REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. - The biggest invasive carp recorded in the state of Minnesota was captured near Redwood Falls Sunday, raising concerns about the presence of the intrusive fish in the Minnesota River.
The 61.7 pound bighead carp was shot by a bow angler in a private gravel pit. It measured 47 1/2 inches in length. The man who caught it immediately called the DNR and arranged to have the fish delivered to the local fisheries office.
“The news of this capture is somewhat alarming, given the size and location,” said DNR Invasive Fish Coordinator Nick Frohnauer. “This bighead carp was captured about 80 miles upstream from the only other bighead carp captured in the Minnesota River.”
Wildlife officials believe the fish got into the gravel pit during a period of high water and flooding, as it is within the Minnesota River flood plain. “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 gravel pit landowner to conduct follow-up sampling. The crew will also look at sampling areas near the location, including floodplain lakes and the main river.
Invasive carp have been making their way upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in the 1970s. These large and aggressive fish compete with native species, posing a threat to Minnesota's rivers and lakes. While no breeding populations have so far been detected here, individual carp have been caught in the Mississippi near the Twin Cities, the St. Croix River and the Minnesota River.
More information about invasive carp is available at the DNR website.