What Fish Can You Get When Bowfishing For Survival? Answers Here!

Bowfishing for Survival

Bowfishing is becoming more popular among survivalists and peppers, combining hunting and fishing skills. It’s a great skill to find food if you master it well!  But what are the type of fish you can expect to catch for consumption when in the waters? Read on as I show you the common fish species one can get when bowfishing for survival! 

Where Can You Bowfish?

You can go bowfishing in various bodies of water as long as they are shallow and transparent. This applies to any type of fresh waters such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams.

With that said, you can also try to bowfish in saltwater as well, such as in bays, estuaries, and shallow flats. These are “target-rich environments” where there are more fish to catch using bowfishing lights and arrows.

What Can You Bowfish?

While you can bowfish in different bodies of water, that doesn’t mean you can grab any bow and start shooting at random. There are legal factors to consider as well, which depend on the area you’re bowfishing. For instance, bowfishing for game species is not allowed

But for those bowfishing for survival, not to worry. You won’t have any trouble finding fish to catch legally. These are some of the most common fish you can aim for when bowfishing for survival, known for their high populations and ease of catching:

1. Carp

The Carp is the most popular type of rough fish and a favorite among bow-fishermen. One can recognize them with its two pairs of fleshy whiskers, along with the notched dorsal fins. You can find them flourishing in bodies of fresh water such as lakes, rivers, streams, and farm ponds all around the United States. 

The carp is a non-predator fish but a bottom feeder, consuming aquatic plants, plankton, and/or insect larvae. They weigh between four to eight pounds, but you can find them weighing between 15-30 pounds, with commercial fishermen getting carp between 40-60 pounds. It depends on the type of carp species you get. 

The fish’s peak season is in the springtime as the waters warm and spawning begins, with hundreds to thousands of carp bellying their way to shallow waters for the spawn grounds. Any bow-fisherman, no matter beginner or advanced, fishing for survival or fun, can bag a lot of carp at these times! 

2. Gar

One of the other common types of fish (as well as the most challenging and largest) is the Gar. You can easily recognize them with their long beak having a lot of sharp teeth and their slender, cylindrical-shaped body. They also have non-overlapping and tough armor-like scales with a hard bony head and beak structure, making them predators.

Gar would feed on other fish, stalking their prey and capturing it in just one swift lunge when it’s within striking distance. They are great predators, as their strong jaws and teeth would make it almost impossible for their prey to escape. 

These fish prefer to stay in warm and sluggish backwaters from lowland lakes and rivers. You can find Gar sunning themselves silently beneath the water surfaces. They would frequently break the water surface to supplement their oxygen supply, which is why they are a great target for bow-fishermen.

But while they are easy to find and target, prepare to exert a lot of force and to use strong bowfishing arrows. They’re quite the fighter, weighing between five to eight pounds. Some fish species, like the Alligator Gar, can reach up to 100 pounds and ten feet long! 

There are different species of Gar in the United States and others located in southern Canada and Central America.

3. Any Other Fish For Bowfishing

Besides carp and gar, there are also other fish you can try your hand at catching.

Such fish include the:

  • Bowfin
  • Large and small mouth buffalo
  • Suckers (catostomide)

The large and small-mouth buffalo are similar to the carp in terms of its feeding characteristics and habitat. As for the Bowfin, they are aggressive predators and would feed on small fish or crayfish. Like the gar, Bowfins would surface periodically for oxygen, weighing between five to eight pounds. 

However, bowfishing these fish depends on the state you’re from and the body of water your in. You can check the area ahead if you were to go on a camping trip, but when it comes to survival, it’s time to catch any fish you get for food!

Do you want to learn more about bowfishing for survival? This video shows you some tips on catching carp and gar successfully: 

Wrapping It Up

I hope that this article on the fish you can get when bowfishing for survival helped you out! In case you’re out bowfishing for food and survival, you now know how to identify the common fish species to catch. 

Guest Author: Mitchell Woods


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