Perhaps you just came to the sport of bowfishing, and you wonder about what you can and can’t bowfish. You find yourself wondering about bass because you’d love to go bowfishing for bass. The thrill of having a good bass at the end of your line can make for an incredibly fun sport.
Can you bowfish bass? Unfortunately, no, they don’t allow you to go bowfishing for bass, but you do have some other types of fish that you can go bowfishing for. Understanding what you can bowfish for and what you can’t can keep you from facing a hefty fine.
Is There Anywhere Where You Can Go Bowfishing for Bass?
In some places of the country, like in parts of southern Alaska and parts of Colorado, they let you go bowfishing for northern pike because of how the DNR considers them an invasive species to the area. Because of that, you can go bowfishing for them, and it would be illegal if you were to put them back into the water.
With that said, you may wonder if the same could apply to bass in some parts of the country. In fact, I know of nowhere in the United States where you can go bowfishing for bass. They only allow you to go bowfishing for non-game fish species, and because they consider bass a game fish species, you can’t go bowfishing for them or walleye or northern pike in most cases.
For those who would like to do bowfishing for bass, there is one place that might be legal for bowfishing them, but you must check with your local DNR there to make sure. If you’d like to bowfish bass, I’ve heard that it is legal in Quebec, Canada, where the only things that you can’t shoot up there is muskie, salmon and sturgeon.
For those who want to shoot fish, they might go somewhere like Quebec where it is more friendly to it. In most other places, however, they have made the shooting of bass illegal because they classify as a game fish. I would also advise that you check with the local DNR to get the most up to date information on this.
What Fish Can You Go Bowfishing For?
Some of the fish that you can go bowfishing for, depending on your area, include:
- Common Carp
- Grass Carp
- Asian Carp
- Silver Carp
- Bighead Carp
- Alligator Gar
- Freshwater Drum
Check with Your Local DNR
Before you start to bowfish anything, you need to ask your local DNR because this can even differ from one region to the next. You don’t want to get slapped with a heavy fine because you misunderstood the regulations. It’s better to call them up and ask them what you can specifically hunt in your area.
What Fish Can’t You Bowfish?
Perhaps this is a great time to highlight all the fish that you can’t go bowfishing for including the bass so that you know what you can and cannot go bowfishing for. The game species that the DNR won’t let you go bowfishing for include:
- Pickerel Chain
- Crappie, Black or White
- Shad American
Why Shooting Carp is So Much Fun
One of the awesome things about going after carp is that you can shoot as many as you’d like. You have absolutely no daily limits, which means that you can take 100 of them in a single day if you can shoot that many. This helps to control the carp populations and make them more manageable. Meanwhile, it can be a whole lot of fun for us bowfishermen.
Why are People Opposed to Shooting Bass?
Part of the reason that they may have made it illegal to bowfish for bass comes from the fact that bowfishing doesn’t let you catch and release. The fish that you shoot will die. For that reason, they wanted to keep people from shooting a beloved trophy fish that is known for putting up one heck of a fight. They want to keep this fish alive and well.
They also consider game fish a higher form of fish than the non-game fish species. That’s because of how they taste good to eat, and they don’t want bowfishermen culling the populations of these species. In fact, even some bowfishermen are opposed to shooting bass because they like to fish for it with regular fish.
Myself, I’m opposed to it because I think it takes our attention off a more important species that we need to control as bowfishermen–the invasive carp plague. These fish wreak havoc on our local ecology, and bowfishermen stand between the carp and the local ecology. We have to take down their numbers so that they don’t kill off our local fish. That’s important, and we don’t want to water down our efforts through misdirecting our attention to other fish like the bass and northern.
If you need a good bowfishing bow, check out the Cajun Fish Stick Take-Down Bowfishing Bow. This can help us in our fight against the carp and them taking over our waters.