Asian Carp found in Iowa lakes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Asian Carp found in Iowa lakes


The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Asian Carp have been found in Spirit Lake and East Okoboji Lake.

The DNR says a commercial fishing company caught 55 silver carp and 82 big head carp in East Okoboji Lake on March 28 and 29.  This is the same area where the DNR caught two big head carp last August.

The same company then reported catching a silver carp in Spirit Lake on April 3 and then two bighead carp and two silver carp in East Okoboji Lake on April 4.

Mike Hawkins, a fisheries biologist with the DNR, says the invasive fish entered the Iowa Great Lakes during floods in June and July by navigating the Little Sioux River past the Linn Grove Dam.

Hawkins says that once they were in the Iowa Great Lakes, heavy rain in July, which caused flooding on the lakes, allowed the fish to make their way into Lower Gar Lake.

"While it confirms the presence of both species, this commercial seine haul does not tell us how many Asian carp are in the lakes. Nor does it get us any closer to knowing at what level these fish will be a problem," Hawkins said in a written statement.

The DNR is currently doing fundraising to pay for an electronic fish barrier at the Lower Gar outlet.

Since the flooding at the lakes in July 2011, the lake levels have fallen below crest, lowering the threat of any additional carp from entering the lakes.

"Our greatest fear is that these fish could impact recreation and the ecology of the lakes. Looking back however, we know we experienced at least part of a season with them in the lake without incident," Hawkins said in a written statement.

Silver carp are a concern for boaters because they tend to jump out of the water and can grow to more than 50 pounds.

"Ecologically, these fish are filter feeders and will compete with young fish for food. They are not likely to reproduce here because studies show they prefer large rivers for spawning," Hawkins said.

The DNR says it is unlikely you will catch one of these fish because they are filter feeders.  But, if you do, you should bring them to the Spirit Lake Hatchery.

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