Species and Origin:The common carp is a large omnivorous fish. They have large scales, a long dorsal fin base, and two pairs of long barbels (whiskers) in its upper jaw. Native to Europe and Asia, it was intentionally introduced into Midwest waters as a game fish in the 1880s.
(Be aware of a native look-a-like: the native fish bigmouth buffalo (looks like a carp without barbells)
Common carp are one of the most damaging aquatic invasive species due to its wide distribution and severe impacts in shallow lakes and wetlands
Their feeding disrupts shallowly rooted plants muddying the water
They release phosphorus that increases algae abundance
Carp induced declines in water quality causes declines of aquatic plants needed by waterfowl and fish
Status: They are established in 48 states. They are distributed in hundreds of waters in the southern two-thirds, and a few waters in the northern third of Minnesota. See US map.
Means of spread: The incidental inclusion and later release of live bait spreads common carp.
Where to look: They live in lakes, rivers, and wetlands and are often seen in spring when they spawn in shallow waters.
Regulatory Classification: It is a regulated invasive species (DNR), which means introduction into the wild is prohibited. Fish caught while angling may be returned to the same water body.
- Fish barriers: The CLFLWD owns and operates 3 fish barriers. Two of the three are mechanical barriers located at the inlet and outlet of Bone Lake. One is an electric barrier located in the tributary stream draining from Shields Lake into Forest Lake.
- Winter aeration: The CLFLWD owns and operations a winter aeration system on Moody Lake. The purpose of the aeration system is to control bullhead populations within the lake. This is accomplished by increasing oxygen levels within the lake during the winter months in order to increase game fish winter survival rates. Game fish predate and provide competition to the bullhead population.
- Fish surveys and carp population estimates: In 2015 the CLFLWD worked with St. Mary's University to conduct fish surveys and carp population estimates on Bone Lake, Moody Lake and Shields Lake. Blue Water Science performed mini-trap net fish surveys and submerged obstacle evaluations for Bone Lake and Moody Lake.
District lakes currently with nuisance levels of common carp and/or other rough fish:
For more information, visit MN DNR's webpage on common carp.