WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) — On pool six of the Mississippi River, just south of Winona, a school of Buffalo fish is Tim Adam’s desired catch.
But when the commercial fisherman and his crew pulled in their nets from under the ice, they also pulled in evidence of trouble: a big silver carp.
Of the four Asian carp species invading Midwest waterways, the silver carp is the most feared. That’s because its peculiar habits harm humans.
Vibrations and noise of passing boats sends the carp leaping out of the water in a furious frenzy, shooting skyward like little rockets.
The 18-pound silver carp netted by Adams could do real damage to any boater.
“It’s a scary thought. We do not want these fish here in Minnesota,” Adams said.
That’s why state and federal agencies are looking for ways to stop the carp’s spread upriver. The carp captured near Winona will be transported by the Department of Natural Resources to a laboratory for further testing.
Chemical and biological analysis could help determine the carp’s origin and give some clues about its diet and spawning success.
“We don’t know how many, how widespread they are in this pool. This is as far north as we have caught silver carp,” said Chris Uphoff, a DNR fisheries technician.
At this point, Asian carp are showing no indications of stopping their upriver migration. This is the second silver carp caught in the same location within the past year. A much larger relative, the bighead carp, has been discovered as far north as the St. Croix River.
“There’s definitely a few here, I mean there’s no doubt about it,” Adams said. “We’ve caught ’em, and seem to catch them more frequently now.”
Adams caught the first Asian carp in Minnesota back in 2003.
What he netted this week is still more evidence of a growing threat to both our fishing and boating fun.
“Imagine a guy on a jet ski…having a 20-pound fish coming at [him],” Adams said. “Once they’re here…the recreational boating is just going to…hardly exist.”