Top 5 USA Places for a Bowfishing Trip

If you are a fan of fishing and an enthusiast of shooting a crossbow, you are going to love bowfishing! Bowfishing allows you to use specially modified archery equipment to partake in your favorite fishing activities. There are many places to enjoy this adventurous sport – let’s take a look at a few.

What is Bowfishing?

This fishing sport may be rare but it is a lot of fun! Imagine the opportunity to shoot your fish with a crossbow armed with barbed arrowheads.

These arrowheads are attached to your fishing line and reel that is kept on the boat. When the fish is shot, simply reel it in using the specialized tools. This isn’t your quiet day on the lake kind of fishing. This is geared more towards an active and rugged sportsman.

Equipment Needed for Bowfishing

The list of equipment you need isn’t extensive. The simple list is a great place to start.

  • Bows - These can be simple. You can choose from a traditional bow which includes the long or recurve models. It is also possible to use a compound bow or crossbow.
  • Arrows - They will contain three prongs with barbed points. They are stronger and heavier than other types of archery arrows.
  • Reels - Most commonly used are the spin cast, hand-wrap or retriever reels. The hand-wrap is the simplest choice but can be the least effective when fighting a fish.
  • Line - This will be made from braided Dacron, Spectra or nylon. The line color will be either white, lime-green or neon orange.
  • Glasses - You must have the best visual of the target as possible. When fishing on a sunny day, polarized glasses will be the best bet. This cuts down the glare from the water and makes it much easier to see what’s going on below the surface. If you are fishing at night, glasses aren’t as important as you use lights to see through the waters.

Where Can You Bowfish?

Each state has its own regulations on where bowfishing is allowed and what the particular rules are. Please seek out the codes and guidelines set out by your state before venturing on the next bowfishing trip.

Pros of Bowfishing

  • Great fun with friends
  • Provides a greater adventure
  • Athletic and adventurous sport
  • Offers a different challenge

Cons of Bowfishing

  • Equipment can be pricey
  • Must be able to pull back a bow with a draw weight of 15-pounds for proper penetration.

Best 5 Places in the USA for Bowfishing Trip

Now that you have an understanding of the basics of bowfishing, it is time to get out there and give it a try! Consider one of these places in the USA for a fun bowfishing trip.

Trinity River, Texas

It is no surprise that Texas has ended up on our list. That’s because Texas is filled with great places to bowfish.

Specifically, when you are looking to shoot an alligator gar, you’ll want to head off to the Trinity River. It is a 710-mile long river located in Texas. On top of that, it is the longest river with its entire watershed within the state of Texas.

Alligator gar isn’t all you’ll find. It is also a great place to shoot common carp, drum, bowfin and Buffalo.

Mississippi River

When you talk about American waterways, the Mississippi is one that everyone knows about. It is a fantastic place to fish for just about anything.

If I had to choose one area throughout the river’s 2,320 miles of adventure to crossbow fish from, I wouldn’t be able too. There are just too many great spots! No matter where you decide to launch your boat from, you are sure to enjoy some of the best bowfishing.

The further south you can travel, the larger the main river channel becomes. Keep in mind that this means it will be more dangerous as well. When you are fishing at night, you’ll want to be experienced. This isn’t for the faint of heart.

To find the best spots, keep your eye out for areas with slack water eddies. Another key place to look is the bayous where rough fish will stack up. In the Mississippi, you can find Alligator gar, paddlefish, Asian carp, buffalo, common carp and drum.

Florida’s Gulf Coast

All the way from Panama City to the Florida Keys, you are going to find some amazing bowfishing locations.

With the warm temperatures and sandy beaches, you can make a vacation out of any destination in the area. Many people will use the trip as a reason to escape the northern winters.

In the Gulf, there is a wide array of saltwater fish just waiting for you to catch. The sheer excitement and thrill of this trip make every moment worthwhile.

Before you head off on such an exciting adventure, check this post on A Smarter Tip if you want a list about the fastest crossbows to choose from.

Some of the best fishing you can do in the Gulf is for sheepshead, catfish, drum, spade fish, stingray, mullet and flounder.

Lake Michigan

While great fishing can be found just about anywhere in this Great Lake, your best bet is on the south shore.

This area provides the warmer weather needed as well as some amazing beaches for relaxation. When you arrive at the steel mill stretch of the shore, you’ll notice that it is sectioned off into bays and harbors. All of these are filled with fish ready to give you a little adventure.

Use a boat if you prefer that method, but don’t discount the fun that shooting from rock walls can offer. Some of the most common fish to find here include the buffalo, common carp and drum.

Missouri River

The Missouri is the longest river in North America, spanning from Montana to the Mississippi River in St. Louis. While you can find amazing fishing opportunities throughout this long stretch, you want to head to the area between Kansas City to St. Louis.


This is big-river bowfishing area! Ask any bowfishing enthusiast and you will be told that this is the place to be! Don’t take the area lightly. It is a powerful and strong waterway meant only for the experienced.

The fish also understand the strength, that’s why you’ll find them behind wing dikes, at the confluences of small creeks and rivers as well as in large eddies. Some of the best fish to hunt here will be the Asian carp, Gar, common carp and paddlefish.


No matter where you choose to take your next bowfishing adventure, take time to enjoy yourself. It can be a great time of adventure and excitement, especially when shared with friends.

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Hey! Grant Chambers here, I have a huge passion with everything to do with Game Hunting and Outdoors. Over the years gone by I have learnt a huge amount through Hunting as a Hobby. I want to share all my knowledge of anything hunting related through my website


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