which boats can move, with or without a propeller. However, this slow speed is what makes trolling motors distinct, unique, and highly useful.

It’s crucial for the boat to stay in place or crawl forward in the water. Since trolling involves multiple fish lines, they must all also remain in place and attached to the boat.

Trolling motors also have something called thrust, which implies the power of the trolling motor in propelling the boat forward. This thrust is measured in pounds and can vary depending on the size and weight requirements of the boat.

Even though this thrust varies, the ultimate speed of trolling motors does not exceed 5 mph.

Factors Affecting Speed

man fishing on a boat

There are several factors that can affect the speed of an electric trolling motor. Despite the maximum speed being 5 mph, there can be variations in the speed up to that level. Let’s take a look at what causes these variations.


How much load is your boat carrying? If you have tons of gear and other items in the boat, this will slow your trolling motor and boat down considerably.

The heavier the load, the more drag it will create, which can slow the speed down. Conversely, less weight means less drag, so you’ll be able to go faster. 

Usage and Maintenance

If you tend to use your trolling motor frequently on your boat, then this can result in a relatively faster speed. This is because of the frequent powering up and consequent response rate. On the other hand, using it rarely can create more drag.

Maintaining the motor regularly based on what the manual says is also essential to keep the speed consistent and reliable. Oiling, repairing, changing batteries, and replacements are all important. 

Water Condition

The condition of the water can also have an impact on the speed. For instance, if you are out fishing on your boat in still water, you can expect to maintain the speed of the motor. This can create a good glide in the water.

On the other hand, if the water is full of waves and turbulence, you might have a rocky time with your motor drudging forward. 

Propeller Speed

The propeller of the trolling motor is what creates and determines the speed and movement. The speed of the propeller itself depends on the current that passes through it, so confirm the voltage level of the propeller to see what kind of speed you can achieve with your trolling motor.

You must also make use of a suitable propeller to maintain good speed and achieve the full potential of the motor. Replace the propeller if it gets too old.


There are several brands out there that sell trolling motors. Some of these are more reliable than others in terms of the speed that you can achieve with their models. This makes it essential for you to opt for brands that have a reputation for efficiency and speed among the users.

Trolling motors have come a long way, and newer models will have some game-changing features such as spot locking your location via GPS. Most brands like Garmin and Motorguide will now that this feature on all their latest models.

Read through reviews online, talk to fellow anglers, and read through the descriptions properly.


How long you spend on the water can also have an impact on the speed. This is because the batteries of your trolling motors might only be able to last for a few hours at a time, so make sure the batteries are new or charged before you set out and confirm how long they can last.

If you also maintain a high speed for a long time, the battery will drain faster. Consider the type of battery you’ll need for longer trips on the water.

Final Thoughts

boat fishing at sunrise

Trolling motors can go as fast as 5 mph, although this is usually the maximum speed that you can expect. Up to this level, many factors can affect the speed, such as load, usage, maintenance, water condition, propeller speed, brand, and time spent on the water.

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