With a Cabelas rod you can't really go wrong. Did you buy a kit (rod, reel, line,backing) or just a rod? I have a 2pc.7'6" 3 wt. cabelas Clear Creek rod. LOVE IT.... I bought the rod early this spring and I have all ready caught 100's of gills on it. Also, about 100 trout, one of which was 24 inches long and probably 4.5 lbs., I also have caught many bass.
If you have some trouble getting the casting down with it, there is a simple trick to try. It is called overlining the rod. I did this when I bought my 3wt. You can put 4wt. or even 5wt. line on the reel. It makes the rod load quicker and helps you get a better FEEL for the rod. When you get used to it, change the line back to the 3 wt. and fish all day.
I also have several other rods. I have 3- 5wt. and 1- 7wt. rods. I like them all and I do use them all, however, when I'm just running out the door for some quick fishing in the farm ponds around my home, I think the 3wt. is definately the one I grab the most.
Good luck and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
3wt is perfect for panfish. However, in my area, at least, where there are panfish, there are also LMB, and I find the 3 a little light for some of those bass. I prefer a 5wt, simply because it can handle almost any bass I'm likely to encounter, yet still yields a little to the big 'gills. I just got back from a trip to a lake in the Texas Highland Lakes region, where I was catching bream ('gills, longears, & red ears) in the 8-10" range on my 5wt. FUN!
Congrats on your purchase, Sarah! And there's nothing wrong with fishing from a canoe (I just prefer a yak - they're a little easier to deal with for an old man). As far as fishing deep, just use a sinking line. That'll get the flies down there to the fish. Good luck.