: but, my line of thinking was this: if I take a conventional design as a
: starting point, then alter it to make it more suited to fishing rather
: than just paddling, what effect would it likely have on stability.
some clarity ... fishing ...
want standing up on a stable platform, casting lures? you could google for "canoe fishing"
experienced sea kayak traveler? you could google for "kayak fishing"
lower yourself, that helps a lot (sitting near the bottom)
adding gear on top of the boat is counterproductive
yes, start with a known design (use it, get a feel for what you are looking for)
but changing only inches matter a lot
as a rule of thumb, widening a boat helps for stability, shortening decreases stability
you could end up very different from what you want / expect
shortening with only chopping a part off, creating a square stern does shorten a boat, without losing stability much (adds drag)
but it allows you to sit in the very end and (when you are the only person on board) that would destabilize the boat
(for stability, you should add width in the ends as well)
why a canoe? for easy transport and portage? (that would be a good reason for me)
you could look into "guide boat"? or at the other end: http://www.makeacanoe.com/motorcanoes.htm