Illinois DNR releases report on bighead carp in urban fishing ponds

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Bighead Carp In Urban Fishing Ponds

Adult bighead carp have periodically been reported, captured, and removed from urban fishing ponds throughout Illinois since the late 1990s and have been noted as of late in fee fishing ponds (ponds where catchable size fish are stocked and usage fees are charged) in other Midwestern states. Recent sampling by IDNR in Chicago area fishing ponds with DC electrofishing gear and trammel/gill nets this past fall resulted in catches of 17 adult bighead carp (48-80 pounds) from Flatfoot Lake in Dolton, Illinois and three adult bighead carp (56-62 pounds) from Schiller Pond in Schiller Park, Illinois. Sampling in two additional ponds produced no catches or observation of bighead carp. Silver carp have not been captured or observed in Illinois urban fishing ponds. A growing body of evidence suggests that bighead carp likely were introduced accidentally in contaminated shipments of channel catfish made during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Changes in State and Federal regulations banning the shipment of live bighead carp appear to have stopped this source of fish and as a result, no sighting or captures of young bighead carp have been reported in recent years. The report outlines a monitoring plan that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has put into place for Illinois ponds and recommends that other states with urban fishing programs or even fee fishing lakes consider this potential bighead carp introduction pathway.

To view the full report summarizing IDNR's experience with this alternative Asian carp vector, please click here.

Illinois DNR releases report on bighead carp in urban fishing ponds

 

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