When you’re at home in the comfort of your own boat on your home lakes, rivers, and banks, it’s easy to take for granted how simple it is to find a spot to bowfish. But it’s a lot more challenging when you’re in unfamiliar waters. How often have you traveled somewhere new and had no idea where to bowfish? It's a daunting task to try and find a bank to shoot from in a new area. Even with a boat, sometimes it's hard to find the perfect launch to drop in the water. The seven tips below will help you narrow your list down to 3 or 4 bowfishing spots to try when you're in a new area.
- Check out Google Maps
Where are you going? Pull it up on Google Maps, and you should quickly find some water. If you normally shoot rivers, look for rivers. If you normally shoot lakes from the bank, look for a lake. The key here is to not focus on any body of water in particular. Also, you'll want to consider the legal access you'll have to that area. Never trespass and always obey local laws and regulations. Lots of state or metro parks allow bowfishing so they are normally a good place to start.
- Utilize satellite imaging
Once you find a body of water, take a look at the satellite view. If you plan to wade or shoot from the bank, look for areas with less cover on the bank. This makes it more likely you'll be able to find a spot to shoot from. If you have a boat or a kayak, look for public access points. If you find some relatively easy places to hop on the water, try looking for specific areas that you might want to scout for fish once you get there. Google Earth is a great resource for this type of scouting (See below)
- Call around
Call the DNR office in the area you are considering, they might already have some spots that locals have talked to them about. You can also call the marinas in the area you are considering. Depending on what you are fishing for, they may be happy to tell you where those fish are that disrupt their typical angling waters.
- Check Online
There are many online resources to assist in helping you find places to bowfish. The online bowfishing community has always been supportive helping each other with whatever problem they might face, including where to find the fish. Countless online forums and Facebook pages full of archer anglers exist to help in any way they can.
Here is a short list of a few of our favorite resources
- Bowfishing Country Forum
- Bowfishing TV Facebook Groups (State-by-State)
- Bowfishing Questions Facebook Group
#TeamLoxley Tip: Don’t rely solely on the online groups to make your decisions. Use the other tips in this article in combination to ensure you are within the rules of the sport and the local area you will be fishing. Always exercise caution when soliciting information online.
- Know the regulations
You need to know what fish are legal to shoot in your specific area and whether or not you need a license to shoot them. Again, the DNR is your best bet. Most states have this information posted online.
- Be patient
Once you're on the water, look for evidence that fish are present. Is the water calm? Are there ripples? Are there waterfowl in the area? Carp like to cruise along the shoreline in shallow water - especially late in the day. Sometimes your best bet is to stay put and be patient if all of the signs point towards fish being in the area. Be careful not to cast a shadow across the water, fish can and will see it and some species are easily spooked.
- Be flexible
When all else fails, be flexible. If you pick out 3 or 4 spots ahead of time, you'll have the ability to move on if the fish just aren't around at your first few locations.