Good fishing... beautiful scenery... historic river towns. We’ll hook you up.
Photo of silver carp by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Asian carp are filter feeding fish that can weigh up to 110 pounds for bighead carp and 60 pounds for silver carp. Both species have low-set eyes below the mouth and large upturned mouths without barbels.
They eat huge amounts of plankton and detritus. Because they feed on plankton, these fish compete for food with native organisms including mussels, larval fishes, and some adult fish such as paddlefish. This competition for food could result in fewer and smaller sport fish.
The photos on the right provide clear evidence that bighead carp are present in the St. Croix River. However, there is no evidence their numbers support a population capable of reproduction within this ecosystem.
Silver Carp are notorious for jumping several feet out of the water when spooked by passing motorboats. The most problematic populations exist in the Illinois River. None have been found in the St. Croix RIver.
Grass Carp are torpedo-shaped with very large scales. There is a report of one being caught from the St. Croix River in 2006.
Similar to other invasive carp species, Black Carp were introduced to fish farms to limit competition from other undesireable aquatic life. There have been none reported in the St. Croix River.
If you find an Asian Carp
Please notify the authorities. This information sheet provides useful tips and contact information.
Invasive carp can consume up to 40 percent of their body weight in plankton each day, removing huge amounts of food needed at the beginning of the food chain.
Invasive carp compete with native species such as paddlefish, gizzard shad, buffalo and shellfish for photoplankton and detritus. Their filtration feeding affects water quality and opacity, causing a cascade of effects up and down the food chain.
Invasive carp have comprised as much as 90% of fish biomass when measured in the most severely affected waters.
Invasive Carp Threaten the Ecosystem of the St. Croix River...
The Bigheads Have Arrived.
June 9, 2015 - After sharing four photos of anglers posing with bighead carp, we received several others from our fans. We also learned that two of the fish examined by the DNR were fertile. Two femaie specimens contained eggs.
June 5, 2015 - Our posts were served to over 100,000 Facebook users as news of bighead carp spread. Feedback varies from “It's just one more species in the river” to “This is the worst threat the river has faced”.
May 31, 2015 - We received a post on our Facebook page reporting several bighead carp being caught in Oak Park Heights, MN. Four photos of large specimens have been shared.
Reel Minnesota Fishing - Shore angler Boone Blaschko caught this 30 pound bighead carp. The fish was wrangled by Jeremy Levasseuar and Hunter Sommerhauser. Thank you to cameraman Hawthorne Ramage for providing this important video. (footage from May 30)
Tong Yang poses with another giant bighead carp caught in late May. (posted June 1)
Kong Lee lifts a bighead carp he caught using a lure from Blue Ribbon Bait in Oakdale. We believe this was the first specimen caught in 2015. (posted June 8)
Hank Schulte with another giant bighead carp. (posted June 9)
We received this photo from one of our Facebook fans. We did not receive the name of the angler. (posted June 9)
Paul Earney Web Developer
St. Croix Creative
Comments from the Publisher:
This is Not Good News for River Lovers
June 1, 2015 - Many anglers and fans of the St. Croix River expected this day to come. Nonetheless, evidence of bighead carp migrating this far into the river system is troubling.
This news might be compared to getting a report of an illness at the doctor's office. After the shock of the announcement wears off, we are left to grapple with related questions. How bad is it? Can we treat it? If there's nothing we can do, how long before we see symptoms of it spreading? What quality of life can we expect in the years ahead?
The “body” of the St. Croix River has been invaded. A precious and delicate ecosystem is being threatened. How it will be affected (and how it responds) remains to be seen. We are hopeful the fishery can withstand this intrusion with a minimum of disruption and damage.
The situation could be worse. We could be seeing photos of anglers holding silver carp, which are famous for jumping out of the water. Although bighead carp may stay out of sight under the water's surface, they are voracious eaters and prolific breeders. At the very least, their presence is cause for concern.
What’s So Bad About Invasive Carp?
They are big and they are ugly. They reproduce like crazy, quickly dominating the fish population in any water they inhabit. They compete for resources with gamefish and other desirable species. Unfortunately, they are knocking at our door.
Dangerous for boaters and boats.
Asian carp, specifically the silver carp species, are known for jumping up to 10 feet out of the water when disturbed by approaching watercraft, resulting in property damage or personal injury.
“Fish jumping in the boat” is not a good thing!
Imagine the impact of three bowling balls linked together... becoming unpredictably airborne... meeting watercraft traveling at 30 mph.
Why are they called “Asian Carp”?
Because of their prominence, and because they were imported to the United States much later than other carp native to Asia, the term “Asian carp" is often used in the United States with the intended meaning of only grass, black, silver, and bighead carp.
How did they get here?
In the 1970s, fish farmers in mostly Southern states began importing Asian carp from China to help clean their commercial ponds. Many sources cite the record floods of the 1990s as the means by which Asian carp escaped aquaculture ponds into the Mississippi River. The rise in the populations of bighead and silver carp has been dramatic where they are established in the Mississippi River basin.
When the Asian carp got into the Mississippi River they spread fast and are now found in all most tributaries of the river system. The fear is they will get into the Great Lakes through canals and, if so, be a serious problem to native fish species.
Why are they considered to be an invasive species?
After they move into ajoining waterways and spread, Asian carp can cause significant damage to native populations of fish. Some species of Asian carp can grow to four feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. Invasive carp can consume up to 40 percent of their body weight in plankton each day, removing huge amounts of food needed at the beginning of the food chain, and also making it harder for native plankton eaters like paddle fish to survive.
Bighead and silver carp feed by filtering plankton from the water. The extremely high abundance of bighead and silver carp has caused great concern because of the potential for competition with native species for food and living space. Because of their filter-feeding habits, they are difficult to capture by normal angling methods.
The carp grow to large sizes (50-110 lbs.) and quickly become some of the most abundant fish in an area, and out compete native species for food or habitat resources. Invasive carp have comprised as much as 90% of fish biomass when measured in the most severely affected waters.
Silver carp jumping in the Illinois River (photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
What can be done to stop them from spreading further?
In some rivers, electronic “gates” have been established to stop the spread. These gates are narrow places in the waterway, often near locks, where an underwater fence is set up under the water. The gate is the only opening and it is to allow boats to pass. A low electric charge goes through the water to turn back the fish. Unfortunately, studies of the effectiveness of these barriers have been inconclusive.
If you can't beat’em, eat’em!
Better tasting than tilapia? Hmmm... get your fillet knife ready.
Star Tribune | April 4, 2012 - A St. Croix River menace that‘s waged war on the healthiest native mussel population in Minnesota has retreated, bringing hope of a turning point in what had seemed a relentless invasion. Read More