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Texas Fish Species

Alligator Gar
American Eel
Atlantic Croaker
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
Bigmouth Buffalo
Black Buffalo
Black Bullhead
Black Crappie
Black Drum
Blackstripe Topminnow
Blacktail Shiner
Blue Catfish
Blue Tilapia
Bluegill
Bowfin
Chain Pickerel
Channel Catfish
Common Carp
Creek Chubsucker
Flathead Catfish
Flathead Chub
Freshwater Drum
Gizzard Shad
Golden Shiner
Goldeye
Goldfish
Grass Carp
Gray Redhorse
Green Sunfish
Guadalupe Bass
Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto)
Inland Silverside
Ladyfish
Lake Chubsucker
Largemouth Bass
Longear Sunfish
Longnose Gar
Longnose Sucker
Northern Pike
Orangespotted Sunfish
Paddlefish
Rainbow Trout
Red Drum
Red-bellied Pacu
Redbreast Sunfish
Redear Sunfish
Redfin Pickerel
Redspotted Sunfish
Rio Grande Cichlid
River Carpsucker
Rock Bass
Shortnose Gar
Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Buffalo
Spotted Bass
Spotted Gar
Spotted Sucker
Spotted Sunfish
Striped Bass
Striped Mullet
Suckermouth Catfish
Sunfish (Bream)
Threadfin Shad
Walleye
Warmouth
White Bass
White Crappie
Yellow Bass
Yellow Bullhead

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FishExplorer Lakes with Bowfin
FishExplorer Rivers with Bowfin
Only lakes in the Fish Explorer database are included in this listing. Lakes we feature on this website are hyperlinked.
Bowfin
Bowfins, an ancient fish, are found throughout eastern North America, generally in slow-moving backwaters, canals and ox-bow lakes throughout the Eastern US, the Mississippi river and its tributaries, and in the south as far west as Texas.  They have the ability to gulp air into its blood lined swim bladder, which can serve as a lung. Tolerate of silt and mud, Bowfin survive in warm, stagnant water by breathing air.
 
One distinctive characteristic of the bowfin is its very long dorsal fin consisting running mid-back to the base of the tail. Another noticeable feature is the black "eye spot.” Bowfin have a bony plate on the exterior of the lower jaw referred to as a gular plate. Body color runs from mottled olive green or light brown topside, fading to a light green on the side and white underneath. Their large mouths possess sharp, canine teeth. Bowfins reach lengths of 24 inches.
 
Bowfins spawn in the spring in nests the male builds by biting off vegetation in two feet areas.  After the female lays her eggs, the males vigorously defends the nest. When the eggs hatch, young bowfins cling to the bottom, and then as they age they follow the male for a few weeks.
 
Young bowfins dine on phytoplankton, zooplankton, and insects. Adults are voracious fish eaters, but they are known to eat crayfish, small rodents, snakes, turtles, and leeches.  Bowfins are generally unappreciated by anglers and typically regarded as trash fish.  While they will occasionally take lures, they are most often caught with live or cut fishes. These should be handled with care due to their sharp teeth and attempts at biting anyone handling them.

Bowfin in Texas

Description
Amia is a Greek name for an unidentified fish, probably the bonito, and calva is Latin meaning "smooth," referring perhaps to the fish's scaleless head. The bowfin has a large mouth equipped with many sharp teeth. Its large head has no scales. The dorsal fin is long, extending more than half the length of the back, and contains more than 45 rays. None of the fins have spines. The tail is rounded, and the backbone extends part way into it. There is a barbel-like flap associated with each nostril. The back is mottled olive green shading to lighter green on the belly. There is a difference in color among the fins. The dorsal is dark green, while all others are light green (coinciding perhaps with overall body color changes). Young fish have a distinctive black spot near the base of the upper portions of the tail fin. The spot is usually margined with yellow or orange. Although it persists in adult fish, it is less prominent in females.
 
Life History
Bowfins spawn in the late spring. Nests are constructed by males in shallow, weedy areas. Vegetation and silt are removed from the nest by males and the adhesive eggs attach to any hard structure that is left, such as roots, gravel, wood, etc. Eggs hatch in 8-10 days. Males guard both incubating eggs and fry which may remain in the nest for about nine days after hatching. Initially, bowfin young feed on small invertebrates such as cladocerans (water fleas). By the time they reach about four inches in length they are primarily piscivorous, although crayfish can make up a substantial proportion of the diet, and frogs are also consumed. Young fish may grow as much as 12-14 inches during their first year. Bowfins tend to be found in deeper water during the day, and migrate into shallower areas used to feed at night. Their swim bladder is used as a lung and they may be seen surfacing to renew their air supply from time to time. In general, the average size in Texas is six to eight pounds.
 
Distribution
In Texas the species is found in the Red River, San Jacinto River and Sabine River systems, as well as the downstream reaches of the Brazos and Colorado rivers.

Other
Although bowfins are not usually sought after in Texas, it is generally acknowledged that once hooked they are excellent fighters. Indeed, some anglers relish the thought of hooking a bowfin. Relative to consumption, bowfins are typically considered a rough fish rather than one for the table.

Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife
Most Recent Bowfin Forum Posts
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Bowfin Articles, Blogs, & Podcasts
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Blog: Take Your Time 04.12.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Spring (Rebirth) New podcasts coming Soon! 04.11.12 by Tim Emery
Blog: It's your fault! 02.21.12 by Tim Emery
Blog: 4 Apps Every Angler With A Smartphone Should Use 02.09.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: Clouser Pattern Detailed - New Article 12.16.11 by Matt Snider
Blog: Become a pro 09.30.11 by Joshua Christensen
Texas Bowfin Photos by Fish Explorer Members
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Recent TX Condition Updates
Lake Livingston04.09.14
Lake Livingston04.07.14
Eagle Mountain Lake04.05.14
Eagle Mountain Lake04.02.14
Belton Lake03.31.14
Caddo Lake03.31.14
Lake Fork Reservoir03.31.14
Lake Tawakoni03.31.14
View lakes needing updates...