Bowfishing with a twist — silver carp

The Internet keeps tempting me with stories about hunting and fishing trips I feel like I have to experience for myself. And it’s doing it again.

I’ve got to figure out when and where to go to bowfish for silver Asian carp. I loved bowfishing for carp when I was a kid; I’m an avid bowhunter now; and I absolutely live for wingshooting. Bowfishing for silver Asian carp combine all three activities into one.

If you’re not familiar with them, Asian carp are an invasive species that have been introduced to a number of lakes and rivers around the country. Because they’re not native, and because they’re big and hungry, they quickly gobble up much of the plankton in the waters they inhabit. The native fish that rely on this plankton are outcompeted, and their numbers continue to decline. Fisheries biologists don’t want them in the water; sport fishermen don’t want them; and the native fish certainly don’t want them.

But bowfishermen love them. Because they’re invasive, there’s no limit on them. And better yet, they don’t just swim around under the water. The silvers jump several feet over the surface, giving you the chance to shoot them like you would a pheasant or a grouse. Like I said, it’s a combination of bowfishing, bowhunting, and bird hunting.

I don’t know if there’s a certain time of year when they are most likely to shoot out of the water like big, silver, fish-shaped missiles, but I’m determined to find out. And hopefully, next time the flying silver Asian carp season rolls around, I can afford a trip to Lake Peoria in Illinois to try my hand at aerial bowfishing.

These aerobatic invasives are now common in most of the waters around the Great Lakes, and they tend to congregate in the tailraces below dams.

I plan to set up my spare bow for bowfishing, and save my pennies until next spring. Or summer. Or fall. Whenever the best season for flying carp is. Let me know if you want to come, too.