Ohio, are you really finning up to your potential? You can do better!
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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.

May 2013, Licking/Muskingum River

I caught this bowfin out off the Licking/Muskingum River (Zanesville,Ohio).
Austin B, 05/20/13

May 2011, Tuscarawas River

First time Bowfin catch in Ohio. My wife Dana in the Photo caught a 19 inch bowfin less than three feet from shore in the Chippewa Creek which connect to the Tuscawaras River. Can bowfin cross in shallow water of an inch or two? The creek that she caught the bowfin in has a wetland marsh about six feet away from it. The creek and the wetland a separate by a walking trail and in heavy rain the trail floos in places. I think I saw a bowfin in the wetland in a shalllow pool.
Ed P, 05/10/11

July 2010, Sippo Lake

I didn't really know what this was, but I have caught a snakehead before. I thought maybe it was one, then found out after research that it was some times mistaken for one. I feel pretty confident in identifying this as a Bowfin considering the long fin on its back. I caught this at Sippo Lake in Canton, Ohio. I caught this while fishing for catfish out off the dock. I was using Berkley Catfish Bait. I read that they are supposed to give a pretty big fight, but this one didn't fight very much at all. He was an easy catch. I included two photos. The photo is hard to tell the size, but if memory serves me right it was about 12 inches (maybe a tad bigger).
SeanZ, 07/26/10

October 2008, St Joseph R

OK... I have read for an hour or so at your site. So thanks for the education.
I'm Carl R Jr. in Montpelier Ohio. I was pike fishing yesterday out of my kayak when I caught a nice bowfin. 30 inches at 10lbs 4 oz., this thing was ferocious! It fought like a muskie. It ate my XR-12 X-rap. I had to bring it home to get the lure out, then I released it. Amazing fish! Durn thing bit me several times in the kayak.
It was in a pit next to the St. Joseph River. If you're in the area come fishing with me. There are bayous and pits along the river. This fish impressed me and I've caught some big pike and muskies, so I'm used to a fight. This fish was fierce! When I released him, he expelled a pint of air out of his lung and swam away. I had to put him between my legs in the kayak and he was biting and very aggressive. I put a wooden paddle over my crotch to avoid being neutered. This is my first bowfin. Good golly they fight! I've caught 72 fish this year for 247 lbs and 131ft. I've got a pic of every one to prove it. I'm disabled and fish all the time.
Carl R Jr., 10/15/08

September 2008, Tuscarawas County Park

OK... I have read for an hour or so at your site. So thanks for the education.
This Bowfin/Dogfish fish was caught in New Philadelphia Ohio at Tuscarawas County Park. It is a heavily fished small community pond and I was there with my 5 year old daughter catching small 5" Sunfish and Bluegill. She was fishing with a bobber and worm and I decided to change my set up for spinner bait, mainly to save on the limited worms we had with us. So I picked out a fairly large spinner tackle that was about 3 inches long with iridescent blue color, and it looked like a minnow. I knew it was way too big but wanted to cast across the entire pond if I could... just for fun.
On the second cast I got the hit, my pole was bent over pretty good and I had about 30 feet to reel it in. The reel hissed as the drag setting kept line going out as I was reeling it in. It took just a couple min or so to get it to the rocky shore and then I saw this un-expected beast. Seriously, a bit scary for my little girl and myself. I have fished for years in small Ohio ponds and Lake Erie and have only a few times caught larger fish of this sort.
I thought for sure my line would snap and I was very careful not to pull to hard on it. We grabbed a milk crate we happened to have with us and scooped it up. I could not identify the fish and had never seen anything like it. It had serious teeth that had I not been cautious, would have cut me bad. I took this quick picture and then I set the crate back in the water to keep it alive till some other anglers could see it. But one flop of the tail and it was out and gone! Only 3 adults saw it. It is a great tale to tell!

Eric S, 09/29/08

May 2008, Mentor Lagoons

My wife caught this bowfin at Mentor Lagoons on 5-29-2008. She thought it was the wildest thing with the blue fins. Apparently it was a male breeding at the time. She caught this on a nightcrawler and a bobber. After we got the picture, it snapped the line. It was the only fish we caught that morning.
Frank and Kim, 05/30/08

April 2007, Mentor Lagoons

I’ve been reading your website, very interesting. I might add another myth that I didn’t see mentioned. I live in NE Ohio and we have a lagoon area here right next to a large nature preserve called Mentor Headlands State Park and Marsh. It’s right on Lake Erie. The story around here is that this lagoon area is the only place bowfin are found…..in the world!? I have always doubted this and it’s obviously not true since Ohio isn’t even mentioned in your regulations section. Perhaps anglers in some of the other areas bowfin are found have a similar story.
BobS, 04/23/07

May 2006, Lake Erie (Catawba Island)

Here is a good spot. I land them on leeches all the time fishing for smallmouths off of the state park pier at Catawba Island State Park.
Shawn W, 05/30/06

April 2006, Somewhere in the Tuscarwas R

We've been doing some fishing this past week and we have been doing pretty good. I would guesstimate around 50 bowfin. I wish I had a big aquarium for one of them. He was the prettiest bowfin I have seen, very young, and very distinct coloration. I fish in the Tuscarwas and they're really on! Please don't show my secret fishing hole!
George, 04/26/06

February 2006, Loc'n Unknown

Greetings from your link partner Adam at www.coolwaterfish.com. I have just caught my second ever Bowfin, a stout 25 incher, while fishing for Steelhead in a creek in NW Ohio. I was extremely surprised by the catch and had never seen or heard of anyone getting one out of this body of water! This fish bested my first Bowfin by 2 inches (the 23" Bowfin is on your 2004 pics) so I now have a new personal record for the species. I've attached 2 photos. The fish came on a small inline spinner, chrome color. I also forgot to mention that it was released after the catch. The creek is a very small body of water and has been getting a ton of angler pressure... so I'd like to really keep the spot anonymous. Thanks, keep up the great job on the site! Respectfully-
Adam 02/25/06

July 2005

Ohio River

My son Nathan caught this fish July 17th 2005 in the Ohio River. We were bass fishing and thought he had a good one on. It took a spinner bait. We took pictures and released it unharmed, except for some slime. It had some sharp teeth. We didn't know what it was till today. Thanks for your site,
Sam B Rutland OH 07/19/05

Beach City Dam

I was fishing at Beach City Dam in Ohio, and saw a gentleman catch a bowfin. Having not caught one myself ever, I referred to the internet in search of information on the species. That's when I came across your website and spent a lot of time researching bowfin and what they feed on and how to catch them. After reading, I took that knowledge and my fishing tackle and headed to the water. Taking along some light tackle and some nightcrawlers, I fished for some panfish to use for bait. I caught a couple bluegills and with just a simple hook and sinker, used the bluegills as cutbait, I casted out, and within the hour had my first ever bowfin (Picture). Since then I have caught more at the same location. I just wanted to say thanks for the info and for helping me catch my first one! Thanks again and good finnin'!
Larry S. 07/06/05

May 2004, Portage River

Greetings, Adam here from www.coolwaterfish.com, thanks for the link on your site, I have a link to your site on mine now too. I've attached a picture of my one and only caught Bowfin, a 23" that took a Blue Fox Super Vibrax Size 2- all chrome while I was targeting Bass... this fish was way cooler than any bass!!!

Ohio Finning

I've been studying up a lot on Ohio bowfin, and although I've just caught the one, (the picture you posted on here that I sent ya) I've learned quite a bit. Most the bowfin in Ohio are caught from shore along Lake Erie (docks and marinas very good spots), tributaries of Lake Erie (but not too far downstream), and a few smaller lakes/ponds in the northern portion of the state. I compiled that information mostly from talking to local captains/first mates around the Port Clinton area, local fishermen, one DNR officer, and a board member from a preservation society in Ottawa County. I plan on targeting them more this fall and hope to have more pictures to send!
Adam/CoolWater 07/31/04

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