Gettind rid of Carp not an easy task

Published 12:01 am Sunday, October 13, 2013

The early October cool front has slowly slipped away. The nights are still a bit cooler, but daytime highs are holding the lakes and rivers surface water temperature at bay.

Actually, the water temperature dropped into the mid to upper 70’s, but as this week came to a close, the water warmed back up into the 80’s. That’s not unusual for October in the South. We could see “short sleeve shirt” weather all the way into December.

The good news is the water was in the 90-degree range in September. The fishing was horrible on most of our lakes and rivers.

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The bites are now more numerous and the fish are getting easier to pattern, but not as easy as it will be when the water cools on down and we see the 60 degree range. The silver and bighead carp kill on the Old Rivers has slowed down. Thousands of this useless, invasive species rolled up dead on the live oxbow lakes when the water temperature topped out at 95.4 degrees.

A bit of research revealed this unwanted fish can spawn three to four times a year and grow up to 2.2 pounds the first year and weigh as much as 60 pounds before they die of old age.

These Asian carp are bottom feeders or filter feeders, meaning you cannot catch them on hook, bait and line. Of course we all believe it was a good thing to see this die off, but I worry that we are just now witnessing what the future holds for our rivers and any waters connected to the rivers.

The Mississippi River is loaded with these non-native fish. The river water stayed cooler so there was no major die off of carp in the big river. Conditions like we have now, a rise coming downriver, will just restock the old rivers with these nasty fish. No one is sure what can be done.

Once an invasive, fast spawning fish gets in our waterways, there is basically no way to remove them all. This will be a wait and see what is going to happen deal with this not so new problem.

I did hear of a processing plant that may be built in Kentucky. Commercial fishermen will be allowed to catch these carp with gill nets, sell them to the processing plant where they will be exported back to Asian countries where they have found a way to eat them. That is what puzzles me.

People from Mississippi and Louisiana are creative when it comes to wild game for food. We can usually add enough hot sauce to whatever game we catch or kill to make it eatable.

So far, the silver and bighead carp have not appeared on the menus of the restaurants in the South. We did notice the bream, perch and bass fishing on the live oxbow lakes picked up a bit after the carp die off faded away. That is a good thing.

At least there are some game fish left to catch, for now. Many people have asked what effect these carp will have on Lakes Concordia, St. John and Lake Bruin as well as our other landlocked waters.

There are no silver and bighead carp in the landlocked lakes. These fish were accidently released into the Arkansas River. The carp eventually made it all the way north on the Mississippi River and all the way south. A levee stands between the carp and our landlocked lakes.

Unless someone releases these fish into the still waters, we have no worries with invasive species in the landlocked lakes. The next cool front should pass soon.

When it does the fishing may be slow for a couple days after the front but it will get better as the water cools down. We should start seeing more bass, perch and bream caught from this area soon.