The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is conducting an immediate response to the capture of 51 invasive carp on the Mississippi River. The invasive carp were caught by two commercial fishing operators near La Crosse and Trempealeau, Wisconsin, during routine spring netting.
In response to this discovery, the DNR is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Wisconsin DNR and commercial fishing operators to conduct large-scale netting, studies of the captured carp and increased monitoring.
“This robust response will provide additional information about the population while removing any other invasive carp they happen to catch,” said DNR invasive species unit supervisor Heidi Wolf.
When the commercial fishing operator operating near La Crosse saw what he thought were invasive carp, he contacted the DNR. The DNR invasive carp field crew assisted in removing and identifying the fish. The DNR identified 39 silver carp and 11 grass carp caught in Pool 8 of the Mississippi, just south of La Crosse, and one silver carp caught in Pool 6, about 20 miles farther upstream. All invasive carp recovered have been given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine their age, size and gender.
Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in Arkansas in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters to date. Individual invasive carp have been caught as far upstream as Pool 2 of the Mississippi, near the Twin Cities (bighead, grass, and silver), the King Power Plant on the St. Croix River by Oak Park Heights (bighead), and just downstream of Granite Falls in the Minnesota River (bighead).
Previous captures of invasive carp in Minnesota have been individuals or small numbers of fish. This capture indicates an increase in the abundance of invasive carp in the Pool 8 portion of the river between Minnesota and Wisconsin.