I don’t know about you, but I have never been much of a carp guy.
There are, I realize, a large number of people who like carp. They like to catch carp. They make money catching carp in tournaments. They hunt them with bows and arrows. They put multi-colored carp in their backyard water features. Some even eat carp.
I’m not one of them.
I suppose they can be fun to catch. Fishing for another species, I have battled a big ol’ carp from time to time. And they do put up a good fight.
If you go out to Eastwood Lake on just about any summer night, you will see a number of fishermen in the lagoon area fishing for carp. They have their Wheaties boxes and peanut butter jars and their Coleman lanterns. Good fun.
At Grand Lake St. Marys, however, carp are fisha-non-grata. There is an ongoing effort to get as many carp out of the lake as possible.
In recent days, state park staffers have been using trap nets. When a trap is full, the workers pull the game fish out and quickly release them. But when they come to a carp, quillback carpsucker or a gizzard shad, they say, “Not so fast.” Those three species of rough fish are pulled out and eventually hauled away to become pet food or fertilizer. The reason these species are being targeted is they contribute to the pollution problem in the lake by producing phosphorus in their waste. Phosphorus feeds the blue-green algae that have plagued the lake in recent years.
During the first week of trapping and removing rough fish, they removed more than 6,000 pounds.
“We have seen all kinds of fish in the traps, but there has been very little mortality of the game fish,” said Brian Miller, manager of Grand Lake St. Marys State Park. “There have been plenty of yellow perch, crappies, bluegills, walleyes, bass, catfish and northern pike. I saw crappies as small as four inches and as large as 13-inches plus. The walleyes were good size and I’d say the pike was about 28 inches.”
He said most of the fish being removed so far are quillbacks, since they are spawning. Officials would like to get the fish before they spawn. That would eliminate future generations.
The general public will get the chance to help in the de-carping effort when the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission gets in on the act June 3-5, hosting the first “Get the Carp Outta Here” fishing tournament. Anglers are asked to catch as many carp as possible by all legal means. More than $3,000 cash prizes will be offered for winners who take the most carp by weight, size and numbers.
To sign up or for more information, call (419) 394-5769, (419) 300-4611, (419) 586-2219 or (419) 394-3611 or visit lakeimprovement.com/carp-derby-2011. You will also be able to sign up at the east bank ramp or west bank ramp during the tournament.