Bowfishing for Carp on the Snake River and CJ Strike Reservoir: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction |
Essential Equipment |
Choosing Your Location |
Bowfishing Techniques |
Pro Tips |


If you’re seeking a unique outdoor experience, combining the precision of archery with the challenge of fishing, then bowfishing for carp on Idaho’s Snake River and CJ Strike Reservoir could be your new favorite hobby. It’s not just the breathtaking beauty of these locations that draws bowfishers from far and wide, but also the abundant carp populations, making for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Essential Equipment

Your bowfishing equipment forms the backbone of your experience. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bow: Both recurve and compound bows work well. Your choice should be guided by your comfort level and experience.
  • Arrows: Bowfishing arrows are typically made of heavy-duty fiberglass or carbon fiber. Unlike their regular counterparts, these arrows are heavier, allowing them to penetrate the water efficiently.
  • Reel: You’ll need a reel attached to your bow to retrieve your arrow after shooting. There are different types available, including the spin-cast reel and the retriever reel.
  • Arrow Rest: Given the weight of bowfishing arrows, a durable arrow rest is essential. A roller or whisker biscuit type rest will do an excellent job.
  • Line: There are all kinds of bowfishing lines out there. Check out Carp Cartel’s selection and contact them if you have any questions.
  • If you are in need of help when selecting bowfishing equipment contact the great guys at Carp Cartel.

Choosing Your Location

The Snake River and CJ Strike Reservoir are among the most productive bowfishing locations in Idaho. Both offer healthy carp populations. Knowing where to go within these vast waters can significantly impact your success. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Accessibility: Opt for spots that are easily reachable. Some areas might require a boat to access.
  • Water Clarity: Clearer water makes it easier to spot and aim at the fish.
  • Fish Activity: Areas with noticeable fish activity are always a good bet. Look for splashing or disturbances on the water surface.

Bowfishing Techniques

In bowfishing, there are two primary techniques you can utilize: spot and stalk, and still hunting. Spot and stalk involve slowly moving along the shoreline or on your boat, scanning the water for any signs of carp. On the other hand, still hunting requires you to station yourself in a promising spot and wait for the carp to come within shooting range.

Remember that light refraction can play tricks on your eyes when aiming. Carp might appear closer to the surface than they actually are. So, aim slightly below your target to increase your chance of a successful hit. This trick is often called “aiming low.”

Pro Tips

While the basics will get you started, these pro tips can take your bowfishing experience to the next level:

  • Practice Shooting: Practice makes perfect. Try to practice your shots in different water conditions to improve your aiming skills.
  • Safety Measures: Always be aware of your surroundings when shooting. Never aim towards people, boats, or personal property.
  • Clean Up: Don’t forget to retrieve all your arrows, and never leave fish remains behind.
  • Learn from Others: Join a local bowfishing community. More experienced bowfishers can provide valuable insights and may know the best spots that aren’t well-known. Or take a come along on a guided bowfishing trip near Bosie Idaho!


Is a fishing license required for bowfishing?

Yes, in most places, including Idaho, a fishing license is required for bowfishing. Always check local regulations before heading out.

What’s the best time for bowfishing?

While you can bowfish at any time of day, many bowfishers prefer the early morning or late evening when carp are more active. Night bowfishing is also popular, often involving the use of floodlights to illuminate the water.

Can I bowfish from a boat?

Absolutely. Bowfishing from a boat can provide access to areas that aren’t reachable from the shore. Some bowfishers even customize their boats with raised platforms to get a better vantage point.

So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to bowfishing for carp on the Snake River and CJ Strike Reservoir. Remember to be patient and practice your shots. Before you know it, you’ll be pulling in carp with the best of them. Enjoy your time on the water, and shoot straight!

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