-November 8-10, 2016
-Goal: Asian Carp Population Survey
-Benefit: Collected Fish Sold to Fish Processors
By Forrest Fisher
If you have ever fished Kentucky Lake or Barkley Lake for bass or crappie, especially in a tournament, you might have some idea about the size of the Asian Carp population there, but it’s just an idea. There are lots of ‘em! Anglers can catch them occasionally when fishing for game fish species. They fight incredibly hard and are fun to land until you get them into the boat. Their outer layer is sheer slime, it very slick and almost pasty. They are not native in the lakes and are an invasive species that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to understand more about.
Kentucky is working with federal agencies, in cooperation with volunteers, commercial anglers and fish processors, and is launching a “Carp Blitz” on November 8-10 to help gauge the population of invasive Asian Carp in Kentucky and Barkley lakes. At least a dozen sampling crews will be netting, electrofishing and working with licensed commercial anglers to collect as many Asian carp as possible during this three-day period.
“This very large effort is primarily a sampling or data collection exercise which, if deemed successful, will be repeated annually in order to provide relative abundance and population demographics of Asian carp in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes,” said Ron Brooks, fisheries director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Other participating agencies will include the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2013, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife sponsored Carp Madness, a first of its kind tournament for commercial anglers whose primarily goal was the thin the Asian carp population in the two western Kentucky lakes. It proved successful, as a handful of participants collected more than 83,000 pounds of Asian carp during the two-day tournament.
Brooks believes if weather conditions are good, the Carp Blitz effort will easily eclipse the Carp Madness tournament. State and federal fisheries crew will use electrofishing equipment to drive the wary Asian carp into the waiting nets of the commercial anglers.
“All Asian carp harvested will be donated to the commercial anglers assisting with this effort,” Brooks said. “Kentucky’s fish processing businesses will purchase all fish harvested.”
As part of the effort, researchers with Murray State University are working with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to tag fish with telemetry markers. This will allow researchers to discover the movement patterns and habitat use of Asian carp in Kentucky and Barkley Lakes.
We’ll pass on what we learn of this effort as results are communicated. Kentucky Lake is an incredible fishery and recreational resource for all to enjoy.