Bowfin, the little known “Dogfish”.

Posted on May 26th, 2021

Every once and a while an angler in southern Ontario will hook this prehistoric looking fish referred by many people as a Dogfish. It’s true name is the Bowfin and it’s common to many southern Ontario waters.

They are usually accidentally caught while fishing for other species of fish like bass, pike and walleye. I have caught them using live frogs for Largemouth Bass in the reeds, flippin’ jigs under floating cattail mats, casting spinnerbaits to shorelines and fishing soft-plastics. They will usually feed in shallow water looking predominantly for crayfish. Some of their favorite hunting areas are in-between cattails that are in 1-3′ water, shallow mud bays, shallow-water quantic vegetation.


Anglers usually run into them fishing shallow water and in May/June it’s common to see them stationary or slowly moving over aquatic vegetation in 2-5′ water. I have caught many but released all of them. I checked the internet and it looks like many anglers have eaten them and they stated that if you cook them up fresh they taste pretty good. Beware when handling them, they have quite a set of teeth and their body is very firm which can make them challenging to hold on to.

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