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State's largest invasive carp taken near Redwood Falls

This is the bighead carp taken by a bowfisher in a private gravel pit near Redwood Falls, Minn., on June 4, 2017. It weighed 61.7 pounds and was 47 1/2 inches long. Submitted photo.

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — A bow angler fishing in a private gravel pit near Redwood Falls on Sunday, June 4 caught the largest invasive carp recorded in Minnesota. The bighead carp measured 47½ inches in length and weighed 61.7 pounds.

Invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer said the angler immediately reported the capture to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and was helpful getting the specimen delivered to the area fisheries office. "The news of this capture is somewhat alarming, given the size and location," Frohnauer said. "This bighead carp was captured about 80 miles upstream from the only other bighead carp captured in the Minnesota River."

The fish likely entered the gravel pit during a period of high water. The pit is within the Minnesota River floodplain and periodically becomes connected during flood flows. When floodplain lakes become connected to the river, fish move into these areas to escape the high water velocities in the main river and exploit new food sources.

"The gravel pit where the carp was captured provides a unique opportunity to determine if the fish was an isolated capture or part of a group," Frohnauer said. "The pit is off the main channel, so fish are confined to a smaller area rather than having many miles of river."

The DNR invasive carp field crew is working with the local fisheries office and the landowner to conduct follow-up sampling. The crew will also look at sampling areas near the location, including floodplain lakes and the main river.

The DNR is concerned about the potential impacts of invasive carp in the Minnesota River and other waters. The agency is working with other state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers and commercial businesses to prevent the spread of invasive carp.

Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. While no breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters, individual fish have been caught in the Mississippi near the Twin Cities, the St. Croix River and the Minnesota River.

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335
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