It is so fun to have real moving water, in a long and reliable way. It's a good challenge to try to place the canoe right in the part of the channel where the water is moving most quickly, to get the greatest push. It's an exercise in some anti-linear thinking, really. Often, on a river, the fastest way to get somewhere is not a straight line, it is to follow the longer but faster outside curve of the river, where the current is strong. Cutting an inside corner might be the "short" way, but you run into water that stops you dead, sometimes even pushing you into shore. Better to stay in the moving stream, even if it looks like the long way around.
There are signs that you can follow, to find that path. Bubbles, sometimes, from something like a sweeping tree or log, or some other impediment to the flow. And sometimes it's the fluff from cottonwood trees and other wind-seeding plants. A little ribbon of white, leading the way, showing where the water moves.