BAYPORT, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the perfect summer day to be on the St. Croix river — especially if you are in a boat heading out to fish.

But there’s one visitor to Minnesota’s waters who’s unwelcome.

“We don’t want ’em here, but they’re coming,” angler Mark Schwietz said.

In fact, invasive carp are already here and increasing in numbers. Upstream near Bayport, the DNR captured a big head carp on June 20 near the Xcel Energy King generating plant.

That species is known for growing to an incredible size and having a voracious appetite that disrupts the ecosystem.

All of that is bad news for anglers.

“I’ve seen them jumping, I’ve seen pictures of them, but I don’t know that much about them. I do know they’re not good,” angler Rich Palumbo said.

Three of those leaping silver carp were just caught in pool four of the Mississippi, just south of Red Wing and upstream from Wabasha.

Invasive silver carp are native to Asia, where Schwietz’s wife had an unpleasant encounter. He hopes it’s not replicated in Minnesota.

“My wife was in Cambodia on the Mekong River doing a mission trip and they were jumping all over and whacked her right in the head,” Schwietz said.

Meantime, the DNR continues to closely watch the carp’s migration north. Recent actions to close the upper St. Anthony lock and dam and improvements to the Coon Rapids dam will hopefully limit invasive carp movements up the Mississippi.

The carp’s presence is disappointing, but there’s no evidence of a breeding population, giving fisheries experts more time to halt the spread.

The DNR asks anyone who captures an invasive silver, grass or bighead carp to call 651-587-2781.

Bill Hudson

Comments