Understanding when your efforts will bear the most fruit can be useful knowledge. Knowing the best time to go bowfishing will save you from wasting time. You can go bowfishing at any time of the year, but you do have some times that will yield more fish.
When is the best time to go bowfishing? The late spring of the year is thought of as the best time to go bowfishing because of the carp spawn. From mid-may to late June, you will see the most action because the weeds haven’t grown up enough to provide the carp with hiding places.
If you’d like to learn more about bowfishing and the best time to go, I invite you to keep reading because I will cover this topic more in-depth.
Why Late Spring to Early Summer?
Carp spawn from April to August, but the heat of the action happens from mid-May to late June. Unlike other fish species, carp don’t receive protection in their spawning beds because they’re invasive and thought of as a harmful pest. If you’d like to learn more about why bowfishermen are good for the environment, please read this article that I wrote here.
To sum it up, carp eat the local fish and plants and reproduce in dangerous numbers that could overtake the local fish populations. Bowfishing cuts down on the number of carp in our national waters.
Mid-May to late June is when the action will be glowing, red hot. You don’t have a better time to introduce a buddy to bowfishing. Look for carp spawning grounds in shallow, weedy or grassy water at 2 to 3 feet deep. Carp prefer to spawn when the water rises. You will find that when they spawn varies from one region to the next, depending on water temperature. They like to spawn in water at 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
Important to Note: Don’t go after bass or northern pike spawning grounds because this is illegal. While you will catch more, it comes with an unsavory fine and possible jail time. Don’t do it.
Again, I should emphasize that while bowfishing’s best time is from mid-May to late June, you can do it at any time of the year, provided it’s the right kind of fish.
What Time Should You Go Bowfishing?
We talked about the best season for bowfishing, which is in the spring of the year. What time you should go will depend on whether you want to bowfish at night or during the day. If you plan to go bowfishing during the day, you may want to go earlier in the day as the best time of day to bowfish for carp.
One to two hours after sunrise is the best time to be out and bowfishing during the day. You don’t have to deal with the glare of the sun off the water. Also, the mud in the water tends to be settled during this time, making it easier to shoot the fish.
Especially if you’re going after carp, the mornings tend to be the best time to catch carp during the day. They feed more aggressively during this time, which makes their activity better for spotting them.
The second best time to bowfish during the day is one to two hours before sunset. That’s because this is the time where a lot of the fish you hunt will be the most active.
Best Time: Nighttime Bowfishing
Most bowfishermen will tell you how they prefer to bowfish in the night hours. You don’t have a particular time to go bowfishing at night, but I have found how 1 am to 2 am is when a lot of the action starts to heat up. Even from 10 pm to 12 pm, you have a lot of great action from the carp.
Carp are nocturnal, and it’s one of the few fish that you can successfully bowfish at night, including catfish, which are also nocturnal.
You have one distinct advantage that comes from bowfishing at night. First, you don’t have to deal with the glare of the sun off the water. Second, you can use bowfishing lights to light up the fish underwater, making them much easier to see. I like to bowfish at night, and most of my buddies prefer it too. The fish have a harder time hiding at night with the bowfishing lights out and lighting them up.
Why the Carp Spawning Season is the Best Time
I like to go bowfishing during the carp spawning season because you can go bowfishing at any time and come away with 10 to 20 carp–or even more! Whether bowfishing at night or during the day, it doesn’t matter. You will have far more success bowfishing for carp during this time. For anglers, carp have a reputation as being notoriously difficult to catch. With a bow, they take the arrow whether they want to or not.
The Other Reason to Bowfish in the Spring
With bowfishing, you will be fishing for a lot of fish known as the rough fish like carp. Some people call them trash fish, but I don’t like that term. They are seen as the less desired fish for eating.
Carp are an acquired taste and some people think they taste like mud. The carp have a better flavor in the spring of the year. Also, you can make carp taste better by filleting them correctly through getting rid of the mud vein and using the right recipe. I previously wrote an article on how to fillet carp here, which should help you to get the best flavor from your carp, no matter what season. Use the right recipe. It makes a difference!
Bowfishermen can go at any time of the year to catch fish. However, I would say that the late spring of the year gives you the most action. Just look for the carp spawning grounds, and you can shoot a lot of carp. You don’t have a limit to the number of carp that you can shoot, which makes it even more fun.