What To Do With Carp After Bowfishing? 3 Things You Can Do!

Not sure about what to do with carp after bowfishing?

When you have caught carp from bowfishing, you are not supposed to release it into the water. Catch and release does not apply for bowfishing, so you need to know the next action to take when you have caught your fish.

With all these things in mind, let us take a look at these 3 things that you can do to catch after bowfishing. Learn more about these legal – and even fun – methods that you can easily do. Check them out below!

What To Do With Carp After Bowfishing

When you have caught carp from bowfishing, you are not allowed to toss it back into the water. Unlike other methods of fishing, catch and release does not apply.

Fortunately, there are certain things you can do after you have caught that carp. Here are some creative things you can do with it.

1. Cook It

cook carp

This is a no-brainer thing to do with that carp you have caught. Now that you have caught it, then it’s time to cook and eat it!

But do make sure that you keep your fish alive for a few hours, so it will retain its fresh taste.

Using a filet knife, remove the scales of the dead carp. You can do this by running the knife down its body, starting from the head down to the tail. Press on these scales firmly, which can cause them to be dislodged.

When you have removed the scales, you need to give the fish a rinse. This will help to remove some excess scales that may be left behind.

There are many ways to cook carp. For instance, you may fillet it, which is a bit tricky but the best way to cook and eat the fish.

Start by cutting into the fish meat from right behind its gills. Slick the ribs and backbone using a knife. Do it on both sides and make sure that you keep the intestines intact since damaging these parts will render the fish unsafe to eat.

Another thing you can do to your dead carp before cooking is by simply leaving the skin intact. Some people prefer to keep it while others choose to get rid of this for a much better flavor. Either way, your carp should taste amazing.

And lastly, you can bake your carp in the oven. Grease your oven dish and place the carp fillets inside. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and some herbs. Then, cover the dish with tinfoil to keep the fish moist and juicy. You can also serve the fish with boiled spinach and potatoes if you wish.

2. Smoked Carp

smoked carp

A carp’s flavor may be a hit or miss for some. So, for those who turn up their noses at the smell of carp, smoking these fish should be a great alternative to baking.

What’s good about smoking the carp is that it reduces the oily taste. At the same time, this enhances the flavor, giving it a smoky and savory flavor. You only need your fileted carp and some seasoning to begin smoking.

Speaking of seasoning, you need to get your sauce ready. Among the ingredients you need are lemon juice, pineapple juice, salt, and pepper. Combine these in a bowl and brush it onto your filleted carp.

It usually takes about 10 hours to smoke carp. Put it in the smoker and upon reaching 145 degrees, your carp should be ready. Just take the cooked carp out of your smoker and add some lemon, and it’s ready for munching!

3. Compost

Lastly, for those who are not huge fans of eating carp, you can simply use it as compost. Dead carp is a great fertilizer, which is great for your garden.

But there are certain things you need to do to go about the process correctly. For instance, you should not simply bury the dead carp in the garden. This is almost the same as simply eating your produce straight from a pile of trash!

You need to allow the fish to dry in the sun completely. Once completely dry, you can crush it up. The best thing about allowing the fish to dry is that it also eliminates the stink, or at least keeps it to a minimum.

Otherwise, your compost pile will smell so stinky like a pile of trash that’s rotting. Moreover, heat will also destroy the harmful bacteria and germs in the dead fish, which is something you don’t want in your vegetables.

When you have dried the fish, you can put it right over your soil. Then, add some nutrients, and this should help improve your harvest each time.

Read More: Best Time To Catch Crawfish In Illinois – Tips And Tricks To Boost Your Catch!


Some people may easily assume that tossing dead carp back into the water after gutting it can even serve as food for the other fish.

However, this is strongly prohibited, and you can get charged a ticket that will cost you about $500. Putting dead fish into the water can cause other fish some diseases, as well as littering the water bodies.

Thus, the DNR strongly advises against this action. This is why it is good practice to consider the 3 options we have just shared with you to prevent yourself from any legal concerns with authorities.

Additionally, it is best to take care of the dead carp yourself instead of giving it to your friends and neighbors. If these people are not aware of the right action to do to dead carp, then it may end up being a problem to them.

Hence, you can either cook and eat the carp you have caught after bowfishing or simply use them as compost. Be sure to follow the steps for composting carp not only for best results to your harvest but to prevent the spread of nasty bacteria and germs to your produce.

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