bowfin?

Discussion in 'LOCAL PENNSYLVANIA TALK' started by bw69r, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. bw69r

    bw69r Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,816
    State:
    West Newton, PA
    what exactly is a bowfin? are they native to PA? what kind of habitat do they like? how big do they get?
     
  2. Pirate Jerry

    Pirate Jerry New Member

    Messages:
    613
    State:
    Yulee Florida
    search "Bowfin" on the web. You will find everything you want to know and more. There are even clubs on the net for them.
     

  3. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA
    Bowfins are an order (Amiiformes) of primitive ray-finned fish. Only one species, the bowfin Amia calva, family Amiidae, exists today, although additional species in six families are known from Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Eocene fossils. These included the huge Leedsichthys, the biggest fish that ever existed. The bowfin and the gar are two of the freshwater fishes still extant that existed, almost unchanged from their current form, while the great dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    The most distinctive characteristic of the bowfin is its very long dorsal fin consisting of 145 to 250 rays, and running from mid-back to the base of the tail. The caudal fin is a single lobe, though heterocercal[1]. They can grow up to 1 meter in length, and weigh 7 kg. Other noticeable features are the black "eye spot" usually found high on the caudal peduncle, and the presence of a gular plate. The gular plate is a bony plate located on the exterior of the lower jaw, between the two sides of the lower jaw bone.
    Bowfin are not considered a good food fish compared to more popular freshwater gamefish species. They are generally considered "trash" fish by sportsmen, and are scorned for their voracious appetite for more desirable species. They will occasionally strike - and sometimes ruin with their powerful jaws - artificial lures, but they generally strike on live or cut fishes. They also naturally consume copious numbers of live crayfishes in many rivers. When hooked, Bowfin battle powerfully, offering a tremendous fight to the angler. Bowfin should be handled carefully. They are an ill-tempered, pugnacious fish, and consider themselves a match for anything - including a human being. Once in the boat, they will make every attempt they can at biting the fisherman - and they have a mouthful of very sharp teeth.
    Bowfins are found throughout eastern North America, typically in slow-moving backwaters and ox-bow lakes. When the oxygen level is low (as often happens in still waters), the bowfin can rise to the surface and gulp air into its swim bladder, which is lined with blood vessels and can serve as a lung.

    The list of local and alternate names the bowfin is known by is lengthy, but common ones include "dogfish", "mudfish", "grindle" (or "grinnel"),cottonfish and "lawyer". In parts of S. Louisiana they are called "tchoupique" or "choupique".
    Bowfin are indiscriminant and voracious predators, known to eat a variety of prey from insects and crawfish to fish and frogs. Compared to many other species of their size, they have a tremendous appetite.
    Males are said to turn "bluish" when breeding. The male bowfin exhibits extensive parental care. He clears an area in the mud for the female to lay eggs in, and then he fertilizes them. He hovers nearby and aggressively protects the eggs and the fry after they emerge.....

    Other than that Bowfin are native to pennsylvania; and most common in the NW and the SE of the state. Officially Pennsylvania considers them a species of concern and recommends no harvest. It seems though that PA has a very variable population. ON the west side The heart of 'bowfin' country is a swamp near Lake Wilhelm called geneva swamp. They are common in the river system draining this area (called french creek) and common in several of the glacial lakes that dot lower Erie, and crawford counties. The river valley drains into the alleghany so I have heard of scattered, catches up and down the entire river system.

    Myself, I have never caught one... But I want to. I know where to go and roughly what to do. but the distance and lack of experience in these lakes (50miles+) is daunting...
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    the forum fisherie.com has had some conversations about bowfin and if you lurk around you might find some more useful information , espacially on HOW to catch them (and some specific spots). IF anyone here specifically comes up to target them; please let me know. Maybe we could meet up; two heads are better than one.
     
  4. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P
    Jolie must somekind of fish scientist or just a good web surfer.

    Like flatheads, I think bowfins aka grinnles aka cypress bass are native to the western side of the state.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  5. Pennsylvaniacatchaser

    Pennsylvaniacatchaser Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,359
    State:
    Sarver, Pa
    They can be found at Lock #6 on the Allegheny! At least 2 of them anyway! :wink:
     
  6. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA
    Why thankx:smile2::smile2::smile2:

    as guessed I surfed around for them.

    'sides I've been interested in them in the past... But now, for now I want to catch them cats... the DOGfish (as they are sometimes called) will just have to wait.

    I still bugging out over Scotts great catches! Scott, there's been few to no mentioning of catching them in the navigation locks of the alleghany in any forum. I think if Turtles is Tbartek, you are Mr bowfin man. I'm more likely to catch below the kinzua dam them than you are.
     
  7. waynesburgjay

    waynesburgjay New Member

    Messages:
    1,960
    State:
    Pennsylvan
    A friend of mine caught one on a tributary to the west branch susq (bald eagle creek) about 15 years ago.
     
  8. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY
    They are in the Delaware. My buddy Tony got this one a few weeks back.
     
  9. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Messages:
    10,351
    State:
    Philadelphia, P

    First a rare sturgeon then now the rare bowfin! You never know what lives in that big ole river.

    Have you ever ran into any lampreys on the Big D?
     
  10. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY

    NOPE! But if I do its gettin chunked up. LOL!