The inaugural “Early Season” for bow fisherman is a success in more ways than one. Not only is its existence a testament to sportsmen who worked for its creation, but fisherman were able to get out and capitalize on the timing.
“This year is the dream season for bowfishing.”
That’s what Matt Kargas from Minnesota Archery Bowfishing (they offer guided bowfishing) said over a frying pan full of eggs one morning in western Minnesota. After the epic night we had the night before, I can understand what he’s talking about.
Last year, I had the chance to ride the Wango Tango for my experience chasing finned creatures with a stick and string. (Read about it in the Summer 2013 issue of MNSJ Magazine). It spawned a summer of patrolling shorelines in search of dust clouds and dorsal fins piercing the surface.
When Kargas invited me out again this year for some hog hunting, I couldn’t pass it up. It was early in the year, the lake hadn’t been fished yet and the weather was finally warm.
I stopped out to Minnesota Archery and met up with Kargas and his bowfishing partner, Jeremy Lewerenz. We’d watch the Wild beat Colorado in overtime, then load up his rig and head to a nearby lake. The wind had died to a manageable level and the stars stretched across the night sky. A short trip with the outboard put us on the fish and soon the stealth approach was in play.
“You’re bowfishing experience is a classic example of people passionate about an aspect of hunting or fishing in Minnesota that made a change,” said Brooks Johnson, president of Minnesota Bowhunters Inc. “Last year you couldn’t bowfish a lake for carp,” this time of year. “It’s wide open now,” Johnson added.
The early season allows you to get on a lake right after ice out, if the ice out takes place prior to the traditional opening date. When the ice comes off, those fish are stacked up, spawning and ready for the taking. You could say it’s like “shooting fish in a barrel.”
Battery-powered LED lights light up the water while a silent troller pulled us through the shallows. Finally a lanky carp appeared in front of the boat, Kargas aimed and was soon 1-1. That began a night of swarming carp, perfect April weather and a boat full of invasive species.
We finished with nearly 50 fish that all weighed between 10 – 35 lbs!
“I’m legitimately worried about the weight of these fish,” Kargas said has we approached the landing at the end of the night. The perfect way to sum up an epic night on the water.
We’ll talk more about this night and bowfishing in general on this weekend’s MNSJ Radio show. If you’d like to go on some guided bowfishing, Minnesota Archery offers it. Call them today at 320-693-2061
The regular bow fishing season opens on April 26th and a Minnesota fishing license is required.