Fishing for buffalo, carp, gar and other roughfish by bow

Tony PetersonI live just north of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and I bowfish some of the lakes and rivers near my house. What I run into every year are folks that cheer me on for getting rid of carp in their favorite lakes, and others who look at me like they would love to see me impaled by a fish arrow. Such is the life of a bowfisherman…

If you find yourself on heavily trafficked water this year, which is likely given such a late spring, here are a few ways to keep a low profile while still enjoying fast action. I’m not advocating hiding away while engaging in a perfectly legal activity (always check local and state regulations), but instead presenting a positive image to those recreational boaters who might witness you skewering a few bottom feeders.

If bobbing up and down in the jet ski and pleasure boat wakes isn’t your thing, consider sneaking into backwaters and weed-choked bays to get your bowfishing fix on popular waters.First, bowfish early in the morning. This is partially to avoid the crowds, and as an added bonus, I don’t have to sit there bobbing in the wakes of countless jet-skiers and plowing mini-yachts as they course back-and-forth through the lake. Second, I find areas that aren’t recreational-boater friendly. These weed-choked, out-of-the-way places also tend to hold carp, gar, and other roughfish, which is a bonus.

Sometimes I simply opt to wet-wade smaller rivers, or trailer to lakes that are electric-motor only. Both are great options for ditching the crowd and can provide plenty of bowfishing action.

On a last note, although it may be a pain in the neck to bowfish more popular bodies of water, many of those lakes and rivers are teeming with roughfish that see very little bowfishing pressure. If you can tolerate a few sneers from passing pleasure boaters, you just might find yourself with sore shoulders and bloody clothes from all of the action, which is definitely worth it.

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