10 Best Bowfishing Spots In U.S.A.


Step up your fishing game and go beyond the usual fishing rod and reel. To make things exciting, try bowfishing. This method uses a special archery equipment, including bow, arrows, and bowfishing reels for shooting and retrieving a fish. It is quite overwhelming for starters, especially because you need to be precise on your target. More than learning the right skills, it is also important to know the best places to bowfish.

Coastlines, rivers, and lakes are some of the bowfishing hotspots. Water clarity is one of the most important considerations, making it easy to see your target. It is best to do it in a place with shallow water. Go to a designated fishing area and secure licenses if necessary.

Clueless about where to try bowfishing USA? Read on and we’ll list down the best places worth checking out.

Trinity River

When talking about the best places for bowfishing USA, it is impossible to not mention Texas. It is gifted with an abundance of waterways that will make sure your fishing cooler won’t be empty at the end of your trip. Among others, one of the best spots is the Trinity River. With a length of 710 miles, the river provides water to 40% of the residents in the state, especially in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston areas.

The Trinity Alligator is a popular spot for trophy hunts, specifically alligator gar. Other species that are common include common carp, buffalo, drum, and bowfin. If you are looking for an exciting experience, you might also want to consider night bowfishing trip. Regardless, it is almost guaranteed that you will be able to catch a fish, although, this will depend on your skills and equipment.

St. John’s River

With a length of 310 miles, the St. John’s River is the longest river in Florida, making it another great option if you are searching for the best places to bowfish. It also forms a number of large lakes, including Ocala National Forest Lake and Lake George.

There are lots of fishing charters available in St. John’s River, so you don’t have to worry about planning your trip. During the summer season, the lower part of the river is usually shallow, making it easy to see your target. The lakes that form throughout the river are also great places to catch a fish.

As reported by most people who try bowfishing in St. John’s River, some of the most common species present include tilapia, catfish, and bass.

Mississippi River

Known as the granddaddy of American waterways, Mississippi River spans at a length of 2,320 miles, providing endless opportunities to go bowfishing. You can launch your fishing kayak or boat in many spots. It covers ten states, making it undeniably a destination you should not miss.

While you can try bowfishing in almost any spot, keep safe. If you go farther south, the more dangerous treacherous the water becomes. Fish in slack water eddies and bayous for the best outcomes.

In April 2019, two fishermen broke records when they caught the largest alligator gar in the Mississippi River, although, not because of bowfishing. Aside from alligator gar, bowfishing trips in this river will also provide opportunities to take home Asian carp, common carp, buffalo, drum, and paddlefish, among others.

Illinois River

The Illinois River passes through a number of cities, including Ottawa, Peru, Beardstown, Havana, La Salle, and Morris. It is a slow-moving body of water that runs at a total length of 273 miles. At one point, it joins the Mississippi River. Since the 1970s, the river has been one of the favorite spots for anglers. This is especially popular for sauger, largemouth bass, and crappie fishing.

You can expect a high level of success if you choose Illinois River for bowfishing USA. Silver carp, walleyes, and channel catfish are some of the most common species that are abundant in the river.

When bowfishing at Illinois River, it is not necessary that you have a guide. You can do it on your own, as long as you have the right boat with a trolling motor. As soon as you stop your boat, the carps will come rushing. Act fast before you miss them.

St. Lawrence River

The St. Lawrence River is both a part of the Canada and United States depending on the specific portion of the river where you are. It is on the border of New York and Ontario. The total length of the river is 3,058. It is huge, so make sure to use the best portable fish finder to easily find the right place if you want to go fishing.

According to most of the bowfishing enthusiasts who have been to the St. Lawrence River, you can expect an abundance of carp. It is not surprising to have a 40-pound carp during your fishing trip. Being familiar with carp fishing tips is key to making sure that you won’t go home frustrated and without a catch. Drum and suckers are also common.

Louisiana Gulf Coast

Most of you will probably know the Louisiana Gulf Coast for its abundance of alligators. There is no need to be scared to visit this body of water if you are looking for the best places to bowfish. You can run your boat in shallow swamps at a speed of up to 40mph.

The brackish water of the Louisiana Gulf Coast is not only a favorite of alligators but also frequented by saltwater and freshwater bowfishing targets. Since bowfishing is a popular sport in the area, you won’t have a hard time looking for an outfitter. Should you plan a trip here, some of the species you might find include flounder, gar, catfish, redfish, and drum, among others.

Southern California Coast

This place might seem general, but there are plenty of places over the coast of South California where you can try bowfishing. This is unique compared to most of the places that we have mentioned in this post because of one thing – you are targeting sharks. If you are looking for the best places to bowfish and you would like to target Mako and blue sharks, this is where you should go.

Bowfishing sharks, however, is not for everyone. Especially if you are a novice, this is challenging. You will need several arrows before you can finally pin down your target. This is something you won’t be able to do with saltwater spinning reels and spinning rods.

Ohio River

With a length of 981 miles, the Ohio River starts in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and end in Cairo, Illinois. It covers six states, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. More than three million people in these states rely on this river for their drinking water.

A prime spot for bowfishing USA, it houses 164 species of fish. However, take note that carp and catfish caught in the river are advised to be not eaten.

Lake Texoma

Recognized as one of the largest reservoirs in the country, this is another spot that should be included on your list of the best places to bowfish. It is perfect for a multi-day fishing trip as it has huge grounds where you can set up camping tents or sleep in lodges.

Carps, drums, and buffalos are some of the common species you will find in the lake, with many ranging from 5 to 50 pounds in weight. There is also a possibility of spotting an alligator gar, which can weigh up to 200 pounds. This might just be the next place where your trophy catch is!

Bull Shoals Lake

If you ever find yourself in the Ozark Mountains, the Blue Shoals Lake is worth a visit. It offers plenty of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Canoes and kayaks are not uncommon. It is also an excellent spot for bowfishing.

This artificial body of water is a popular spot for bass and walleye fishing. Carp, catfish, gar, and drum are the most common species to target amongst those who go here for bowfishing. The water here is clear, making it easy to see the fish. Also, competition is scarce, so there is a high chance of success.

Globo Surf Overview

Knowing the best places to bowfish will increase the chances that you will end up with a fresh catch at the end of the day. Take note of our suggestions above to know exactly where you should head. Now that you know the best destinations to visit, create a fishing trip checklist and make sure that you have everything you will need to end up with a fresh catch!

More Fishing Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!