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NEW STATE-RECORD BOWFIN CAUGHT IN CONNECTICUT

Another large bowfin was recently landed in Connecticut waters, making this the 3rd time the state’s record has been eclipsed in 2019 alone.
By Toby Lapinski  |  October 1, 2019
NEW STATE-RECORD BOWFIN CAUGHT IN CONNECTICUT
Jack Dugay landed a 9-pound, 29.5-inch bowfin while fishing the Connecticut River in Glastonbury. (Photo courtesy of CT DEEP)

2019 may go down as the “year of the record bowfin” in Connecticut as the top spot has been eclipsed several times already. The most recent catch, at least as of the time of this printing, was made on September 15 when angler Jack Dugay landed a 9-pound, 29.5-inch bowfin while fishing the Connecticut River in Glastonbury.

Bowfin are native to North America and range throughout most of eastern United States from the Mississippi River drainage to the St. Lawrence River drainage in the north and from central Texas to Florida in the south. They are not native to the Atlantic coastal states north of Virginia.

In Connecticut, bowfin were illegally introduced into a private pond in Wolcott in 1976. Although this population was eradicated the following year, bowfins were caught in gill nets in the Scoville Reservoir (Wolcott) in 1980, and a single specimen in Chapman’s Pond, a cove of the Connecticut River (East Haddam) in 1987.

Bowfin prefer shallow, weedy lakes and slow moving rivers. Spawning occurs in the early spring when water temperatures reach 60-66 F, and males guard the nest and young until they reach about 4 inches in length. Like many species that offer parental care, male bowfin are very aggressive during this time, consequently they are easier to catch on hook and line. Bowfin grow quickly, reaching 16 inches in about two years. Reports of catching 25- to 30-inch fish from the Connecticut River are becoming more and more common. It is legal to fish and keep bowfin (dead – possession of live fish is prohibited.)

For more information, please visit www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.

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