Flower Lake near Tunica, MS is quite possibly the best lake in this state to find and catch bowfin or grennel as
we call 'em. The lake is a shallow oxbow and is ringed with old cyprus and tupelo. Two other lakes within a few miles of Flower, Tunica lake which is connected to the MS river is chock full of gar (something for the GASS boys)
as is Moon lake, another oxbow a few miles down the highway. You'll score more bowfin on Moon by heading down the Yazoo River, a small river connected to the lake. Look for a stagnant pool and throw something that resembles
anything in nature. They'll hit it!
These pictures are a few years old but it hasn't changed much. The one with the duckweed is my favorite but it's a little out of focus. There is an otter setting on the point in the "borrowpits" image. The Gateway is a
small cutout leading from Flower lake to a series of borrowpits from which
the soil was excavated to make the levee. It's well hidden, my boat is
pointed at it in "headn out" and again in "scumfrog heaven".
Last time I was there the launch fee was around $6 The ramp is gravel but
is in good shape. No cell phone signal in that area and you're miles from
anywhere (including a restroom) so be prepared!
Your website has really improved since I last visited. I'm a fisheries
researcher and lifelong multispecies angler. My recent work on southern
Mississippi river systems revealed an easily accessibly bowfin hotspot at
Parker's Lake at Lower Pascagoula Wildlife Management Area headquarters.
This lake is loaded with bowfin in the 5 to 7 pound range.
I don't have photos, as I haven't had a chance to fish there with hook and
line yet, but I promise that anyone who knows a bit about catching bowfin
could have a banner day at Parker's.
Also, here is a paper I didn't see on your Science page. The Minnesota DNR
had an interesting idea regarding use of bowfin to control stunted panfish,
but it didn't work as well as they hoped.
Dan O, 01/30/07
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Mississippi State University
I grew up catching bowfin in Northeast Mississippi on the many sloughs of the Tombigbee River. I now live in Auburn, AL and still target the Bowfin and Gar here. Every Summer I take trips back to the Tombigbee to fish with an old friend. Here are a few pictures of the Bowfin we caught onthe weekend of 7/28/06. One was 28 inches long and weighed 8lbs on some old spring scales. We saw her chasing baitfish and slowly moved in. I tossed a white skirted Buzz King top water spinner past where she had last been seenand cranked it towards her. She chased after it, tearing up the water like crazy. Somehow I kept my cool and didn't react to all the action until she finally had hold of the lure. It was a great fight and involved a few tieups in the flooded timber but my Spiderwire held up. We weighed and measured her, thanked her for the fight, and then let her go for anotherday. I was just as excited during this catch as I was 25 years ago when I first started targeting these awesome fish. If you want a Hot Spot, just mark the entire Tombigbee River Bottom in Itawamba County, Mississippi.
Jason P, 08/01/06
Awesome site! I really appreciate what you've done, and are doing to
promote one of the most misunderstood fish. I'm, of course, a big 'fin
fan. The attached picture was my first 'fin of 2005. A little
background info, if you care. I caught him (her?) on a jug, with
good-ol chicken liver. It was 5 November. I had just bought a house on
Tibbee creek, Lowndes co. Mississippi, so I got a late start on my
fishing. I didn't have my scale with me, but I estimated this fin to be
around 10 pounds, if not better. I now badly wish that I would have
gotten some measurements. My balled up fist could have easily fit into
its mouth (not surprising, my fist could probably fit into a much
smaller fin's mouth.) This fin wouldn't even come close to fitting into
my 48 qt. ice chest, while I tried to free it from the hook. I've since
learned that the MS state record bowfin is 18 pounds. Tibbee is rife
with 'fins...and so now I've got a huge obsession to find the MS state
record. I'll keep my camera (and measuring gear!) with me to document
the search. I'm sure I'll keep you guys posted. I really enjoy the
site. Keep up the good work, and happy finnin' to ya.