Michigan

Mitten or glove, Michigan, either works for fins.
Send those pics!

The Yellow dots indicate the State Record (lb-oz or 00.00 lb), the Red dots are other fin locations that have been revealed to us. They link to Topozone maps that get you in the neighborhood, if not to the exact spot. The Photos name the location the fins were caught (if known). Thanks to Dave D (Osama Bin Bowfin) for this idea.

August 2011, Spring Lake

BAGman,
This is a big Bowfin that was caught in Spring Lake in Ottawa County, Michigan on August 16, 2011, late afternoon. This fish was 31 inches and about 7 lbs. Caught on 10 lb. test and med spinning reel/rod. It was a great kiss and release!

We caught this fin at Petty's Bayou on Spring Lake this afternoon on a night crawler. This is the third Bowfin in a week!
Thanks
LisaK, 08/18/11




August 2011, Wampler's Lake

BAGman,
I want to give you a photo of the Bowfin I caught at Wamplers Lake in southeast Michigan. It was 3 lbs 4 oz 22 1/2" long. I did not know what it was when I got it in the boat. First one ever gave up a huge fight it was great. Hope to see this posted.
Thanks
Angleratwill, 08/16/11




July 2011, Cass Co Swamp

BAGman,
I caught my first bowfin on accident while fishing for b@$$ with a large buzzbait! I had hooked one earlier on a Heddon Torpedo but it snapped my line as I got it up to the canoe! I had no idea what it was until I looked it up online later that day. This one is about 20" long. He was caught in a swampy area in Cass County, MI.
Kaleb K, 07/18/11

July 17 was a hot and humid day in southern Michigan. I was with my son Kaleb at Belas lake in Cass County. I landed these 2 on a Heddon Torpedo and lost another. These were my first 2 bowfins! Jay K, 07/19/11







June 2011, Belleville Lake

We were fishing on Belleville lake, BELLEVILLE, MI on June 26,2011. All the sudden this large fish grabbed my black bettle spin, on 8 pound line, and now the fight begins. After about 10 minutes, we landed this strange looking fish. No idea what it is. Never even seen one, let alone catch one. We took pictures and threw it back in the lake. Didn't get weight or measurement of it.

Kevin P, 06/28/11







June 2011, Second Lake



Joe G, 06/09/11







August 2010, Tubbs Lake

BAGman,
I caught my first bowfin August 1 while fishing for bluegills with just a worm and a bobber down about 4' in weedy bottom lake. I had never seen the fish before. My wife called it a dogfish and said they weren't good eating--that they were bottom feeders. So I let it go after cutting my line--I couldn't get to where my hook was, and the teeth he had and the way he could clamp shut his jaws kept my fingers out of his mouth. He was caught at Tubbs Lake, Mecosta County, MI
Jim S, 08/09/10







July 2010, Lake St. Clair

BAGman,
I caught this 25 inch Bowfin in about 4-5 feet of water with a bright green walleye lure with a cast and retrieve method and 8lb test. It was caught in Bouvier Bay, MI about 30 yards from the seawall. I did not know what it was at first and after a minute or two we were able to net this large Bowfin. As soon as it was netted, it threw the hook. We saw that it had some teeth and we thought that it was a snakehead fish at first. We went home and looked up the two and found out that indeed this was a Bowfin. I have never caught one of these fish before and was wondering where the heck all the pan fish went to, I guess this is why the smaller fish quit biting. I had a great time catching this fish and hope to catch more.
Yanko R, 07/26/10







July 2010, Tawas Lake

BAGman,
Last evening July 17, 2010 at 9:15 pm on Tawas Lake I caught my first Bowfin. Had the thought that something big must be cruising the shallow weeds (about 30 inches deep) as the panfish suddenly stopped biting. I saw a ripple on the surface and cast my night crawler on a number 4 hook and 6 lb test line in the direction and sure enough an immediate hit. Took me quite a while to land this 5+ pound 23 inch Bowfin as she did not want to get near the boat. Once inside she threw the hook (actually straightened the hook) and bounced all over my 14 foot Mirrocraft aluminum boat. Later at home I took the pictures and then released her. Great experience with a big fish on a small lake just a mile from my home.
Craig B, 07/19/10







July 2010, Lake St Clair

BAGman,
This is that big bowfin that went more than all the way around a 5 Gallon bucket, caught by Sam Allen on July 3rd in Harsen's Island, Michigan. Sorry, no official measurements on anything but he was a tank for sure. Best fighting fish I have ever caught. Hopefully I can find some in WI.
Sam A, 07/12/10







June 2010, Private (Hiawatha Club, Engadine, UP)

BAGman,
A friend and I were looking at bluegills on their beds and his wife noticed a cloud of dark minnows hovering near shore. Underneath the minnows was a fairly large fish and the minnows were swarming all over it. My friend grabbed his rod and the fish really hammered it and we landed the fish. I took a few pictures as we did not recognize the species. I was very impressed with the bright neon color on the fish's belly and the spot on the tail. (see attached) This bowfin was caught in UP Michigan on 6-22-10.
Dave N, 06/24/10







May 2010, Chippewa Lake

BAGman,
Parker O' at age 7, May 2009, landed his first Dogfish, on Chippewa Lake (MI). Then Parker O' at age 8, May 2010, caught this 23-inch Dogfish in the exact same location! He's on a mission, he's landed 9 so far this spring, ranging from 21-24 inches. Four of them caught while in the paddle-boat! They sure put up a good fight, lots of fun for a kid! We'd love to see this posted on your website. It sure would be something for a kid to brag about!
Thanks,
Patty O', 05/27/10







March 2010, Barry Co

BAGman,
Caught spring 2009...Barry Co. Michigan
Thank you,
Matt V, 03/12/10






February 2010,Observations by Tony M

BAGman,
A lifelong angler (45+ years), and an avid amateur scientist (as is my wife!) I must share a few personal anecdotes about this endlessly fascinating fish.

First of all, my sincere compliments on your beautifully designed, extremely well-written and EXTREMELY well researched page! It is a joy to read, and a fount of knowledge for fishermen from novice to "old-timer".

I live and fish in Michigan. I was taught by the finest fisherman and conservationist I ever knew as a child - my father. But he was a product of his time (active as a fisherman from about 1929-1968). He always told us: "If you catch a dogfish," (their indigenous name in Michigan) "or a carp, always give it a 'frontier circumcision' before you drop it back in the water". Up until about 1980, I followed this advice. But continued reading and research brought me around to the current way of thinking - bowfin in their natural habitat are an important part of nature's way of game management, which is almost always better than man's own ideas. I practice catch and release with both species today, though if I ever catch an Asian bighead grass carp, I will destroy it (with the blessings of the Michigan DNR!)

I learned the greatest truth of bowfin early on - ounce for ounce they will outfight a smallmouth bass! As a game fish, they are game with a capitol "G". The rest are my own observations:

- Bowfins will strike virtually any artificial bait, and sometimes destroy it with their powerful death grip. But in my experience, this doesn't change the fact that live bait, or cut fish, is the most consistent way to catch them - at least here in Michigan.

- My single best hookup was a bowfin that I fought at boatside for over a minute and a half one summer morning five years ago on Houghton Lake in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. This 'fin was about 22" long, and girthed like a softball. But eventually, he wrapped around my live basket and broke off, taking my yellow fliptail jig/spinner combo and it's nice, fat leech with him - I hope he enjoyed it! I've lost count of the number of 1 1/2 - 2 lb. bowfin I've caught.

- The prehistoric nature of the fish - especially the four bony plates that make up the skull - are a source of endless fascination to me, and to my wife, a fourth grade science teacher. Fourth grades get very excited about living creatures that shared the same terrain with Tyrannosaurus Rex!

- Back in the sixties, it was repeated endlessly that the Michigan DNR had speared bowfin "over 30 pounds" through the ice. Today, I regard those stories as "embellished".

- I am the author of more than half the current Wikipedia article on Bowfin.

- The single area of disagreement I have with the material on your site regards the edibility of 'fins. I love fresh fish, and am willing to try anything for a palatable meal of them. But sorry - the bowfin is inherently hopeless! Just a personal opinion!

Again, my compliments on this excellent webpage!
Tony M, 02/11/10




November 2009, Belle River

BAGman,
I just found your site. I'm from Armada, MI near the Belle River. This river is full of carp and bowfin and is definitely worth a try. I don't know the average size of bowfin but I have found many in this river as long as my arm or longer. We get in the river just southeast of Memphis on a small dirt road called Kronner Rd.
Thank you,
Evan C, 11/19/09




September 2009, Gull Lake

BAGman,
I caught this huge dogfish at Gull Lake in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. It was estimated at ten to eleven pounds! I caught it b@$$ fishing stumps, using a 7 inch Yum Peanutbutter and Jelly Ribbontail worm. I'm mainly a tournament b@$$ fisherman, but had an awesome time landing this with my medium light action rod and 8 pound line. Hopefully this qualifies to be posted on your website.
Thank you,
Nate C, 09/28/09




September 2009, Houghton Lake

BAGman,
I caught two bowfin in MI near Houghton Lake. One was 25 inches, one 24 inches, both caught in the same place and both on minnows.
Joe, 09/15/09




September 2009, Algonquin Lake

BAGman,
I caught a 25inch 3.85 lb Bowfin on Sept 4th at about 5pm on Algonquin Lake (near Hastings, Michigan, using a live 2" bluegill on a single hook 4" under a bobber. It was about 40' off the southern shoreline. Tried to take a picture with the camera phone but it did not work. We then set it free for another day.
Taz K, 09/08/09




September 2009, Big Wabasis Lake

BAGman,
Caught 9/4 fishing at Big Wabasis Lake right off the primitive campsite fishing from the bank. 3 lbs 21 inches. I fouled my line and had to bring him in by hand! Got the line cuts to prove it!.Have a happy and Fruitful fishing Weekend! Sincerely,
Kim T 09/08/09







September 2009, St. Mary's Lake

BAGman,
Pics of a large bowfin skull we found at St Mary's Lake.
Bradley L 09/03/09







August 2009, Lake Mitchell

BAGman,
I caught this dogfish on Lake Mitchell in about 5 feet of water using a 7 inch bluegill as bait. She was 25 inches.
Lee, 08/07/09




August 2009, St. Clair Shores

BAGman,
I caught this bowfin back in May, 2009. 6.3 pounds. St Clair Shores, MI. I was fishing for b@$$, can't remember what I was using as a lure....
Larry, 08/04/09




August 2009, Sylvan Lake

BAGman,
I caught this 19" Bowfin from my dock in about 3' of water on Sylvan Lake in Waterford Michigan Sunday July 26, 2009 around 9:00pm. I saw the fish jump about 40' from where I was casting and got my Rapala lure right back out there and she hit it immediately. I assumed it was a nice size bass until I got it out of the water. I released it to keep growing. I didn't know anything about this fish until I found your website, Thanks for the info.
BLM, 08/04/09




July 2009, Wall Lake

BAGman,
My son Jim wanted to share this one with you. This is the largest one he's gotten and he had to battle him out the lilly pads to get him in the boat. There were a couple of moments there I thought Jim would be joining the fish in the lake. We snapped a quick picture and then put him back to grow bigger for next time.
Al F, 07/27/09




July 2009, Wampler's Lake

BAGman,
Here is a picture of a Bowfin I caught this past weekend (Saturday, July 18th, 2009) on Wamplers Lake in Irish Hills, Mi. I was using a 6 inch black rubber worm. I didn't weigh it or measure it, but it was decent size. This is the second bowfin I've caught, I hooked into one on Duck lake up by Traverse City a few years back. Fun fish to catch, they put up a great fight. Fish On!
Tim C, 07/21/09




July 2009, Loc'n Unknown

BAGman,
I had never heard of bowfin before. I caught this with my 3 year old son in a pond by our house near Grand Rapids, MI. We were fishing for anything that would bite a worm hanging from a bobber. Being 3, my boy is excited to catch even little bluegill. He was EXTREMELY excited to see me pull in this 17" bowfin, especially after seeing it fight the way it did. He did have to follow it up about a minute later with a catfish that was about the same length, but MUCH fatter.
I'm kind of ashamed that I'm holding it with a glove, but I didn't know what it was, and I couldn't pull it out by the line, considering a 6lb test line would have snapped before I even got the head out of the water. I saw the teeth and put the glove on.
Pete H, 07/06/09

A glove is acceptable and prudent. Bleeding EVERY time one lands a fin would certainly indicate a slow learner.



May 2009, Pointe Mouille (Lake Erie)

BAGman,
I had my 9 year old son with me on 9\23\09 doing some catfish and carp fishing. Fishing was a little slow with the doughballs I had made. I decided to put on a crawler. A couple of minutes in the water was all it took. I bagged this fish. Right away I knew what is was even though in 20+ years of fishing , I only seen one. My son said it was the scariest fish he had ever seen. We didnt have a tape measure or scale with us. Your guess is as good as mine on the size. I hope my son will remember this forever. Thank you for your time. Sorry about the bad pic. Cheap cell phone. Good luck to you all.
Ted H, 04/20/09




April 2009, Chippewa Lake

BAGman,
We hooked 5 nice Fins Saturday at Chippewa Lake near Big Rapids, Michigan. Looked like the males were looking around for some spawning grounds. Most were a mottled-brown color, almost like a brown trout. Here's a nice 27-incher the boys are working on. The year's off to a great start for sure!!
Ted H, 04/20/09




January 2009, Gull Lake

BAGman,
There are giant bowfins in Gull Lake, Gun Lake, and the Kalamazoo River. I usually make the top five in Master Angler awards when I try to fish bowfin. I fish them in warm back waters in April. They will even bite a hook with nothing on it if you put it in front of their mouth. During cold weather, go around any good bowfin lake and look for them. They won't even move. Drop a dead shiner or perch in front of them and the fight is on. They are strong fighters and match a pike for fight and jump way better. I have caught probably 10 bowfin over 10lbs from lakes in Barry County and 3 over 10.5lbs. The first picture is a 10lb bowfin catch and release in Feb 2008. The second picture is my biggest, a giant 11lbs, 32". It's wild big giant and was caught in late March when snow was still on ground.
Thanks,
Pickatt, 01/26/09




November 2008, Looking Glass River

BAGman,
I took the afternoon off work today and managed to catch a 20" bowfin, once again on a neon green jighead with a nightcrawler. This fish was a real lively one after I hooked her. Still lacking a net, I grabbed her with a glove on and successfully released her after the photos. We were also getting alot of action from some average-sized redear sunfish that most likely are in turn eaten by the bowfin. We measured this one and it was exactly 20 inches and our first female caught.
Thanks,
Mike S, 11/06/08






November 2008, Looking Glass River

BAGman,
Bowfin were totally unfamiliar to me six months ago but I've recently discovered the species to be worthwhile to catch and observe. A local baitshop here in Lansing, Michigan recommended a particular location after I asked them about a mounted bowfin in the store. The Looking Glass River between Bath and Laingsburg has a few spots that the fins thrive in and are common. We fish in a 12 foot aluminum boat and are able to access some god spots easily and quietly with the Minn Kota trolling motor.
After trying different types of crankbaits we decided to go to the more conventional method of using a worm on a jighead. About an hour after dark we got our first hit on a small collapsible rod designed to take camping and the bowfin had the pole bent and started swimming under the boat. Lacking a net, we failed to properly land the fin and he broke the line under the boat. We got a good look at him and I figured this one to be around 25" in length. For my first bowfin to have hooked it was pretty exciting. I've caught salmon over 20 lbs and that's what the bowfin felt like.
The next hit came on Ryan's larger pole again on a neon green jighead with a worm. This came in the exact location as the first hit and managed to get him in the boat. We did not measure the fish but estimate it at 20" in length. What a day to catch our first fins.
Thanks,
Mike S,Ryan B, 11/05/08






October 2008, Chippewa Lake

BAGman,
Nick H. caught a pair of big fins while fishing with cut bait during one hot summer night this summer at Chippewa Lake in Mecosta County (Michigan). These beauties were a bright green in color and were caught and released after they were finally landed.
Ted H, 10/28/08






September 2008, Lake Huron

BAGman,
I caught this 30.5", 10.5 lb Bowfin - they call 'em dogfish here - while doing some yellow perch (my favorite for the plate- though I prefer smallmouth bass when it comes to the fight) fishing on Lake Huron. I released the fish. I was using:
Light Tackle:
9' Med. - Light action Shimano steelhead rod
6 lb. test monofilament
#4 TruTurn panfish hook
Slip Bobber
I was bobber fishing 8" off the bottom with a 2-1/2" inch shiner. 11 am ET, 9-20-08 Water temp 60 degrees, East Wind 10-15 MPH, Air Temp 70 degrees, partly cloudy Perch weren't biting well but the pike were very active. Great fight!!! 1st bowfin I've ever caught. Thought it was going to take all my line! Master Angler qualifier in Michigan - 6lb and 27" is minimum for Master Angler in MI I believe 14 lb is MI record.
Rob B, 09/25/08




July 2008, Big Rapids

BAGman,
Here's a 2-foot fin caught near Big Rapids, Michigan earlier this summer. He put up a great fight and as you can see got himself caught up in the weeds. We're headed back out this weekend for another crack at a monster fin who has been toying with us!!
Ted H, 07/24/08




May 2008, Long Lake, Branch Co.

BAGman,
Hello fellow bowfin anglers. I caught this spawning colored bowfin at our lake in Michigan. It was 26 inches long and was caught on a live bluegill hooked with a treble hook. This is my first bowfin, but I hope its not my last, it put up an awesome fight, and was an amazing looking fish.
Nate D, 05/05/08




February 2008, Barnes Lake

BAGman,
Hi, my name is Greg and I live in North Branch MI. My father and I are both avid fin anglers. We first noticed them one night at my grandfather's house on Barnes Lake here in Lapeer County. My dad and I went down to the lake (which is pretty much his backyard), looking in the water with a flashlight. We noticed this odd looking fish sitting on the bottom in about a foot of water only three feet off the shore. We were dumbstruck as to what it was. My dad asked me to run to the shed and grab his medium action rod with 8lb test and a crawler. He put the worm on and hung it out in front of the fish. We watched it rise and take the bait, then all heck broke loose! He quickly wrenched it ashore and looking at it, we said simultaneously "What the heck is that?" We took in the house, put it in some water in the wash tub, took pictures of it, then let it go.

We e-mailed the pictures to the MI DNR asking what it was. They sent a reply saying it was called a bowfin. We were excited! Bowfin! After that, we got some heavy action rods and some 50lb Spiderwire and set off. We found this little honey hole and have been catching them ever since. The smallest one we have caught so far has been 26 inches, the largest being 29.75. We have been trying to beat the State Record ever since. In this lake, we have a monster of a fin. My dad and I have hooked this fish 4 different times and haven't been able to land him. We named him "Big Boy" because he is huge! The first time we hooked him he snapped (not bit through) a brand new 50lb steel leader! The 2nd time we got him to the boat before he did the same thing.

Michigan can grow them big, and I would like to join to prove it. I am a big fan of finnin' and have created many other fans of it. We all have one thing in common: we all think that the bowfin should get more recognition for its sportsfish-like fight.
Thank you for your time,
Greg L, 02/08/08



July 2007, Kalamazoo River

BAGman,
Here's a bowfin Hotspot! This particular spot on the map is located just downstream of the M-89 bridge where the pipeline crosses over the river. Access to this spot is available by traveling north on M-40 past the junction with M-89 until you reach 127th Ave. From there, turn left onto 127th Ave & go all the way to the end of the road & follow the trails back until you reach the pipline crossing on the river. There's a backwater/bay area on the river just upstream from the pipeline crossing about an 1/8th of a mile or so. If you love fishing for bowfin, this is gotta be one of the best spots in Michigan!
Thanks again Bagman, keep up the good work on OUR website.........it's great!
Jason F, 07/30/07



July 2007, Lake Saint Helen

BAGman,
FYI, I caught a nice bowfin this morning at Lake St. Helen in Michigan. Length was 18" or so, and it put up a good fight. Sorry, no pictures as I didn't have a camera with me. This was my second from this lake... the first was in the early 1970's.
David K, 07/30/07




July 2007, White Lake

BAGman,
I caught a 25" Bowfin in White Lake yesterday in some weed beds. I didn't have a clue what I had caught until I saw your website. I returned this fish into the lake. But before I did, when he was on the deck of my boat, he was mad!! Sorry, I didn't take any pictures.
Nathan B, 07/30/07




July 2007, Gravel Lake

BAGman,
My son Alex caught the attached bowfin this past weekend in Gravel Lake MI using a worm off the channel. Fish fought real well and we had to beach it so we didn't lose it. We weren't sure what it was until we found your site, but I can say that it was good eating.
J.MichaelB, 07/24/07




June 2007, Houghton Lake

BAGman,
Ok, so maybe this isn't exactly a one-in-a-million thing, but I think that what I found is somewhat rare, or at the very least I know it to be atypical. About a month ago, a group of fishermen were harvesting (I cannot think of a better term for what they were doing considering the absolute slaughter that they commited) bowfin and other fish at a local fishing hole up here in Houghton Lake, Michigan. When I went over to examine their catch, I noticed almost a dozen dead and half-dead bowfin lying in the grass around them. It was really a shame that these people felt it was better to kill these amazing animals rather than return them to the water. Long story short, I did manage to return a couple of the still living fish to the water, however, I cannot be sure if they actually survived their ordeal. But all is not lost! When I examined one of the dead fish a little more closely, I noticed that it had an interesting deformity of the lower jaw. It seems to me that what most likely happened is that this fish was hooked, or in some other way mutilated by another animal causing damage to the lower jaw- and the broken part of the mandible tried to heal itself. The injury itself looked rather old, so I am guessing that this fish had no real trouble feeding after the incident occured. Or perhaps it hatched with this deformity? I cannot be certain. However, I extracted the jaw and removed the flesh, and have attached a photograph of it.
JimP, 06/25/07




June 2007, Michigan Center Lake

BAGman,
Hi ! I just got one yesterday. It was 4 lbs and 22 and 1/2 inch long. I was fishing Michigan Center lake in Jackson County, MI. I used a big hook and some wax worms. There I seen a 2nd one after I landed the 1st one. It was the best fight I ever had. Once I got it in the boat it was pi$$Ed of. I would love to hook into another one just for the fight.
RalphS, 06/12/07




June 2007, Sanford Lake

BAGman,
My Husband caught a dog fish here in Michigan tonight. It was 22 inches long. No picture sorry. It was a male. It had the dot on the tail. And it was lime green on the under belly, must still be spawning. He caught it in Sanford Lake, Sanford, MI which is part of the Tittabawassee River. (Tid a ba wa see). Wanted to let you know that we have them here in Michigan. It is something we won't forget that's for sure.
Cindy R. 06/11/07




April 2007, Galien River

BAGman,
I was fishing the Galien River near Union Pier, MI, and I caught this 24 inch, 5 pound fin on a b@$$ minnow. It put up a good fight.
Jim P, 04/23/07




September 2006, Fletcher's Pond

Dear Bagman,
I just found your Bowfin Anglers Group website and wanted to be a part of it.

My father and I, along with a group of friends, take a week long fishing trip every year. We call ourselves "Camp Rotten" - basically because we're just a bunch of rotten fishermen. We have gone to northwestern Wisconsin the last 30 years and decided to try northern Michigan this year for a change of pace.

While on our trip every year we have a father/son tournament where you fish with a father that is not your own - heaviest basket wins - no more than 5 of any specie. This year my bowfin helped my partner and I bring home the hardware. Attached is the photo of the 7 lb 0 oz. bowfin I caught (and Doug landed) out of Fletchers Pond in Hillman Michigan. I have to say, that was a FUN fish to catch. When we got it in the boat, it was less than pleased to be caught - in fact, it was DURN MAD at us. Neither of us knew what kind of fish it was. It acted like a musky, but I knew it wasn't. It flailed and snapped like it wanted to eat us and the boat we were in. It took two pairs of pliers to get the hook out of its mouth. Like I said, we didn't know what species it was so when we went back to camp we checked with the resort owner. He told us that it was a bowfin. He said he calls it, "the lawyer fish" - because it preys on other fish and has no purpose for the lake (but I know that is NOT true!). As a catch and release kind of guy, I set mine free after the weigh in and some pictures. I have attached photos of me with the bowfin and a group picture of our crew. Hope you and all the other anglers out there enjoy.
John D, Indianapolis, IN , 09/01/06




July 2006, Big Rapids

Here we are in Big Rapids, Michigan with our official 4-wheel drive FinMobile..... We are the Pro Finners of Michigan. Nick, at left, has logged the biggest fin of the year in our state - a 31-inch, 10-pound female caught earlier this summer. We're ready to fire up the FinMobile for another quest to an area dam or hotspot. These buggers are getting awful smart though and seem to be harder to catch this summer than usual. We caught one this year on a piece of fatty steak, so we're willing to try anything.
TedH 07/28/06



July 2006, Wabascon Creek

This area has the biggest bowfins that I have ever seen. I grew up in this part of southern Michigan - about 10 miles north of Battle Creek, MI, in southern Barry county. I never knew what the normal average size was until a few years ago. I am not pulling your leg, I have seen bowfins in this area that are well over 50"! I have caught them over 40" and probably over 25lbs.

This whole area is connected by a creek system (it's called Wabascon Creek). It connects many different lakes and ponds in the area. However, most the lakes are on private property, but using the creek keeps you within the law (I checked into this many years ago). It takes some time and a canoe, but it is well worth it. This whole waterway system also flows into the Kalamazoo River, which flows into lake Michigan, so it is quite extensive.

This area also happens to have more water per square mile than almost any inland place on earth. There are also largemouth b@$$ over 8lbs, pike over 30lbs, and I have also caught bluegill and sunfish over 14". This is truly a fishermen's paradise.

Not many people have the ambition to paddle a canoe the 2-3 miles to get to some of the lakes, but I grew up doing just that, which I had a blast. I share this information with few people, but I think that you should know about the dogfish that live in these waters. I now live in east central Nevada, so I can't enjoy it any more, and I think that it is time to let somebody else enjoy it, since I can't. Most of it is within 7 miles of M37, and in between M37 & M66.
Sincerely,
John G, 07/21/06




July 2006, Pleasant Lake

I caught a 30" bowfin on this lake a few years back. This lake has plenty of dogfish!!
DaveS, 07/20/06




June 2006, Big Rapids

Nick H. caught this giant female while fishing with cut-bait in Mecosta County (Michigan) in early June. She weighed over 10 pounds and measured 31-inches long....quite a catch for our first Fin of the season. Nick won a prestigious Master Angler Award from the State of Michigan last summer for his 28-inch catch, so this beauty could turn out to be one of the biggest catches in the state this summer when all is said and done.
TedH 06/22/06



December 2005, Big Rapids

Hello from Big Rapids, Michigan. Now that we are out of season for finnin', we have turned our attention to documenting our great catches. Attached is a skull we extracted from an 8-pound fin caught in our local waters. After seeing this, folks around here are afraid to go into the water!
TedH 12/16/05



May 2005, Big Rapids

We waited all winter for this and it was a long winter! Here is our first Fin of the season - and a good one at that, caught here in Big Rapids, Michigan. Nick H. is comparing this 8-pound, 28-inch Fin to a 15-inch b@$$ he also caught - as you can see there's no comparison. This "dogfish" as they're known in these part attacked at dusk like a shark. Twice we had Fins attack and escape, but Nick finally landed this one by setting the hook in the side of the mouth. We use fresh cutbait (sunfish) and usually don't see any real action until the sun sets and the waters calm.
Ted H., Big Rapids, Michigan 05/28/05

OK, which would you rather hook in to? Yup, that's why I became a Bowfin Angler. Note that is not a recommended grip on the fin. When he thrashes again, Nick will be carrying the Mark Of The Bowfin on his face!




August 2004, Big Rapids

Here is our big catch of the summer - a 7-pound fin that measured 28-inches. Nick H. of Big Rapids, Michigan made the catch of this rascal we called Earl. We tried all summer to catch him and he finally stopped out-smarting us with his darting and jumping. After our photo shoot, we let this fish go free because we have a great respect for this ancient breed. There are some great hot spots for fins here in Big Rapids. And take a look at this fish smile at the camera.. . .he just had a nice lunch of sliced sunfish before the catch.
Thanks, Ted H.
(the guy who got this whopper in the landing net). 08/04

August 2004, Loc'n Unknown

Being born and raised in Florida I had many chance hook ups with mudfish and once, as a teenager, while wading Lake Kissimmee had one grab a hold of my ankle and thrash about for a few seconds. I fortunately had an old pair of high top tennis shoes on and incurred no damage (other than being a bit shaken up.) However, I hadn't realized their range extended north into Michigan. I saw one lazing along a few weeks ago and was surprised by the revelation. The following week my kids and I were killing time until dinner out in front of the cabin. I spied what I thought was a "lake record sized" large mouth in the shallow, rain stained water. I flipped my Zara Puppy about 10 feet from the boat. A twitch or two later and the fight was on. I fish mostly with ultralights up here and after a vigorous tussle had the mudfish boatside. Well...... I don't carry a net either, luckily the 4 lb. test held up, and I had to flip the approximately 24" bowfin into the boat. My kids, saucer eyed, couldn't get far enough into the bow to satiate their fear, but did manage to take the attached photo......
Dennis H 08/03/04




July 2004, Silver Lake

I caught this one in June in Silver Lake Michigan at about 9 in the evening with a nightcrawler. He was in about 4 feet of water waiting for a perch or sunfish to get within striking distance. Luckily, those little ones left my worm alone long enough for it to sink down to this guy. What a fighter!
Tim B 07/22/04




June 2004, Big Rapids

Hey, my son and I love this web site. We are big dogfish fisherman here in Northern Michigan. Please consider posting this on the site! Pictured are a couple of happy 10-year olds. The bowfin is shown with a 14-in. large mouth bass to give you an idea of its size. It was caught below a dam here in BIG RAPIDS, Michigan.
Thanks, Ted H.

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