Re: NANFA-- fwd: Snakehead or bowfin? (Wildbulletin mailing

R. W. Wolff (
Tue, 18 May 2004 23:00:39 -0500

It has to be known, female bowfin loose that " eye ring/spot" on the tail
while reaching maturity. This being around eight to twelve inches depending
on conditions, or-in-one to two years of age. This progresses on until the
black center is faded away or just looks like part of the dark net like
pattern . So a very large bowfin will not have an eye spot, since males
rarely get over two feet in length. Also very large females often loose the
net like pattern, and are tan, gray , green or other neutral type colors
depending on water clarity and cover types. On the other side, male bowfins
can have many eye spots on the tail, also further confusing identification.
Along with glowing green blue lower fins, jaw and belly. These bright colors
especially-in-spawning time, could lead people to believe it is an escaped
ornamental. This is not to say you will never find a larger female with a
black spot on the upper front tail fin. They are out there.

I worry about this excessive snakehead demonization being a green light to
slaughter bowfins, which are not liked by very many to begin with. Not only
are bowfin great sport fish, but they improve sport fishing by working in
the food chain to the advantage of other large predators. Find bowfin and
you usually have a spot with good fishing for other species.

Bowfin and gar are the most ancient large predatory fish in North America.
It goes to reason the other " game fish" species did just fine along side
these two fish before some decided to label those two trash or rough fish.

Ray W.
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,