Minnesota - 10,000 Lakes. Are there fins in all of them? Let us know!
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.

September 2011, Big Sandy Lake

Thought you might like this video of a bowfin fight Big Sandy Lake, MN Aitkin, County. Fisherman is my friend Mitch B, other angler is my brother Jack P. Classic disrespect for this ancient fighter -
Paul P, 09/28/11

August 2011, Lake Minnetonka

I came across your site in my search for more information on Bowfin after a catch. I'll share my story and pictures; hope you find a way to put me on your site!

In early June I decided to check out a creek that a buddy and I used to fish when we were little kids. It is a small stream that runs into Lake Minnetonka in Orono, MN but portions of the creek only have running water from ice melt to late June. The first few times we went we caught a couple nice sized carp, some small b@$$ and a ton of bullheads. But I recall spotting a larger fish with a yellow ring on its tail and mentioned to my buddy that there are definitely some monsters in this creek. The 3rd or 4th time we tried our new spot I noticed a floating fish that was being held up by a fallen tree. I pulled the dead fish (a good 20 inches, 5 or 6 pounds) out of the water and had no idea what it was, but noticed the yellow ring on it's tail along with the solid green fins and body. My first idea was that it was some form of a Snakehead due to the coloration and body shape. I took a picture of the fish, and after a little research, figured out that this creek has some nice sized Bowfin.

We continued to return to this spot for a few weeks in hopes of landing a bowfin. We had some luck with other species, but no more bowfin. As the summer wore on, we moved onto more Northern Pike and b@$$ fishing on the lakes in the Metro area. But, just this week I returned to the creek; this time a mile or so closer to the mouth and Lake Minnetonka. I had one line out with a Spro Frog in hopes of landing a b@$$ or Bowfin, and another line in the water with a large nightcrawler. After landing a few Bullheads and Sunfish, I figured I would try another spot. But as I was reeling in the Spro Frog, my other line began to buzz. And after a very entertaining 5-7 minute fight, I landed my first Bowfin! She measured out to 28.5 inches long. I wasn't able to weigh the fish, but after reading the measurement chart and feeling the fish, I would estimate that she weighed betweeen 7.5-9 pounds. I returned the Bowfin to creek after taking it home for measurements. It swam off immediately and unharmed.

I really enjoyed catching my first bowfin and hope to catch a few more this summer in the Minneapolis Metro area!
KevinM, 08/04/11

July 2011, Minnehaha Creek

I've always wanted to catch a Bowfin, but I never did anything about it until this year. At the beginning of this fishing season I decided I wanted to catch as many new fish species as possible. I also set a more important, specific goal: to catch a Bowfin. I researched where I could find them, their behavior, and everything I could find. My search led me to many new places I've never fished before. All of these without luck. The place that finally did it was somewhere I went to fish for White B@$$ and Smallies, the confluence of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi.
When I was there (looking for b@$$), I glanced into shallows and saw a HUGE Bowfin! But there was more than just one. There were at least 5 or 6 good size fins swimming around in an area of Minnehaha Creek about a 100 yards up from it's mouth where there is a fairly large, 1 foot deep area with no current. I tried different things for a few hours, but I couldn't get a decent hit on anything. That's not to say I got NO hits. At one point I was casting worms right in front of 'em. The evil little buggers would take the bait and hold on for dear life until they came near shore, which is when they would do this "death roll" thing and got of the hook.
The next day, I stopped by even though I only had 40 minutes to fish. The water level was down a bit, so the area with no current was too shallow to hold any fish. I didn't give up though. I casted a night crawler hooked just like a plastic worm (on a jig head) into an eddy and used a slowish retrieve. On the first cast, I got a fish , but it was a only a Sheepshead...gross. Reaching the end of my time limit, another fish hit. This one hit very subtly. At the first glimpse of the fish....I couldn't believe it..a Bowfin! (and a decent size too). It started doing it's death roll on the shore, but luckily, it was well hooked, and I had a net. However, even with that going for me, I still had to get in the thick of the mud I was avoiding all day. It was worth it. I caught my first ever Bowfin. I measured it at 25 inches exactly. Wish I had a scale... Thanks to a random passerby named Lisa, I was able to get a great picture!
Luke B, 07/15/11

August 2010, Twin Lakes

I caught this last night (08/29/10) at Twin Lakes in Nowthen, MN. I used a night crawler. It was at about 7:30 pm and the water was very calm. I am guessing it weighted about 4 pounds. I had no clue what it was until after I threw it back and showed pictures of it to a friend.
Mandi W , 08/30/10

June 2010, Upper Hay Lake

This is my daughter's first fin. Great fight in the weeds on a Leech. She wanted to hold the fin without the scale but when the teeth nicked her, she got a little spooked. The fish released just fine.
Long live the Fin!
ElsieG and Dad , 06/22/10

June 2010, Loc'n Unknown

Here's a little one.
Bee K, 06/04/10

September 2009, Swan Lake

Hi Bagman,
I caught my first Dogfish this morning in Swan Lake near Pengilly, MN. I didn't have any idea what it was or that it was even in our lake. It was on the south end of the lake with a black jig and shiner. It measured 26.5 inches and weighed about 6.5 lbs. I've been fishing this lake for about 7 years and this is a first! elson
Don N, 09/08/09

August 2009, Scandinavian Lake

Hi Bagman,
Take a look at this beautiful Bowfin. I caught him at my lake cabin in Minnesota, on Lake Scandinavian in Pope County. I was using a white spinner (my fav) while b@$$ fishing in the evening around 8 or 8:30pm in shallow water. I was fishing from my dock casting in shallow water back behind me. She hit hard in about 1.5' water. She destroyed my spinner as usual. This is the 5th one I've caught at this lake.
Michael I, 08/10/09

July 2009, Chisago Chain of Lakes

Hi Bagman,
Some recent catches. The Fish were all caught out of the Chisago Chain of Lakes, not to be specific but there are roughly 10 lakes around there. The picture of me in the plaid shorts was just under 8 LBS the one next to it was 7 LBS and the one that was taken at night thats mostly black was 8 LBS 15 oz. It was not my biggest to date, but I lost the files and pictures of the other ones. I practice CPR - all get returned. We have an abundent amount of walleye in our private lake, so I don't eat doggies just eyes. Thanks, I'm now a member and I will keep you posted on all my catches.
Nicholas F, 07/15/09

July 2009, Sauk Lake

Hi Bagman,
Bowfin caught on Sauk Lake in Sauk Centre, Minnesota on July 3rd. Caught when early morning casting under a dock. Measured 23 1/2" and weighed 5-6lbs. Put up a good fight and left water twice.
Jason P, 07/07/09

July 2009, Roberds Lake

Hi Bagman,
I have only caught 2 personally but have heard of others being caught. Each about 2 feet long. My dad and I were catching a few walleyes for supper when the first fin bit. It was a great fish to tangle with. The second one was last weekend while we were fishing for sunnies off the dock. Light tackle and 4lb test line!!!! It was 27 inches and put up a great fight. We actually saw it before it took the bait (straight hook and worm). I will see if can get the picture to you also. Thank you for the site. You have another fan of the fin.
Take care,
Glen A, 07/02/09

June 2009, Leech Lake

Hi Bagman,
Greetings from Leech Lake! I have some pictures of my first bowfin in years. Caught on the 15th of June. Turned out to be a beautiful male that I caught off the dock using a small jig with a shiner tail. I love being able to fish something that's been in exsistence for over 150 million years. Since then caught two female fish and another male off the same dock.
I work up at resort here and I had the chance to talk some of our guests who saw me catch my fin and gave them a pretty good lecture on "America's Toughest Sportfish For 100,000,000 Years!©".
I'm spreading the word every chance I get and even have your web address posted on my Facebook profile with my pictures. I hope you like them. You have a great site that I visit regularly. It sure has given me a lot of information that I've been spreading around.
Ryan H, 06/30/09

May 2009, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
Some of my recent fins.
Tight lines!
MN Finner, JakeD, 05/05/09

March 2009, St. Croix River

There is actually a new MN state record bowfin as of last fall. It was caught somewhere in the St. Croix and there was an article in the Outdoor News about it with a pic. It was 11 pounds, four ounces. This is the article with a picture out of the Minnesota Outdoor News, November 2008.
Daniel S, 003/04/09

Dave H - if you see this, drop me a line. We'd love to see more and better pics! BAGman

February 2009, Lake Mary (Little Mary)

Hi Bagman,
Michael's first bowfin! A gorgeous 6 lb male and through the ice! I am jealous!!!! I have yet to catch a bowfin through the ice! He was fishing the Little Mary extension of Lake Mary, where the State Record was caught, but it is actually considered another lake.

Tight lines!
MN Finner, JakeD, 02/11/09

December 2008, 11th Crow Wing Lake

Hi, I'd like to share a Bing Maps link with you. This side of the 11th Crow Wing lake, my father and I have caught 2 bowfin. I have to say that it was a very fun fight to get the fish in the boat. I don't know if others have caught them here, but my dad and I let ours go, so that they could make more little bowfins for anglers of the future.
Magoo, 12/01/08

September 2008, Lake Koronis

Hi Bagman,
My 4 year old boy Alex hooked this "Dogfish" on July 14th with an ice fishing rod. We were just trying to catch a few sunfish when I heard the line peeling out. I grabbed the rod from him and after a 5 minute fight, I was able to net it. Wasn't sure what it was at the time. I didn't get an acurate measurement unfortunately, but I estimated its weight at approximately 6-7 pounds. After reading more about the Bowfin, I now realize how lucky we were to get it landed. The fish was released after the photos were taken.
Dan J, 09/02/08

September 2008, Weaver Lake

Hi Bagman,
I was doing a little research on this fish that I caught last night (8-30-08) and came across your site. I have NEVER caught anything this big let alone a bowfin. The was caught on Weaver Lake in Maple Grove, MN around dusk. I was using a small jig and body with a minnow. I thought I had another small turtle but it put up a fight that caused my line to tangle with my husband's line. We both thought that it was going to be a walleye or northern but we were both wrong once we got this monster into the boat. Once this was off the line, I was able to measure it by using the rope from the anchor. It measured 24" and about 5lbs. My heart was still pounding an hour afterwards. I still cannot believe that I caught something this big.
Maria, 09/01/08

July 2008, Lake Charlie (Write up pending)

Hi Bagman,
I fished Lake Charlie last night hoping for some bowfin. Let's just say when the sun began to set I was in way over my head! The bowfin got so thick you could just drop your shiner into a hole in the lily pads and lift up after 5 seconds and you would have a fin! By about 9pm they were so thick they were literally swimming through my legs one after another! In the 2 days I fished it I landed 11 fins ranging from 12-27 inches and lost many more than that! I was fishing my UL set up with 4 lb line and the bowfin always bit off or got tangled in the pads and broke off. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, they were taken by my phone.

I did not have a tape meausure on any of the days, but I put fishing line up to them and cut it at the tip of the tail and the nose and then I measured the chunks of line when I got home. I had in no order: 12", 20", 24-1/4", 24-3/8", 26-5/8", 25-1/2", 24-3/4", 25-1/8", 26-1/4", 28-3/8", and 29-1/8".

5x 24-30"= 20 pts
6x under 24 inches = 12 pts
Tight lines!
MN Finner, JakeD, 08/23/08

Clever way of measuring, Jake! However I can only discern 5 over 24 in the proof shots, so that's all that can count; the rest all count as Unders. Rules is rules.

July 2008, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
Sorry I have been neglecting to send these to you for a while. All these bowfin were caught in my backyard crick that flows into Lake Le Homme Dieu. All them were stalked and caught. All the ones over 24 inches came from free lined shiners. all the others took leeches worms plastic grubs and 1 was on a Charley Brewer crappie slider.

1 at 30”+ = 10 pts
2 at 24–30” = 8 pts
10 at Under 24” = 20 Pts
Tight lines!
MN Finner, JakeD, 07/27/08

July 2008, Dead Lake

Hi Bagman,
Just looking at your web site and I have a story to tell. My family and myself were vacationing on Dead Lake, Minnesota. On 7-16-08 in the afternoon we decided to go out in the boat and attempt to catch some fish. We left grandma on the dock along with our 2 1/2 year old grandson. We hadn't been out in the boat too long and were in sight of the dock. All of a sudden we heard grandma yelling from the dock. My grandson, holding his shiny new Scooby Doo rod and reel, had spotted a big fish below the dock in about two feet of water. He told grandma he was going to catch a big fish that he saw in the water. He proceeded to dangle the glittery fly tipped with a small piece of nightcrawler in front of the fish. Sure enough, the fish took it, hook, line, and sinker. Now, the fight was on! Little Colby reeled, while grandma helped to steady the rod, which was about 3 feet long. I could see from the boat that they had a nice fish. I assumed it was a large mouth b@$$, as we had been catching a few. I yelled in telling them to walk it to the shore as we had the net in the boat. The fish went under the dock and to the other side. By the way, I had just tightened the drag before going out in the boat. Grandma and Colby got the fish back from under the dock and walked it up the dock to the shoreline. Just then, the fish rid itself from the hook. A very nervous grandma, afraid she was going to lose the fish, attempted, successfully, to push it onto the shore. Grandma and grandson got it into a pail until we could get in to check things out. Sure enough, after some searching, we discovered it was a 24" bowfin. None of us had ever seen a bowfin before. We checked it out on the computer to make the determination that it was a bowfin. The key was the eye on the tail (black with a very distinct yellow around the black pupil, about the size of a nickel). My grandsons last comment was "Grandpa, I don't want to catch any more big fish!" Needless to say, he was a little bit scared to see such a big fish on the end of his line. Just had to share!

Dennis K, Watertown, SD 07/20/08

July 2008, Clamshell Lake

Hi Bagman,
I've caught "dogs" by accident in the past and saw one below the dock last weekend at a resort. The next night I focused on Bowfin. My 13 year old and I caught two but had 5 others hooked. All were caught on 6lb line and released! My brother caught and released a beauty. It measured 26.5". I forgot to measure the girth, my bad. 6-8 lbs? The pirate holding it is my brother Phil. These fish were actually caught in northern MN on Clamshell Lake, part of the Whitefish chain of lakes.
Fishfully yours,
Roadkill (JoeD), 07/10/08

June 2008, Jergen's Bridge

Hi Bagman,
A new Hotspot, Jergen's Bridge, with a write up.!
4 Under 24” = 8 Pts
1 New Hotspot with Write Up = 15 Pts
JakeD, 06/16/08

June 2008, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
I thought I sent these to you the day after I caught them but I guess not. Last week I had a great day of finning! 6 bowfin! Also here's a bowfin drawing I did, both before color and with extras after color and edited (I liked it before color better).

4 at 24–30” = 16 pts
2 at Under 24” = 4 Pts
1 Art Design = 5 Pts
JakeD, 06/03/08

June 2008, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
While landing a carp on one rod, I noticed my float was gone on the other! The fish turned out to be a small male bowfin. I went back upstream and then I put a minnow on my float rod. Within 5 minutes my float shot away and my rod went flying in the water. I managed to get a hold of the rod before it was pulled out far enough so I would have to wade in the water to get it. After a long hard fight I landed this beautiful female bowfin. I unhooked her and put on a new minnow and half an hour after releasing her, my float started jiggling. Then it laid flat. I figured a small crappie or b@$$. I set the hook. The fish went crazy! I saw it a few times. And it was small and had a long cylinder shaped and was black, a snakehead?!?!? After a little longer I landed the fish. It was a bowfin!!! It was a very rare melanistic male! More pics...

1 at 24–30”= 4 pts
2 at Under 24”= 4 Pts
JakeD, 06/02/08

May 2008, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
Thursday, I went fishing in my backyard for some 'fin. I brought only my fly rod and stalked some. I saw a few nice 'fins but never got a bite. I ended up getting 1 fin on a J-Diddy Special-T carp fly. The fish was my PB on the fly at 5 lb 7 oz. I brought her back down to the stream to release her. And as I walked into a slack water area (to let her build up strength before she had to fight the current) the water exploded. It turns out another fin was sitting there. I took my fly rod and tossed the fly in front of her. An immediate hookup and ultimately a new personal best on the fly at 6 lb 1oz. I brought both fish back up for a comparison shot.

Friday, I went on a field trip for big game wildlife management to a hunting preserve to the west of Alex. We got back @ 2:00 pm and school doesn't end until 3:00, but we still didn't have to go back to school, so I went home and went for bowfin again. I brought my new Ultra light Slab Seeker rod and some preserved shiners. I caught one fin and brought it back to show my brother. He wanted so see one since he hasn't seen one before and I showed my mom the teeth (she thought they just have those sandpaper type teeth that catfish and bullhead have). It weighed 4 lb 11 oz.

Today, I went stalking 'fins with my fly rod again. Nothing was spotted for a few hours. Eventually, I noticed 2 fins, and one was HUGE, in some fast current underneath some branches I had trouble getting the flies to drop right in front of them. After some time, I made it perfectly, and the big one took the fly. Hooked up! But after a couple seconds the fly came out. I thought she was gone for good, but she went right back up by the other bowfin who seemed unphased by the commotion. I tried again. Hooked up! I set the hook with 5 hard pulls just to be sure the hook was set (I might not get another chance) after 15 minutes I landed her. I thought "this Fish might be the state record!!!" a spawn bound female @ 28 1/2" long and 17" in girth! She weighed in @ 10 lb 11 SOOO CLOSE!!!! (MN state record(s) is 10 lb 15OZ (2 fish tied - one on French lake and one on Maple Lake which is just south town!) I tried to find and catch the other one and succeeded. It weighed in @ 7 lb 9 oz.
More pics...

FOTY so far this season:
7 at 24–30”= 28 pts
2 at Under 24”= 4 Pts
Total= 32 pts
JakeD, 05/21/08

May 2008, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
I went downstream from the creek in my backyard. I had seen a couple dogfish basking in the sun in the open water or hiding in cattails for nightfall. I was armed with my new Zebco slab seeker crappie rod, equipped with a Redfox reel spooled with 4 lb Trilene original. For ammo I had a few different types of plastic lures, many jig heads in varying sizes, shapes and colors, numerous flies, and shiners I preserved from January. I was determined to catch a 'fin. I started by using a weedless hook with a small preserved shiner and used no weight at all. I cast into a small bay surrounded by cattails and with a very mucky bottom. An hour passed and I changed my shiner a few times to keep it fresh, but no hits came, only taps from frightened carp darting under my line. Then at exactly 4:34 my rod bent double, I set the hook. Immediately the surface of the water exploded and the fish began tail walking. A remarkable sight for any fisherman! Eventually I landed the fish. An amazingly colored male with the neon fins they get during the spawn. He was 24 inches long, 11 inches in girth, and according to the weight table here, he weighed about 4 lbs 5 oz. Not bad for my first 'fin of 2008. Afterward the predator was released to terrorize the shiners once again.

After a while, I moved upstream about 200 feet and fished in a smaller arm of the creek. I spotted a large cloud of mud coming from the bottom and I figured it was a carp, but I had no way of being certain unless I caught it. I tied on a fly that would be visible to the fish. Almost instantly after casting into the cloud my line tightened and I set the hook. Lo and behold after a while I landed my second fin of '08. "Wait a minute," I thought as I grabbed my camera, "this looks like the same fish." After comparing it to the pics on my camera, I concluded it was. My first ever for sure recapture. About 45 minutes apart, the fly that caught it was a fly I got from the carp fly swap on CAG (Carp Anglers Group). A weird looking fly with many rubber legs coming out of the head and an ice chenille body.

The next day, my friend Cody and I went down to a stream connecting to Lake Le Homme Dieu. We were going for bowfin, since I had seen a few the past few days and caught one yesterday. He was using my 10' Slab Seeker crappie rod with 4 lb test and a size 2 wide gap hook. I had my 6 foot medium action Ugly Stick with 2 lb test. When we got down to the stream we decided we would start by fishing carp. We walked down stream searching for some. When I went near a slackwater area of the stream I saw a large bowfin sitting near the shore under some fallen cattails. I called Cody over to catch this 'fin since it would be his first, and then I noticed a smaller male behind her. We stalked up to the fins until we were both about 15 feet away and made short flip casts. I was the first to hook up with the small male. After a few minutes battle I landed my 4th ever bowfin. Very cool looking male. Nice green fins on him he was 21 1/2' long and 9' in girth weighing 4 lb 9oz

After I landed him I helped Cody hook up with the female. And a few minutes of tug of war later he landed his first ever bowfin! She was 25' long 11' in girth and 5 lbs 4 oz . We headed further downstream I caught a couple small carp around 1-3 lbs. When we reached the lake we turned back around and went upstream. We waded onto a small island that I see a lot of carp near. Then I noticed a small male bowfin sunning himself on a mudflat. I quickly retied a bowfin setup. But by the time I finished he was gone. We went further upstream. Cody missed a few carp and when I was helping him out he yelled 'dogfish! ''Where?' I asked, 'coming downstream', he replied, then I saq him. I quickly cast out my bait and brought it in front of it. It stopped after I brought it past its face. Then next cast hooked up! After landing him I immediately recognized him as the very aggressive male I caught 2 times yesterday. 23' long and 11' in girth. 5 lbs even. More pics...
JakeD, 05/14/08

February 2008, Dora Lake, La Sueur Co

I'm a Minnesota angler and although i don't go looking for bowfin in particular, I have been know to catch a few in my day. At the young age of 5 I managed to catch a 6.5 pounder and a few years later one that was almost ten. One of Minnesota's two records was caught in French Lake, but the French Lake you have it in is not right. It was caught in French Lake in Rice County, Minnesota. Another lake you may want to add to the map is Dora Lake in Le Sueur county. This lake has a large population of these fish and I have seen some over ten pounds in this lake.
Thank you,

Tyler F., 02/26/08

February 2008, Trout Lake, Coleraine

Hi Bagman,
My wife and I live in Williamsburg VA near Chickahominy Lake. We fish there often and LOVE catchin' fins!!! I have just recently found your site and was wondering if I could become a member? My name is Brandon P and I would like Foolzgold21 as my username if its available. Thanks.
I am including a few pics of Fins we caught in Coleraine, Minnesota at Trout Lake (just north of Grand Rapids). My folks live up there and we visit every Summer to get out of the heat and fish for a week or so. My wife caught hers on a spinner bait with 12lb test floro. And somehow I hauled mine in on 10lb test braid with a 6lb test floro leader throwin a weightless worm. Man, I love that fight you get when you hook into a good fin, or any fin really!! Just gets your heart beatin', doesn't it?! Love the site, so glad I found it.
Tight Lines
Brandon P., 02/19/08

February 2008, Sakatah Bay, Waterville

MN Bowfin

On Father's Day (June 17) 2007, I was enjoying a relaxing day at the cabin with friends and family. My nitecrawler was hanging from a bobber in about three feet of water off my dock in Sakatah Bay at Waterville, MN. I was using ultra-light gear with 4# test line when my bobber went down and the rod tip began to curl. I quickly set the hook and loosened the drag to avoid breaking the line. For the next ten minutes I had a ball cranking him in, only to have him strip out more line. Ultimately, he got tired before I did and from the dock I netted this slippery fighter. We posed for pictures and I released him with the hope that he'll grow and find my hook once again.
John M. , 02/13/08

February 2008, Loc'n Unknown

MN Bowfin

Here's a pic of a dogger that my buddy Pete caught in Minnesota. We didn't weigh the fish. The state record is Minnesota is 10lb,15oz. I think this fish was bigger. We didn't get a measurement or anything. I did catch a 30 1/2" 10lb walleye the day after and that dogger was bigger. It was caught on some back waters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota.
NateR, 02/01/08

August 2007, Madison Lake

Hi Bagman,
My dad and I were out b@$$ fishing on Madison Lake in MN tonight and we caught three bowfins. This was the largest. It was 31” in length and very silvery in color. Sorry I wasn’t holding it. They’re kind of freaky looking fish so I just let it sit by my dad’s feet while I took the pic with my camera on my cell phone. I had only caught one before (in Alexandria, MN) in my life and it was dark brown with a yellow belly. I learned a lot off your site about bowfins. Thanks for all the info! When I caught my first one I thought it was the Chinese Snakefish and I sent pictures to the DNR. He explained the differences that you do on our site as well. Now I also know that the one I caught this time was a female since there is no spot by the tail.
JonP, 08/17/07

July 2007, Loc'n Unknown

Hi Bagman,
I went to my buddy Cody's house and we went down to a lake about 300 feet from his house. We were going for b@$$ and caught a lot but none of any real good size- 1lb max. Later Cody went home, and I caught a few more b@$$ then I saw a bowfin!!! A nice one too!!! I cast my worm; she shot at it and missed. I recast; she hit it again, but I set it too soon and it came out of her mouth. I recast; she got it and the fight was on! I got her close enought to shore so I was able to grab her. I put her in my trailer and took her to up to Cody's house to get her pic taken. She was 25 inches long and 13 inches in girth and according to the Weight Table, she weighed 6.1 lbs.
JakeD, 07/13/07

July 2007, Minnesota River

Hi Bagman,
I was fishing on a backwater of the Minnesota River about a mile from where it joins the Mississippi. Crawlers on the bottom. Not a nibble all day and then as I was reeling this thing slammed it. Hauled it in and had no idea what it was. Weighed about four pounds, lots of fight. I brought it over to where some old timers were fishing and one said it was a grennell. Your website confirmed this. Now that I have your recipes no more will go back in the water.
HaroldG, 07/03/07

May 2007, Lake Le Homme Dieu

Hi Bagman,
This is the story you wanted of my first 'fin. I caught this ‘fin on May 21st. She was 24 inches long and 13 inches in girth. I was trying to get her for a week before she decided to take my spinner.
It was supposed to storm that day, but it barely missed us to the north, so I decided to go down to my backyard stream that leads into a lake further downstream. I was trying for northerns, casting a ½ ounce inline fire-tiger spinner with a gold blade and a pearl flash on the hook. I was getting small northerns in about 1-2 feet of water. Then I saw a large fish slithering through the shallows. I immediately knew it was a bowfin, and she was coming straight for my spinner! She hit the lure full speed and my 4 lb line started shredding off my spool. It felt as if I had snagged a train. After she traveled 30 feet she got into some deeper water, then she came to the surface and began tail walking. She tail walked for 10 yards before going back into the water. After that she slowed down. And I decided now was my chance to unfold my net. I began to unfold it when she suddenly decided to charge right at me. I was cranking in loose line like crazy. She got stuck between a few branches in the water and I walked over and grabbed her, unhooked her, and brought her up to the house to take some pictures.
While I went inside to get the camera, I set her in a bucket. I told my little brother to come out and take the pictures. I was about to take her out of the bucket when she suddenly turned and jumped straight out of the bucket about 2½ feet in the air, almost hitting me in the face! I picked her up off the ground and washed the woodchips off her and got the picture taken. Once I was done I brought her back down to the stream and released her safe and unharmed. She would be about 5 pounds 12 ounces not bad for my first fin.

The cart is homemade by myself and my grandpa. We welded it together one day and it works great. We made a rotating hitch so if the cart tips, it doesn't bend the hitch. It's a great rig for those hard to access fishing holes.
JakeD, 05/22/07

May 2007, St Cloud (Loc'n unknown)

Hi Bagman,
My buddy, Joe, caught this 25" bowfin near St. Cloud MN on a cut shiner on 4 pound test. First fin of his life and he can't wait to get another one. I myself am still searching for them here in NH.
I plan on catching some bowfin when I go to Lake Champlain later this summer. I hear the swampy marshes and backwaters are loaded with them. I love your site and I wish NH had a better population of these fish. I have been fishing for warmwater species here for years and have never evern seen one. The lower reaches of the Conn. river near Keene/Hinsdale have them but that's over 2 hours from where I live in the lakes region. When I get a NH fin you can bet I will send it your way, and I will update the Vermont page with my first bowfin later this summer.
Jason H, 05/22/07

November 2006, Upper Mississippi R (Loc'n unknown)

Hi Bagman,
I thought you might like this photo of a Bowfin I caught this fall on the upper Mississippi River. This fish took a nightcrawler while I was fishing for buffalo. Even though it was fall, the fish showed a lot of green - maybe because it was near a wastewater plant leaching hormones into the water. I have some more shots of the green mouth and such if you want them.
Your site continues to grow and get better. Great work, keep it up.
Corey G, 11/18/06

I have seen other fall fins coloring up. Maybe water temp has an effect? BAGgers - help us out! What have you observed? Be sure to visit Corey's great site Roughfish.com.

October 2005, Little Long Lake

It's been a while, but the bowfin bite at Little Long is still very productive - just haven't been taken many pics lately. Here's one from late May while I was pre-fishing for a tourney.
Bee K 10/01/05

February 2005, Loc'n Unknown

I just wanted to share with you the Bowfin I caught on a shiner while fishing for pike through the ice. I had my tip-up in a shallow and very weedy area. I gotta say I was pleased to catch it. After spending the last year in Thailand where we caught and ate some of the cousins (Giant Snakehead, Cobra Snakehead, & Striped Snakehead) to the Bowfin, I couldn't wait to try my luck in home waters for our version (the Bowfin). To my suprise (and luck--thanks to God) I caught this nice one on hard water. By the way, in Thailand, the snakeheads were not bad eating. I will try some Thai recipes on this bad boy. Anybody want a dinner invite?
Mike C, Mendota Hts, MN 02/23/05

Since the snakehead invasion is garnering so much press, please remember that the bowfin and snakehead are wholly unrelated. The similarity of appearance is coincidental. Our fins had been around for more than 50 million years before the first snakehead appeared.]

September 2004, Little Long Lake

Been awhile but finally got my film developed. Here are 2 bowfins my brother Dang caught early this spring. One was at Skimmer pond and the other is from Little Long. I'm still looking for that black bowfin though and the roll of film that has him in it. Can't lose that roll of film.
Bee K 09/30/04

April 2004, Pickeral Slough

I caught this male on a nightcrawler at Pickeral Slough. The water is very low (spooky, normally the Mississippi river is flooded in mid-April) and the weather was cool and cloudy. The bites were slow and this was our only fish. (5 of us, using 9 rods, for two hours.)
Josh L 04/22/04

January 2004, Pickeral Slough

Here are some pics from the MN Bowfin Angler archives. Thanks for the nice start Josh - let's make 2004 the best ever! Remember, this isn't TV - you supply the content. If you want to see it, send it! A glove comes in real handy so you can liplock your fin and rinse him before you shoot the pic.

Nice fins, Josh!

September 2003, Lake Minnetonka

Here's my little bro and his bowfin he caught at Lake Minnetonka. We don't see them there often because of the size of the lake but they do average larger then other lakes I've been to.
Bee K

August 2003

Pickeral Slough

This is Steven (aka shwetty). He and I doubled up on these 6-7 lb fins. Haven't broken Steven in yet...He's afraid to touch fish!

Skimmer Pond

The 26" I'm holding horizontally was caught early this spring on fathead minnows in Skimmer Pond while sight fishing for bowfin. I caught 2 more but was unable to keep them still for a pic. They withered out of my hands and back into the water. The larger one I'm holding vertically was also caught on fathead minnows in the same pond way back in 1997 when I first discovered this place. We were actually fishing for carp and bullheads and caught this beauty. That was the first year we started targeting bowfins. Been including them in my catches ever since. This one is my largest bowfin caught and landed to date and I don't even know how long it is. It was such an exciting moment I forgot to measure her before release. I've seen one that is larger this spring, I still wonder if it is the same one but has grown. I'm guessing this one is 30". What do you veteran bowfin guys think?
Bee K

July 2003, Pickeral Slough

I've been hitting my bowfin hole with cutbait yesturday and today. Heres the combined totals of what we caught: 8 bowfin, 2 painted turtles, 1 channel catfish, 1 largemouth b@$$, and 1 snapping turtle. I used cutbait on 4 rods (2 people; border waters), including my 5 wt. flyrod. I had several large dogfish and a painted turtle on my flyrod, but all got away. My friend caught the snapping turtle on my 5 wt. but we cheated. We put a 14 lb fireline for a tippet, a 15" wire leader, and a 6/0 hook on with a hunk of cut sucker minnow, and casted it out and waited. It's still funner to fight 'em on the flyrod though. Maybe I can truly get a bowfin on a fly soon.
Josh L - Pickeral Slough MN

June 2003, Pickeral Slough

Josh and Cousin Ben with fins from Pickeral Slough, MN. Ben's 8 pounder was his first fin and biggest fish ever. That's the way to break him in Josh!

April 2003, Little Long Lake

Bee K and his fabulous Melanistic bowfin. Bee's Story:

I was fishing Little Long in MN(108 acres). This lake has produced some nice size sunfish, that's what I was going for that day. I was working a sunfish honeycomb. It's bunch of sunfish nests grouped up together like a bee hive honeycomb, that's what I call it. I'm pretty sure you've seen it. I've seen anywhere from 4 to 30 nests in a honeycomb. But anyways, it was about the middle of June, with temps in the high 70's with winds from the NWabout 10-15mph. I was sight fishing for sunfish in 1ft-7ft of water when I spotted this beauty, couldn't miss it with this lakes 18ft water clarity. Being black, he stood out easily among the light green bottom. I quickly switched from my sunfish lure to a black sinking weedless tadpole lure that I use a lot for bowfins that hide in the weeds and algae. I swung the lure about 15ft out passing him by approximately 4ft-5ft. I let it sink to the bottom then slowly worked it until it was 1ft away from him. Another twitch and he turns to my lure slowly fanning his dorsal until he was about 2" away. Then just as usual, a quick gulp and he has it, I set the hook and the fight was on. A minute later he was in the net with the help of my younger brother. A quick photo with the Black Knight and off he went. The red on the tail is blood from a netting injury. Sometimes it's too late when you realize what you just let go. I do regret not thinking at the time because that day I was pursuing another species. I have caught bowfins from this lake everytime I go there. Sizes range from 17" to 30". Being only 108 acres with very cear water, I hope to see him again one day. Bee K

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