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Geoff 07-14-2003 09:32 PM

New species for me
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I just had to share this one with you guys- I caught it up on a small bay off of Lake Ontario back in June. What a surprise for me. We were fishing for pike when I felt a thump on the deceiver pattern I had tied on. I couldn't figure out what it was at first- a bullhead I thought?- when I got it in I realized what it was - a bowfin!

Has anyone else ever caught one of these on a fly- or at all? I have fished this particular bay/pond quite a bit but never caught anything like it before. The only other time I have seen one was in an aquarium run by the DEC up on the St.Lawrence.

I still can't catch a carp though! :rolleyes:


Dble Haul 07-15-2003 08:33 AM

You've caught a fish that's prehistoric! Can't say that I've ever caught one, but that must have been a truly unique experience.

A rare fish to add to your lifelist. :cool:

Quentin 07-15-2003 01:50 PM

Interesting catch! It's always fun to add a new (or should I say very old?) species to the life list. I remember several years ago someone caught a bowfin while ice fishing in a lake in my town. The species is not native to that lake and they speculated that someone had netted some baitfish from another body of water and got a juvie bowfin in the mix, and then dumped the leftover bait into the lake here. Good thing they didn't release a male and female so they could breed!


fishheadfred 07-17-2003 06:49 PM

i would speculate that Q is right on the money. Certianly not a native fish to your neck of the woods. I have caught a few "dogfish" on the fly before, and they can be tenacious fighters. Western Ky has a healthy bowfin population, especially in inlets and oxbows of the ohio and Mississippi. Eastern Ky has a few in its north fork of the Ky and the Big Sandy, where the water tends to be a lot more tepid than the mountain streams. All and all, still a great catch!!!!!!!!

Geoff 07-18-2003 12:16 PM

Thanks for your comments guys- I did a little search and turned up some info on bowfin. If you are interested I've attached a URL and a couple of clips from the page on bowfin. The first paragraph seems to explain how I caught one - the pond it was in is a bay off of Lake Ontario. I know a fisheries biologist who says they are relatively common up here. The second paragraph describes the fish as being capable of gulping air. --My office mate told me a story about a bowfin he caught years ago- they landed it- got it in the boat where it came of the hook and slithered under the seat. The story goes that 4 hours later the fish was still alive - for all that time no one would reach in to grab it because it would slither out hissing at them! Sounds like a tough fish to me. Fortunately the one I caught was a bit more docile!

Millions of years ago the family Amiidae contained many species and had nearly a global distribution. Gradually members of this very ancient lineage became extinct until today only a single species, Amia calva, remains. Amia's distribution is restricted to North America, covering the majority of the Mississippi basin, extending east along the Gulf Coast, covereing the entire peninsula of Florida and extending north up the Atlantic Coast to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey section of the Delaware River. As with many North American aquatics, Amia migrated east through the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River basin into Lake Champlain.

Amia is an easily recognized fish. It has a single continuous dorsal fin that runs from the mid-body almost to the tail. Amia's tail has a single lobe and appears to be nearly circular. There is frequently a black spot at the base of the tail near the dorsal edge. Amia has a rather large head with two barbels projecting anteriorly from its nose. Unlike most of the other fish Amia's swim bladder functions much like a lung, allowing this fish to gulp air when dissolved oxygen levels become dangerously low in the weed beds where it lives.

fishheadfred 07-29-2003 01:35 PM

very interesting. I had no idea that they were, in a word, "native" to that area. I had always placed a dogfish as a warmer water creature. Just shows that I don't know everything! Still a catch of a lifetime!!!

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