I have heard several reports of anglers targeting panfish in shallow water and ending up hooking Bowfin. Bowfin that are often called “Dogfish” are common throughout the Great Lakes watershed and during spring inhabit the same shallow water as panfish, pike and bass.
Our good friends the Grdosic family recently took advantage of spring conditions and targeted pan-frying size Pumpkinseed. The caught lots of them but also ran into several Bowfin.
Bowfin average 2-5 lb. but it’s not uncommon to catch fish up to 10 lb.
Most anglers hook Bowfin unintentionally while targeting other species. It’s common to stumble onto a shallow flat that has many Bowfin either swimming or just laying in the shallows. If you keep your eyes open and the water is clear you can usually spot he undulating dorsal fin of fish swimming slowly or laying on the bottom. Bowfin are very opportunistic and predatorial and will strike at most lures. Once I’ve found a Bowfin area I usually focus on using soft-plastic on jigs to entice them to strike. When they do, they are excellent fighters.