DNR says recent capture of bighead and silver carp do not indicate an established population in Minnesota waters
ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed the capture of a bighead carp and two silver carp within the past several weeks. The bighead carp was captured at the Xcel Energy King Power Plant on the St. Croix River in Oak Park Heights. The silver carp were in Pool 4 of the Mississippi River between Red Wing and Wabasha in southeastern Minnesota.
“The DNR has confirmed between two and seven individual invasive carp captures each spring since 2013,” said DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer. “It is unusual that several of a single species would be captured in a short span of time. But, given the persistent high water this spring, this is not a surprise.”
Frohnauer noted that while the DNR continues to be concerned about the potential impacts of invasive carp in Minnesota waters, individual adult fish captures do not indicate reproduction or an established population of invasive carp in the Mississippi River or elsewhere in the state.
Persistent high water in southern Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois has created “open river” conditions that allow fish to move upriver unimpeded by locks and dams. Open river conditions often benefit native species like lake sturgeon and paddlefish, which can swim hundreds of miles in search of preferable habitat. But these conditions also allow non-native species to move upriver more easily.
A DNR telemetry array detected a silver carp in Pool 4 that was originally tagged much farther south, in Pool 16, in April 2017, by the U.S. Geological Survey. A silver carp was caught by an angler in Pool 4 on May 24, and another was captured in Pool 4 June 4 by Xcel Energy. The bighead carp was captured on Thursday, June 20, during routine monitoring conducted by the DNR.
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. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters, but individual invasive carp have been caught as far upstream in Mississippi River Pool 2 near the Twin Cities (bighead, grass, and silver), the King Power Plant on the St. Croix River near Oak Park Heights (bighead), and just downstream of Granite Falls in the Minnesota River (bighead).
Invasive carp captures should be reported to the DNR. Call 651-587-2781 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office.
To learn more about invasive carp in Minnesota visit mndnr.gov/invasive-carp.