Perhaps you wonder if you can go out and bowfish for pike. You love to fish for them, so why not do some bowfishing for them. This majestic and aggressive fish species has a reputation for taking on fish half its size and eating them.
Can you bowfish pike? No, in most cases, you can’t bowfish pike because state regulations prohibit you. With that said, you do have some places where pike were introduced as an invasive species where you can bowfish for them. Check local regulations to know for sure.
Where Can You Bowfish for Pike?
At Lon Hagler Reservoir in Colorado, you can bowfish for pike, carp, white sucker and long-nosed sucker. With bowfishing, you have to check with your local regulations on where is legal because of how it can greatly vary in this respect.
Look for areas where the pike have overpopulated because of how you can often do bowfishing in these areas for pike. Still, you should first check with the local DNR because this will save you from getting into trouble. In particular, the Southcentral part of Alaska has become one of the places where you can bowfish for them because of how pike aren’t native to this area. While they occur naturally elsewhere, they don’t exist otherwise.
What Other Species Can You Bowfish?
With that said, while you will find that you can’t bowfish for pike in some areas, you may be able to bowfish for other fish. When you think of bowfishing, typically they mean what they call the rough fish. Rough fish is used to describe the types of fish that most people desire to eat less. They don’t seek out these types of fish quite as much because they’re not as popular either because of flavor and a general belief that these fish aren’t as good. It could come from the fact that many of them are scavengers.
Some of the rough fish that you can go bowfishing for include:
- Common Carp
- Grass carp
- Silver carp
- Bighead carp
- Alligator gar
- Freshwater drum
Important to note, what you can go bowfishing for will largely depend on your area. You need to check the local regulation before you choose to hunt a species because you don’t want to face a fine by the DNR.
The northern pike has a popular reputation for its flavor, but it is a bony meat and some people dislike it for that reason, but in most cases, you can’t bowfish for it.
Rule to Keep in Mind
With all forms of bowfishing, you can’t return the fish to the water after you have shot it. That could be because of how they’re an invasive species. Some may be asking themselves, “Does bowfishing kill the fish?”
Unlike with regular fishing, bowfishing kills the fish because you take an arrow and you spear it through its body. For that reason, they have made it illegal to return them to the water after you have shot them because it would make the water rife for disease. You have to take them home and use them somehow.
If you’re interested in how to use fish after you have shot them, check out my article, “What to Do with Dead Carp?” The problem with a lot of rough fish is that it is an acquired taste, and you have a lot of people who don’t like the taste of rough fish. Still, you have other ways that you can use them.
Some People Against Bowfishing Pike
In some areas like parts of Colorado where you can bowfish pike legally, people have joined together against bowfishing for pike. What are some of the reasons for this? One of the reasons for this comes from how pike have become especially vulnerable during their spawning season.
As the pike get slaughtered in large numbers by bowfishermen, it makes the pike less available as a sportfish for regular sportfishing. A lot of people like to go fishing for them because they put up a great fight, which has made bowfishing for them an unpopular subject. In fact, they even put a petition together against bowfishing pike.
What Do I Need to Shoot Pike?
Provided you can shoot pike, you just need a fishing license. Bowfishing for pike is covered under your fishing license, and you only need that to be able to bowfish for them. You don’t need a hunting license even though some people have said that bowfishing shares more similarities with hunting, which could be true in some respects.
New to Bowfishing?
Perhaps you have just entered bowfishing as a hobby for your spare time. People may be wondering what kind of bow they should get for bowfishing. The AMSBowfishing Hooligan Bowfishing Kit is a compound bow, which is good for shooting with bowfishing because it doesn’t tire your arm out. In addition, you can choose from 24-pound to 50-pound draw weight.
The kit for a beginner is a good choice because of how it comes with everything you need. You just head to the water to get started. In addition, it comes assembled, which for a beginner can mean everything because they don’t have to worry about anything. It’s good to go.
Always Check the Local Regulations
Just because northern pike are an invasive species to the area doesn’t mean that you can shoot them. In fact, in Washington, while they remain an invasive species and the local DNR fears them, they don’t let you bowfish for pike. In my opinion, that’s kind of soft-in-the-head especially since they fear that the pike will get into the Columbia river system, which will make the comeback efforts of the local fish more difficult. Still, that’s government for you and how it varies, and it’s a reason that you have to check with the local regulations.
In most places in the United States, you can’t bowfish for pike. With that said, you still have some places where you can. If you’d like to do it, always check with your local regulations because it can even vary from one lake to the next, especially with this fish species.