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What are your thoughts on Common Carp in America?


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#1 strat guy

strat guy
  • NANFA Guest
  • Orland Park, IL

Posted 30 June 2015 - 10:24 PM

I'm wondering what you guys all think about the impact of Commons on our waterways. I'm an avid carp fisherman and support the Carp Angler's Group, and think that commons are non-detrimental. With the big asian carp boom, there have been a lot of bow fishing guys that are just cleaning out a lot of systems of commons, thinking that anything that's exotic is undesirable altogether. I personally am against that, I think they're great sport fish. What do you guys think?


120 low tech native planted - Blackstriped Topminnow, Central Stoneroller, Fathead minnow, Golden Shiner, Black chin shiner, Carmine Shiner, Emerald Shiner, Sand Shiner, Spotfin Shiner, Orangethroat darter, Johnny Darter, and Banded Darter.


#2 dac343

dac343
  • NANFA Guest

Posted 30 June 2015 - 10:57 PM

There are plenty of studies that indicate common carp have detrimental effects on habitat. As has happened in other locations (Goldfish in Madagascar being called Madagascar fish by locals) carp have been here long enough that people accept them and think of them as a natural part of the landscape and thus should be there. Obviously you have probably guessed that I do not relish the idea of promoting carp as a desirable fish in our waters. Some states promote them as a sport fish/tournament event but the bottom line is it provides additional revenue for the agency.
David Cravens

#3 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 30 June 2015 - 11:01 PM

At this point they are not a huge deal in my opinion, mostly because we cannot eradicate them. Others with more data, may tell you a very different story. I am sure the cause some impact from adding silt to the water while feeding, and clogging up native fish nests. Of course they also compete for food to some degree and I think they also strip nests of eggs.

 

 They are the lesser of all the carp evils. Should they be here? No. They are, and are here to stay, so make use of them. Take steps to preserve them, no, shoot them like any other carp. I would like to see bowfisherman stick with carp, and stay off of suckers and gar. But surely they are not as bad as Asian carp.

 

  I think the thing is here, that most of us view them as invasive, and non-native even though they have been here for quite some time. So most NANFA members have no love for them. I only speak for myself, but if I could hit the refresh button and have no common carp in the US I would have hit it yesterday.

 

  All that being said, I have fished for them on occasion. They do fight quite well, and since they are here to stay, I may go carp fishing again sooner or later. But I wish that our ancestors had left them and brown trout back in the countries that they belong in. God- Mother nature, whatever you are in to had it right in the first place. Man tends to screw it up.

 

  How often do you see a gray fox nowadays? Not often as the red fox that our forefathers brought over because they were more sporting have out competed them.

 

  Enough of my rant, and I cannot give you data that says that common carp are bad for our ecosystems. But, I bet someone else will be able to give you some..


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#4 centrarchid

centrarchid
  • NANFA Member

Posted 30 June 2015 - 11:44 PM

They are here to stay.  I would be surprised if population structure not already reflecting localized adaptions.  Birds of similar origins already showing such.


Find ways for people not already interested in natives to value them.

#5 centrarchid

centrarchid
  • NANFA Member

Posted 30 June 2015 - 11:48 PM

https://www.google.c..._R3X0Dlpam47VU=


Find ways for people not already interested in natives to value them.

#6 butch

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  • NANFA Guest

Posted 01 July 2015 - 07:41 AM

Here, we have a huge problem with common carps being overpopulated in several lakes where they starts to depleted all natural resources for the fish community. They are detrimental fish and highly undesirable. We have carp removal programs.

#7 FirstChAoS

FirstChAoS
  • Regional Rep

Posted 01 July 2015 - 08:14 AM

I never caught a carp while fishing (I want to, but they avoid my bait) but I agree they do not belong here.

 

I looked up the damage they do, and it seems some lakes in the midwest experienced declines in gamefish, panfish, and vegetation that creates a habitat for fish and waterfowl.

 

Oddly enough they are one of the few fish I haven't read up on being destructive in New England. (though I wouldn't be surprised if they are). I guess when your ecosystem is already trashed for hydro power and game fish you reach a point where it is tough to do worse with it, :)

 

But as I said they have been destructive in places and do not belong in our waters, but it is too late to remove them.

 

Carp: as a noun it is a fish, a verb it is complaining, on the NANFA facebook it has been both at once. :)


Edited by FirstChAoS, 01 July 2015 - 08:21 AM.


#8 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 01 July 2015 - 08:50 AM

At this point they sadly aren't going away which I've accepted. However they are a great sport fish which I target very often and admittedly I do release all the commons I catch. To me they're better than round gobies or snakehead because carp aren't really predators and while they may compete for food with Catostomids, they don't wipe out entire darter populations like gobies have in the Great Lakes. Then again, if I'm at the river trying to catch something to use as bait for catfish later, and I caught a carp and a buffalo, I'd cut up the carp and release the buffalo without having to think about it. The real problem is when are populations explode to unbelievable numbers. For example, in my local creek the bulk of the carp population sun bathe under a bridge in the delayed harvest area because they can't be targeted with bait, the water is warm, the terrestrial food is abundant, and the current is slack. There's about 6-12 carp under the bridge from late spring to early fall. Other than there I've found one or two in other parts of the creek in my entire life and they don't seem to be doing much the native populations in this example. An opposite example would be Pymatuning Lake in northwest PA. This is my third favorite carp fishing spot but the spillway is full of literally thousands of carp stacked on top of each other in a small area only 3' or so deep. Half the carp have their backs sticking out of the water because there's no room left in the water! They're all here because people throw in bread and pellets every day with the fish commission's approval. It worries me how many carp there are because pymatuning also contains a Quillback population which I fear is having to compete with the carp, and personally I'm all for our native suckers as much as most fishermen don't care for them. This situation just goes to show that commons can easily overpopulate if they have access to enough food and suitable habitat. So to summarize, I have a mixed opinion on commons in the US.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#9 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 01 July 2015 - 09:16 AM

Strat guy, since you're in Illinois, you should take a day trip down to Hennepin-Hopper Lake near the town of Hennepin.  They drained it completely a few years ago, rotenoned the remaining ditches and puddles to kill the common carp, and then let it fill back up.  It took two iterations to finally get rid of every last one.  They introduced native aquatic plants, which are now flourishing.  The water is unbelievably clear.  Currently no fishing is allowed while they wait for the game fish species to develop several year classes.  It's stocked with the usual game species, but also has IL strain redspotted sunfish, alligator gar, bowfin, starhead topminnows, and maybe a few other interesting species.

 

I'm really excited about Hennepin-Hopper.  If it turns out to be a long term success, then I think we should consider taking similar actions where it makes sense.

 

However, most waterways will always have common carp, no matter what we attempt to do.  They'll be here long after we're extinct.  When I catch carp in spots like that, I feel completely guilt free when I release them.  In fact, I feel the same way about silver and bighead carp in spots where there are thousands of them stacked up.

 

The weekend warrior attitude we see online and when we're out fishing is pretty troubling.  More often than not, the people who believe in killing every carp they encounter also believe they should kill every sucker, redhorse, buffalo, quillback, bowfin, freshwater drum, and gar.  I really wish the DNR would not encourage people to kill carp.  That sort of work should be left up to professionals.

 

Pound for pound, nothing fights as hard as common carp.  They are a blast to catch.  :)



#10 Leo1234

Leo1234
  • NANFA Member
  • san clemente, california

Posted 01 July 2015 - 10:52 AM

They are so generally accepted that I thought they were native until I was 7 or 8 years old and started to look it up.



#11 smbass

smbass
  • Board of Directors

Posted 02 July 2015 - 09:07 AM

Like most of the responses I agree that not a ton can be done about them in most places but I wish we had never brought them here in the first place. They certainly do damage but there are examples where if the habitat is improved to favor natives they actually decline as the native fish community recovers. A great example is the Scioto River just south of Columbus Ohio. This stretch of river is probably the most sampled river reach in Ohio. Ohio EPA started their regular fish sampling in the late 1970's. I have talked with crew leaders who talk about being able to sink an electrofishing boat with all the carp caught on the Scioto back in their early days. As efforts and regulations have gone into effect to improve water quality coming out of Columbus over the years common carp numbers have dropped dramatically while numbers of native redhorse have increased dramatically. It seems in a healthy river system redhorse and buffalo out compete common carp. Only when the water quality is bad or the habitat bad do the carp gain an advantage. Today there are of course still carp in the Scioto River but there are actually far more redhorse and buffalo and the common carp is a relatively small component of the fish community in the free flowing portion of the Scioto River south of Columbus Ohio.

 

Where I feel they are the biggest problem today is small isolated systems. The best first hand example I can use is Ohio's natural lakes. We do not have the big and abundant lakes of MI, MN, northeast IN, or WI. We have about 50 small (many under 10 acres) natural lakes in Ohio. I spent 2 years surveying these systems for non-game species that are native to these systems in Ohio. The two main species we looked for were Lake Chubsuckers (state threatened) and Iowa Darters (state endangered). It seems these two species could handle poor habitat in the absence of carp or the presence of carp in still good habitat. There was one very small natural lake (I would guess 3-4 acres) that is in a cow pasture and the county road that is otherwise straight takes a curve to go around the edge. So shoreline habitat is shot. I first visited this with Matt DeLaVega in 2009. This little lake despite the terrible habitat had hundreds of Iowa darters and least darters easily caught from shore with a dipnet while standing on the county road. At the time there appeared to be no common carp. I returned to this lake in 2011 as part of my 2 year survey of Ohio natural lakes. There were now carp, water visibly more turbid, and we found 2 Iowa darters and no least darters. The landowner did not put the carp there and was quite upset about them actually. It seems the carp were just the final straw that pushed the population of Iowa and least darters over the edge to a crash. This was one of just 12 lakes that I found any Iowa darters in at all in Ohio. This is over a 50% reduction since 1982 when 26 localities were known. Several of the places we found some at 2011-2012 we found just 1 or 2. I think we are down to 6-7 viable populations in Ohio and many of the lost populations may be the result of common carp being recently introduced on top of already poor habitat conditions. There were a couple of small lakes that still had pretty good shoreline habitat and abundant natural aquatic vegetation that did have common carp and still had Iowa darters. It seemed it was the combination of poor habitat and common carp that spelled the end for these small natural lake populations of Iowa darters or lake chubsuckers.

 

So in summary common carp are still causing problems and there are still some small natural bodies of water that do not have them but they are becoming fewer and fewer thanks to ignorant uneducated people who want to fish for them. It seems in large systems they are best dealt with by restoring habitat and improving water quality to allow the native ecosystem to out compete them and in small isolated systems just don't put them there!


Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#12 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 02 July 2015 - 09:30 AM

I'm curious as to why common carp are reputed to create turbidity and "clog up native fish nests" (as Matt says) any more than our native substrate-sifting fishes?  Carp do not create silt - they just resuspend whatever silt has already settled.  Yes, they poop, but so do all fish.  Being plant spawners rather than gravel spawners, I imagine carp can survive in more heavily silted habitats where native gravel-spawning substrate-feeders are declining due to the silt.  How much of their bad reputation is due to damage that carp actually cause versus other habitat damage (erosion and nutrient enrichment) that just happens to benefit carp over native suckers, chubs, etc.


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#13 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 02 July 2015 - 10:26 AM

I agree with Brian.  For rivers, focus on restoring the habitat, but don't waste effort trying to eliminate the carp.  For isolated lakes, if you can eliminate the carp completely, then absolutely do so.  It has to be an all or none attempt though.



#14 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 02 July 2015 - 11:47 AM

Like most of the responses I agree that not a ton can be done about them in most places but I wish we had never brought them here in the first place. They certainly do damage but there are examples where if the habitat is improved to favor natives they actually decline as the native fish community recovers. A great example is the Scioto River just south of Columbus Ohio. This stretch of river is probably the most sampled river reach in Ohio. Ohio EPA started their regular fish sampling in the late 1970's. I have talked with crew leaders who talk about being able to sink an electrofishing boat with all the carp caught on the Scioto back in their early days. As efforts and regulations have gone into effect to improve water quality coming out of Columbus over the years common carp numbers have dropped dramatically while numbers of native redhorse have increased dramatically. It seems in a healthy river system redhorse and buffalo out compete common carp. Only when the water quality is bad or the habitat bad do the carp gain an advantage. Today there are of course still carp in the Scioto River but there are actually far more redhorse and buffalo and the common carp is a relatively small component of the fish community in the free flowing portion of the Scioto River south of Columbus Ohio.

 

Where I feel they are the biggest problem today is small isolated systems. The best first hand example I can use is Ohio's natural lakes. We do not have the big and abundant lakes of MI, MN, northeast IN, or WI. We have about 50 small (many under 10 acres) natural lakes in Ohio. I spent 2 years surveying these systems for non-game species that are native to these systems in Ohio. The two main species we looked for were Lake Chubsuckers (state threatened) and Iowa Darters (state endangered). It seems these two species could handle poor habitat in the absence of carp or the presence of carp in still good habitat. There was one very small natural lake (I would guess 3-4 acres) that is in a cow pasture and the county road that is otherwise straight takes a curve to go around the edge. So shoreline habitat is shot. I first visited this with Matt DeLaVega in 2009. This little lake despite the terrible habitat had hundreds of Iowa darters and least darters easily caught from shore with a dipnet while standing on the county road. At the time there appeared to be no common carp. I returned to this lake in 2011 as part of my 2 year survey of Ohio natural lakes. There were now carp, water visibly more turbid, and we found 2 Iowa darters and no least darters. The landowner did not put the carp there and was quite upset about them actually. It seems the carp were just the final straw that pushed the population of Iowa and least darters over the edge to a crash. This was one of just 12 lakes that I found any Iowa darters in at all in Ohio. This is over a 50% reduction since 1982 when 26 localities were known. Several of the places we found some at 2011-2012 we found just 1 or 2. I think we are down to 6-7 viable populations in Ohio and many of the lost populations may be the result of common carp being recently introduced on top of already poor habitat conditions. There were a couple of small lakes that still had pretty good shoreline habitat and abundant natural aquatic vegetation that did have common carp and still had Iowa darters. It seemed it was the combination of poor habitat and common carp that spelled the end for these small natural lake populations of Iowa darters or lake chubsuckers.

 

So in summary common carp are still causing problems and there are still some small natural bodies of water that do not have them but they are becoming fewer and fewer thanks to ignorant uneducated people who want to fish for them. It seems in large systems they are best dealt with by restoring habitat and improving water quality to allow the native ecosystem to out compete them and in small isolated systems just don't put them there!

 

Thank you Brian... I love this post... I wanted to jump in and mention the habitat... and question what is cause and what is effect... but was not sure how to do it... you gave great examples and a clear explanation.


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#15 smbass

smbass
  • Board of Directors

Posted 02 July 2015 - 02:17 PM

Thanks Michael glad you like it!

 

I hope to revisit the small lake I described in the future and if I can find a way maybe even work with the land owner to eliminate the carp and or all the fish and just start over as far as the fish population goes. Right now it is just a dream but in that sort of situation it is possible with some funding, proper supplies, and a willing land owner.


Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#16 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 02 July 2015 - 03:41 PM

 

Thank you Brian... I love this post... I wanted to jump in and mention the habitat... and question what is cause and what is effect... but was not sure how to do it... you gave great examples and a clear explanation.

 

I agree. It's interesting to hear your first-hand experience, Brian. I hope you do get to help restore that lake someday. It sounds feasible and worthwhile.



#17 don212

don212
  • NANFA Member

Posted 03 July 2015 - 08:01 AM

carp are highly respected in asia and europe, but here all bottom feeders seem to be disrespected native or otherwise, they can be a great food source, and have a rep of fighting like a freight train. they have been here a long time,aren't going away, we should find ways to utilize them, anyone out there eat common carp? they can be invasive and detrimental in some areas. i hate all poisonings, and mass murder contests, unless associated with a giant fish fry, need to find better ways to control them when they become a problem,



#18 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 03 July 2015 - 08:25 AM

Yeah, I eat common carp every now and then.  It's pretty satisfying removing them from the river when they're spawning alongside native sucker species.

 

male - you can see some love sauce on his anal fin

DSC06990.JPG

 

female - loaded up with eggs

DSC06997.JPG

 

chilling in the sink while I prep for cleaning them

DSC07005.JPG

 

fillet cooked in a wok with lots of soy sauce and ginger (have to deal with all the little bones as you eat it)

DSC07009.JPG

 

common carp as the main course

DSC07011.JPG

 

ready to be cleaned

DSC04418.JPG

 

removing the "mud vein" from the fillet (removing this strip of dark meat gets rid of some of the bad flavors associated with carp)

DSC04425.JPG

 

common carp vacuum sealed and frozen for future meals

DSC04426.JPG

 

common carp pickled, eaten as a snack

DSC07036.JPG



#19 MichiJim

MichiJim
  • NANFA Guest
  • Michigan Upper Peninsula

Posted 03 July 2015 - 09:47 AM

I like Brian's post as well.  I would love to not have them, along with starlings, in our environment.  I like the idea that improving habitats is a good way to minimize the impact of an invasive species.  Here in the Upper Peninsula, where habitats in general are in better shape, I see carp but not in the aggregations I used to see downstate.  I have a wetland across the river from my yard.  Just a couple of days ago the carp were in spawning.  By my best eyeball estimate, there were about a dozen fish.  We have more bowfin spawning in that area.  Yesterday on Bay de Noc, I saw several carp while smallmouth fishing, but nothing compared to the number of smallmouth I saw.

 

My point is, they are there, but not overwhelming the ecosystem.  In isolated systems, we should remove them.  But on the whole, we should work on improved habitats for our native species.



#20 butch

butch
  • NANFA Guest

Posted 03 July 2015 - 12:32 PM

I refused to eat a common carp again after few attempts with various recipes. That's coming from a guy that eats gars, bullheads, suckers etc...Right now, they're used for dog food.




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