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Florida Fish Species

Alligator Gar
American Eel
American Shad
Atlantic Croaker
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
Black Bullhead
Black Crappie
Black Drum
Blue Catfish
Blue Tilapia
Brown Bullhead
Brown Hoplo
Chain Pickerel
Channel Catfish
Clown Knifefish
Common Carp
Flathead Catfish
Florida Gar
Gizzard Shad
Golden Shiner
Grass Carp
Green Sunfish
Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto)
Inland Silverside
Lake Chubsucker
Largemouth Bass
Longnose Gar
Longnose Sucker
Mayan Cichlid
Mozambique Tilapia
Peacock Bass
Red Drum
Redbreast Sunfish
Redear Sunfish
Redfin Pickerel
Redspotted Sunfish
Shoal Bass
Spotted Bass
Spotted Sunfish
Spotted Tilapia
Striped Bass
Striped Mullet
Suckermouth Catfish
Sunfish (Bream)
Suwannee Bass
Threadfin Shad
White Bass
White Catfish
Yellow Bullhead

View another fish:
FishExplorer Lakes with Bowfin
Lake Alfred
Alligator Lake
Lake Apopka
Lake Ariana
Lake Baldwin
Bay Lake
Bear Lake
Lake Beauclair
Big Sand Lake
Black Lake
Lake Blue Cypress
Lake Bryant
Lake Buffum
Butler Chain
Lake Cannon
Lake Carlton
Cat Lake
Center Lake
Clear Lake
Lake Clinch
Lake Conlin
Lake Conway
Crescent Lake
Crews Lake
Crooked Lake
Cypress Lake
Dead Lakes
Lake Denham
Lake Dexter
Lake Dias
Lake Disston
Doctors Lake
Lake Dora
Lake Dorr
Eagle Lake
East Lake Tohopekaliga
Edward Medard Reservoir
Ella Lake
Lake Eloise
Lake Eustis
Lake Fairview
Lake Fannie
Lake Geneva
Lake Gentry
Lake George
Lake Griffin
Lake Haines
Lake Hamilton
Lake Hancock
Lake Harney
Lake Harris
Lake Hart
Lake Hartridge
Lake Hatchineha
Lake Hellen Blazes
Holly Lake
Lake Howard
Lake Ida
Lake Idylwild
Lake Istokpoga
Lake Ivanhoe
Lake Jackson (Sebring)
Lake Jackson (Tallahassee)
Lake Jesup
John's Lake
Lake Josephine
Lake June-in-Winter
Kenansville Lake
Lake Kerr
Lake Kissimmee
Lake Lawne
Little Lake Harris
Lake Lizzie
Loughman Lake
Lake Louisa
Lake Marian
Lake Mary Jane
Lake Mattie
Lake McLeod
Merritts Mill Pond
Lake Minnehaha
Lake Minneola
Lake Miona
Lake Monroe
Newnans Lake
Lake Okeechobee
Lake Osborne
Lake Panasoffkee
Lake Parker
Lake Pierce
Lake Placid
Lake Poinsett
Puzzle Lake
Lake Reedy
Lake Rochelle
Rodman Reservoir
Lake Rousseau
Lake Santa Fe
Sawgrass Lake
Sellers Lake
Lake Seminole
Shipp Lake
South Lake
Starke Lake
Stick Marsh
Lake Summit
Lake Talquin
Tenoroc Lakes
Lake Thonotosassa
Lake Tibet
Tiger Lake
Lake Tohopekaliga
Lake Trafford
Trout Lake (Osceola Cty)
Tsala Apopka Chain
Turkey Lake
Lake Underhill
Ward Lake (Bill Evers Reservoir)
Lake Washington
Lake Weir
Lake Weohyakapka
Wildcat Lake
Lake Winder
Lake Woodruff
Lake Yale
FishExplorer Rivers with Bowfin
Only lakes in the Fish Explorer database are included in this listing. Lakes we feature on this website are hyperlinked.
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 Florida

Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Appearance:  The bowfin is the only living representative of an ancient family of fishes. It has an air-bladder that functions like a lung, and can be seen gulping air. They have a long, stout body; big mouth with small, sharp teeth; long dorsal and rounded tail fin. Males have a dark spot with a bright orange halo on the tail fin. The spot is absent or inconspicuous on females.
Habitat: Prefers swamps, or backwaters of lowland streams. They live in warm, poorly oxygenated waters.
Behavior: Males clear a nest among heavy vegetation. Eggs are laid at night and males guard them. Larvae use an adhesive organ to anchor themselves.
State Record: 19.0 lbs. Big Catch: 30 inches or 10 lbs.
Fishing Tips and Facts: Bass anglers are often surprised to find a bowfin has taken their lure. Mudfish strike topwater and deep-running lures but are most often caught on live bait. It is a better fighter, than some highly rated game fish. The flesh is jelly-like, but can be prepared smoked, fried as patties or stewed.
Most Recent Bowfin Forum Posts
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Bowfin Articles, Blogs, & Podcasts
Blog: Boomerang Tool Co. Grip 11.07.12 by Joshua Christensen
Blog: DIY No Drill Removable Kayak Fish FInder 09.29.12 by Joshua Christensen
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
Recent Florida Bowfin Photos by Fish Explorer Members
by JJCat - 4 pound 4 ounce Bowfin, just under 20 inches long.  Caught in the connecting Lake Rowell mid-afternoon. by Dougwa - What a fighter..  Pulled him out of the stick-ups... by GatorGrip - Massive Mudfish caught on a small little known in North Florida by floating a small sunfish. Hit like a freight train and fought all the way to the bank. No weight or measurement was possible at the time but not too far off from the state record…As 99% of my angling it was a catch and release to fight another day. by Fishing Bob - by Fishing Bob - by BASSADDICT - Be sure to bring extra spinnerbaits!  These bowfin are destructive!