Feel free to mock me, but I use 2 foot long fishing rods when fishing from a canoe. Here is why:
1. They are relatively cheap. This means both inexpensive and simple. A "Dock Defender" can be purchased at any Wal-Mart for less than $9.00, and comes with an adequate closed face spinning reel and some line. It is ready to go. When your daughter inexplicably drops it over the side, you have less reason to scream obscenities. When your wife slams the cargo door on it, you don't feel the need to file for divorce. You just swing by Wal-Mart and pick up some replacements. I have lures that cost more than $9.00.
2. They cast way farther than you think. I discovered the 2 foot pole when I took a small child fishing in the canoe. He had his 2 foot Shrek pole, I had a decent 5' pole. For paddling convenience, I would put the pole behind the stern seat where I was sitting. My son was too small to really cast, so I would cast and he would reel in. I quickly learned that the Shrek pole would cast a decent distance. Not as far as my pole, but almost. It was much easier to cast the small pole and then paddle to where I wanted to fish, than to reach behind me, grab my pole, cast etc. Soon I was just bringing the Shrek pole and not bothering with mine at all. If you want to fish a spot and can't quite cast far enough, take a stroke with the paddle, and your problem is solved.
3. It seems you can cast more accurately with a short fishing rod.
4. A short rod will fit in a 2.5 foot length of ABS conduit in front of you in the canoe. In white water I lash the conduit to the yoke. I can then yank it out like a sword, cast, reel, and replace it in seconds. I can fish rapids in this manner, even while canoeing through them. When the rod is stowed, it does not flop around, hook your gear, grapple passing tree limbs, puncture dry bags, or get knelled upon. It does not get in the way of switching the paddle to the other side either.
5. A short rod is less likely to smack you bowman or sternman in the head while casting. I have six kids. They are reckless. The canoes are often crowded. For me this is a big deal.
Obviously this won't replace your 3 wt. bamboo fly rod, but if fishing is a hobby rather than a reason to live, I really recommend trying a 2 foot rod with a closed face reel. I find I fish a lot more, and every one of my friends who have tried it so far have been converted after initially making unfortunate comments about my manhood/sexual orientation/etc. Stay away from the Barbie, Shrek, Spiderman poles. They tend not to last even one season. Find a Dock Defender, or sometimes I'll see a Shakespeare uglistick that short and just put a good but cheap Zebco reel on it. Unfortunately an open face reel does not work because the first line guide is too close to the reel seat, even if it has a huge guide. I would also recommend against an ice fishing pole. They are not made to cast, and do a pretty poor job compared to even a Dock Defender. Eagle Claw makes a 3' fiberglass rod that holds some promise too.