Far removed from the picturesque mountain streams of the Appalachians or the choppy gray waters of the Great Lakes, swamps are usually not high on the typical fisherman's list of fishing destinations. However, anglers are a strange breed; wherever there is a body of water containing fish, there will be fishermen trying to hook them.
Swamp fishing is a unique experience which must be tried in order to be appreciated. To the uninitiated, swamps are deemed as mosquito-infested bogs where one runs the risk of being mauled by an alligator. But to swamp fishing enthusiasts, swamps are exciting places to fish, because one never knows what might be lurking in the depths of the water. Swamps are also a haven for a large number of animal species, ensuring that a swamp fishing expedition will be full of nature and wildlife.
So what kind of fish can you expect to catch in a swamp? Since most American swamps are found in Southern states, it is very unlikely to find any cold-water species, such as trout or pike. Swamps also contain a large amount of decaying plant matter, resulting in waters that are too acidic for many species of fish. In fact, even some hardy species have trouble surviving in swampy waters. As a result, fish populations are usually much lower in swamps in comparison to lakes and reservoirs.
Bass are commonly caught in swamp waters, because bass have a higher tolerance for acidic water and also because swamps are teeming with amphibians, which are favorite foods for bass. Chain pickerels are also common in swamps. Pickerels, which are exceptional fighters, love to congregate in grassy waters. Chain pickerels are a great game fish because of the sheer tenacity of their strikes.
Another common species found in the swamp is the bowfin, which is a rather ugly creature sometimes referred to as the "swamp muskie". Bowfins are known for their ornery disposition as well as their powerful jaws, and they are not fun to handle because they have a reputation for biting anything within biting distance. While some anglers target this species, most fisherman consider bowfins to be a "trash" fish.
Catfish can sometimes be found in swamps, as well crappies and bream. In addition to crappies, several species of panfish can be found in swamplands, most notably the redbreasted sunfish and the bluegill.
Of all the fish species which can be found in swamps, catfish can grow to the largest size, although not all swamps are hospitable to catfish species. Pickerel and bass caught in a swamp can sometimes exceed ten pounds, but these cases are rare.