Anderson: A nighttime bowfishing prowl for carp

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 29, 2013 - 10:50 PM

As darkness falls, some Minnesota bowhunters take up an increasing popular activity, piercing the night and laying waste to the lowly carp.

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Bowfishing for carp, Pete Luke, left, and Cole Anderson prowled a lake near Princeton, Minn., on Wednesday night. The sport has become increasingly popular since night bowfishing was legalized beginning in 2008.

Photo: Photos by Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com,

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Men of the night, bowfishermen often launch their watercraft while other boaters are leaving lakes, their water skiing or tubing or fishing completed for the day.

Such was the scene Wednesday evening, when Pete Luke and I, along with my son Cole, motored quietly from the public access on a lake not far from this town just north of the Twin Cities.

The warm air was summerlike, and a clearing sky suggested the evening would be dry.

A good night to hunt carp.

“It’s been a pretty good spring on this lake,’’ Pete said.

A lifelong bowfisherman, Pete enjoys few activities more than standing on the shooting deck of his big Alumacraft john boat, with its powerful lights illuminating the waters just ahead.

Now, with bow in hand and darkness approaching, he did just that, stepping up to the bow perch, and I along with him, and Cole, too.

From this vantage point, the evening appeared still more beautiful, and we glided through the water, a bow-mounted electric trolling motor pulling us ahead, with a half-circle of the lake bottom brightened off the bow.

Peering into the shallow water as if looking into an aquarium, we soon saw a largemouth bass hanging to the left, a sunfish to the right, both motionless.

Pretty, yes. But neither presented itself as regally — an odd word to use here — as the common carp we encountered next.

There.

This was a big fish, its oversized scales visible along its back, the entire carp appearing golden in the boat’s floodlights.

A bad actor by all measures, the carp causes many problems for many people, and also for other species of fish and wildlife.

It overproduces, for example, muddying lake bottoms, stunting plant growth and reducing fish diversity.

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