This was a second bowfin I've landed. The first one was 7lbs, the one on the picture is 10.5 lbs. Both caught on Georgian Bay, Ontario, near 12 Mile Bay. I have to say - what an incredible fish to land :) The first fish marked my anniversary of exactly one year into fishing.
11 lb Bowfin caught in the Naiscoot River, near Pointe Au Baril,
Ontario Canada, July 2011 by Garry M.
I had no idea what I had on the end of my line until a park ranger from Grundy Lake Provincial park told me. I caught this 8 lb beauty across from Grundy Lake on Hwy 522 by an old boyscout camp. I was beside a dock and was using a worm and bobber. I have to admit that Im not an avid fisherman but this really excited me. It was around 8pm on Thursday August 18th 2011.
This sighting comes with a good fish story, too. This monster was prowling my favourite perch spot. I had anchored and been there about 15-20 minutes (enough time to have 4 good sized perch on my stringer) when it showed up. Seemed very interested in the underside of my boat (or so I thought). I continued fishing and it was on this pass that I decided to pull out the phone and snap a couple of pictures. It was also on this pass that this monster decided he wanted one of the perch on my stringer more than I did, so it tore the perch clean off it. I added the perch picture for reference, as the bowfin was able to put it's mouth completely around the perch body.
In the pics, it's about 2-3 feet away from the boat.
I caught this bowfin on Canal Lake, up by Kirkfield east of Lake Simcoe, Ontario off a dock on the north west end of the lake at night using a float and large Minnow no scale but an estimated 8 lbs.
I saw your site and thought I would send you picture of recent catch (2011) This fish was caught outside Montreal, in the western portion of Lake St-Louis on the St-Lawrence river....the weight was 13 pounds 8 ounces.
Ari V, 06/17/11
Results from the 25th Annual Rotary International Bowfin Fish Derby held in Seeley's Bay,
Ontario, May 26-28.
1. Chris J -- 10.1 lbs., 30 1/2 "
2. Shane W -- 9.7 lbs., 30 "
3. Barry R -- 9.13 lbs., 29 3/4 "
4. Ryan M -- 6.64 lbs., 26 "
One pair of fisherman weighed in 23 fins in one day !! Here are a couple pictures, I don't know the names of the people pictured. One picture is a "photo of a photo" I took inside the tackle shop. Most of the contestants are from central NJ, although the contest is open to everyone.
Paul F, Yardville, NJ, 05/31/11
Here are two recent bowfin catches in Dollars Lake, Ontario. One was about 7 lbs. and the other 8.5 lbs. Excellent fighters, both safely released. Caught one not too far from here last year as well. One was caught on a Gulp minnow and the other on a night crawler. I enjoyed your website very much. Lots of useful information about this interesting species.
Here is a pic of my wife Pauline who caught the bowfin, my brother Milton who netted the bowfin for her and of course, her bowfin. It was caught from Milton's boat which was tied to the dock. Pauline was practicing casting when the bowfin
hit her lure. It put up quite a fight and made some fantastic jumps. I don't know what it's weight was or how long it was because we only kept it out of the water long enough to take a couple of quick photos. This is in B@$$ Cove, part of the Bay of Quinte just north of the Glenora Ferry, in Ontario, Canada.
Don R, 06/07/10
I just returned from our annual fishing trip up north in Seeley's Bay, Ontario, Canada. My cousin, I, and a lot of others in the South Jersey area have been going up there for Memorial Day annually since 1967. This makes our 44th year. Since 1967 we have had a Northern Pike fishing contest. In 1987 we started a Bowfin contest. We are the contest I saw someone else refer to on your site. Bowfin only started appearing in the canal system around Seeley's Bay around 1980. Since then they seem to have become more numerous every year. Now we have many fisherman who fish for Bowfin exclusively !!
This year the winner was Chris J of Bedminster, NJ, with a bowfin of 11.68 pounds. This is the 13th time Chris has won the contest. His best was a 13.14 pound monster caught in 1987. This was a Canadian record at the time; I'm not sure if it still stands. Most of the top Bowfin fisherman employ a method they call "sight fishing." Using a trolling motor, they slowly go through the coves while standing up, When they spot one, they toss a dead minnow right in front of him. Often this produces a hit. We have also caught some big ones by bobber fishing in the middle of the lakes. Once again, minnows
are the preferred bait.
The pictured gentleman is my cousin, Stacy S, of Pemberton, NJ, with a 6.27 pound Bowfin, good for 5th place. The solo fin is my cousin Jake S's (of Ship Bottom, NJ) Bowfin, which was 7.34 pounds, good for 4th place.
Paul F, Yardville, NJ, 06/03/10
I just stumbled across your site. Throw a boat in the water around 5:00am or so anywhere in Port McNicoll (on Georgian bay), and you will catch 'em. For years and years we actually got almost annoyed with the amount we were catching. The bay is loaded with rock b@$$, and I would pull in 1 bowfin for every two or three rock b@$$.
I just caught my first bowfin last weekend did a little bit of searching on the internet and found your website. I thought that I'd send you the spot, just in case there are some other fishermen in the area who'd like to know a spot. It was on Gananoque Lake in Eastern Ontario.
Every year we, a group of about 20 guys, get together for a weekend fishing tournament. This year it was held at Gananoque Lake in eastern Ontario. All was as usual until about 6:30 am when my line felt like it had been hit by a freight train. After the most intense battle with a fish that I ever had, we were able to net what can only be described as a monster. I had no idea what I had just pulled in, after a few stings of random profanity, I realized that my lure was deep in the maw of the beast. Unfortunately I had for got my pliers back at the docks, and not wanting to put my hand in it's mouth to get the lure, we motored back to the shore. When we reached the dock we we're greeted by some of the other fishermen, all were taken aback by what they saw. Only one knew what the fish was called... A Bowfin. I had heard of it before but had thought it was a bottom feeder like a carp or catfish. I never knew what kind of fish it really was. After a few minutes of fighting with the fish to get lure back, I noticed that my brand new Mepps spinner was bent at a 90 degree angle, cementing my hesitation of putting my hand in it's mouth. We then weight and measured it, the results were 9 lbs. and 32 inchs long. Unsure of how, if at all possible, to cook it, we decided to release it. I was kind of worried that it had been out of the water too long, but the second it hit the lake it was off to lurk in the weeds once again. Needless to say it was the winning fish. When I got home from the trip I decided to do a little searching on the internet and found this website and thought that you guys might enjoy my story. Now I'm a Bowfin convert and can't wait for my next battle with this amazing fish.
Great website you've got, hope you keep up the good work
Rory L, 06/09/09
This bowfin was caught at the Wye River in Midland, measured 27". Caught on a live pumpkinseed, on 12lb Trilene XT. A possible Canadian Record lives in the river for sure.
I caught this bowfin at the mouth of the Wye River and Georgian Bay in my hometown of Midland Ontario. It was cold Mothers Day morning and I was slow retrieving a large sucker minnow from shore looking for pike when he hit hard. Anyway, saw your site and thought you might enjoy the pic. I didn't have a scale and figured it around 30+". Any idea how much she weighed?
Cheers from the North.
Greg S, 05/12/09
I was browsing throught the internet after my son caught an unusual fish today. As no one in my fishing group had ever seen a fish like this before I decided to go the internet to try to find out what species it was. We had asked another group of fisherman who happened by our location if they knew what it was and they said it could be a dogfish. Anyway, it looked exactly like the pictures of a bowfin found on the net. If you wish to log the location it was in a Township park (Farran Park) located in a small town west of Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. The fish was caught in the St Lawrence River and released back into the water. Thanks for having a web site where I could satisfy my curiosity over this unusual fish.
Bill B, 04/27/09
I caught this bowfin just about 15 ft from shore. I was fishing in my longboat still tied to the dock.
I was on Lac Champlain near Clarenville, just before sunrise on June 30.
These are the only pictures I got from that masterpiece. Sorry for the tongue out, it was kind of early.
Julien P, 01/24/08
I go to our family cottage on the Severn River in Ontario. We see many different fish when boating, but we do 80 % of our fishing right off the dock. There are lots of weeds and zebra mussels there that seem to attract fish like catfish, pike, and just last year for the 1st time on the river, a bowfin. We actually thought it was a ling fish but discovered that although the 2 are very similiar our fish only had the long fin on the top, where a ling has a fin on the top and bottom. This fish has been the best fight we have ever had and we spent a year trying to catch it. It returned again this year, only to break fishing rods, take my leader, and on many occasions give me a big, big, fight and then just take the bait or spit it out. I have become obsessed with this fish and I have to say it has such a presence when it appears under the water that I can hardly catch my breath. One night, we had a full moon and the river was just lit up and here that fish was hanging around the dock. It looked like a shark just circling for its prey. My fish was 11 1/2 pounds and 29 inches long. This year we have seen 2 others, one half the size and one a bit smaller, around the spring probably when breeding. My brother is shown with one of the smaller bowfin.
Lisa G, 08/20/07
I love your site and I'm a recent convert to this super fun fish. I caught this one in a little bedroom community outside the city of Winsor, Ontario named Lasalle. I saw this fish under a set of docks, pitched it a 4 inch Yum Dinger and landed her in about 5 minutes. She measured 26 inches and weighed betwwen 6 to 7 pounds based on the provided table. Please keep up the great work.
Jacob W, 07/16/07
Hi there, Don R again (I sent you several pics of bowfin 2 years ago). Today, I'm sending you a pic of my wife Pauline's first bowfin. She caught it on a straight hook and a worm while fishing for perch at our trailer at Hay Bay, Ontario, Canada. It put up a good fight and she is very proud of getting it. We released it unharmed right after this pic was snapped.
Take care and good finnin',
Don R, 06/09/06
A very nice and useful site!
I was fishing last Friday in Ontario, just north of Orillia and I was hoping to catch a pike or b@$$ when I caught this big fish which my buddy, a rather experienced fisher, could not identify.
Luckily, there were some other fishing enthusiasts around in a boat and told us it was a dogfish. Since we had no idea what kind of fish it was and since we were told it was not edible, we let it go. I'm glad I found your site, at least I know (much) more about the fish I caught and I also regret a little I didn't keep it, as it seems it's not only edible, but even tasty... well, there is always a next time!
By the way, when years back I caught my first garpike and had NO IDEA what it was, it took me a considerable length of time to find out more about this fish... but it was in the ancient, pre-Internet era, of course!
Good luck this summer!
Jack, Mississauga, Ontario, 05/22/06
with a a nice 14 pounder, and a pic of an almost pitch
black female from Seely's Bay, Ontario.
Just wanted to say hello and thank you for such a wonderful site. I
have been a Bowfin angler for about 25 years, since I caught my first
one when I was 9 yrs old. My family has traveled to a lake in
southeastern Ontario since long before I was born. The lake is part of
the Rideau Canal system. (A waterway that connects Ottawa with Lake
Ontario.) The nearest town to the part of the lake I mostly fish is a
town called Seeley's Bay. I highly recommend anyone that fishes for
bowfin to venture up here if they ever have the opportunity to. It is a
Bowfin heaven and produces record bowfin almost yearly. (I used to have
the Ontario record with a 14 lb 6 oz beauty that I caught a few years
back, but my brother has since beaten that with a 15 lb 1 oz.)
My fishing partner and I just got back from a weekend trip up there over Memorial Day. One of the Marina's up there has an annual
Again, fantastic job on the site!!!! I can't wait until
I get some free time to look through all of the pages.
Chris J 06/03/05
first bowfin!! Caught it on a Jointed Perch
Rapala in Waubaushene, Ontario on Georgian Bay 6/23/05. I observed it
following a patch of what I thought were weeds about about 30 feet out
from shore. After landing it, I noticed the clump of "weeds" had
followed it inshore. It turns out it was actually a ball of larvae!
After a quick picture I returned him to his family...Absolutely
beautiful colors! Wish the picture was better, they are slippery little
I live in Ontario, up here in Canada. On advice from a friend
for some good pike fishing I tried a river near Sarnia Ontario, which
is minutes from the U.S. border. The river I believe is called the
Ausable river. Anyways the pike fishing was good. Fishing with my
woman, I decided to put a piece of bait fish on a hook and drop it over
the side of the canoe while the woman continued to fish for pike. We
had our fill of fishing and so I started to retrieve my line with the
bait fish on and thought I was snagged. I was using 12lb fireline, and
continued to crank in the line. I'll tell you it was tough. Then the
line started going out, so I knew I had a fish. After about five
minutes of fighting we bring up this huge clump of weeds and in that
was this strange fish with a red-orange eye on its tail and long dorsal
fin. It had very bright green on its underside, we knew we caught
something unique. With camara in hand we took turns poising with it and
then weighed it -7lbs- and put it in the bottom of the canoe. When we
finally pulled the canoe out of the water we decided to let the fish
go, as we never saw anything like it and thought it was rare, and did
want want to have it die for the sake of showing some people.
After searching the Internet for a few days we found out the
fish was called a dog fish up here, more correctly though, a bowfin.
Being it was a 3 hour drive to this spot from where we live we didn't
return for about a month. Evening fishing this time, with a few pike
and bass and lots of catfish and one snaping turtle, [can you believe
it]... I caught another bowfin, and again on a piece of bait fish. It
was larger than the first one but not as impressive in color. It did
however give a much greater fight and was quite a thrill to finally
land it. Again, I thought I had a big pike on. Anyways thats my
experience with the bowfin, and fishing for 35 years its one of my more
Hi again Chuck. Guess what, we went out fishing again today
and I landed this small one. I had 2 others played in to shore and the
hook pull out of both. One of them was about the same size as this one
but the other was huge. A while later a fish of unknown species sawed
through my 12 lb test line like it was nothing. We don't just fish for
bowfins, we catch and keep yellow and white perch, rock bass, large
mouth bass and the occasional walleye and pike.
Take care and good finnin'.
son-in-law, Sean Q. and I were doing some
fishing today at my favorite spot in Hay Bay and I got another nice
bowfin. It weighed 7 1/4 lbs. on my new fish scale.
my name is Don R and the following pics are of the two
bowfins I caught on Sunday, July 25, 2004 in Hay Bay, Ontario, Canada.
I was using whole dead gobies around 4 inches long as bait. I used my
bait casting rig and had a bobber about 3 feet above the bait. The bait
was cast out into a weed bed 10 to 12 feet from shore and left alone
till a bowfin took it. They do put up a terrific fight and I released
both of them as soon as my wife took some pics. Since I don't have any
scales, I'm not sure how much they weighed. As a length reference, I'm
5' 9" tall.