Minnesota is watching as the Rice Creek Watershed District tests a new way to remove carp. Designed to improve water quality in Long Lake, the techniques used here could be applied throughout the state where carp migrate to spawn.
Friday marked the first day of a multiweek effort to remove common carp from the lakes that drain to Lake Minnetonka. It’s the latest chapter in the state’s mounting battle to halt the growth of invasive species, which destroy water quality and habitat and can have a significant impact on business and recreation.
On Stieger Lake in Victoria, Minn. — the headwaters of Lake Minnetonka — four workers in hip waders spent Friday morning tossing nearly 2,000 pounds of common carp from nets to a boat to the back of a pickup truck. The fish have become a nuisance in some lakes because they’re so good at moving around and destroying the habitats of more desirable fish species.
The carp management plan is based on data from a three-year study by the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. The researchers found an unprecedented number of common carp in the Six Mile Creek system, including Lake Minnetonka’s Halsted Bay. They also identified where the carp are spawning and determined their migration patterns. The findings helped shape a management strategy that includes removing adult carp, installing carp barriers, and aerating lakes to ensure the winter survival of bluegill sunfish (which feed on carp eggs).
On Steiger Lake in Victoria, crews removed four nets, or around 200 eight- to ten-pound carp, with the goal of improving conditions for gamefish and and waterfowl, as well as water quality. It will affect the 14 lakes that drain to Lake Minnetonka.
If you want better fishing in Lake Minnetonka, there’s one fish that’s not welcome. It’s the common carp. Halsted Bay, in the far southwest corner of Lake Minnetonka, is being devastated by carp. According to research done by the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, an estimated 60,000 common carp infest its waters.
Friday marked the beginning of the first round of carp removals in the area, starting with Steiger Lake, according to officials with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. Common carp can damage the lakes by uprooting plants, which stirs up the lake bottoms leading to algae blooms.
Researchers have identified where carp are spawning and have studied migration. The management plan will include netting carp, installing carp barriers and aerating lakes to help bluegill sunfish, which eat carp eggs. MCWD also will implant radio tags in some carps to monitor their locations.
A years-long effort to remove invasive carp from the headwaters of Lake Minnetonka began Friday, when fisherman pulled up the first nets set on Steiger Lake in Victoria.
This first round of carp removal kicked off what the group anticipates to be a multi-pronged, ten-year effort to improve water quality and wildlife habitat in the southwestern portion of the Minnehaha Creek watershed.
The Shell Rock River Watershed District (SRRWD) is tracking carp to help control their population and improve water quality. SRRWD is working with the company, Carp Solutions, to tag some of the fish in Fountain and Albert Lea Lakes.
The water quality in Fountain and Albert Lea Lakes has gotten better, but they have a long ways to go. A few carp went under the knife Friday to help get it all back to normal.
“Out here on Fountain Lake, we’re seeing some of the highest amounts of fish biomass we’ve seen in a long time,” said Carp Solutions General Manager Jordan Wein.
The Shell Rock River Watershed District is teaming up with CARP SOLUTIONS to track all the carp living in their lakes.
Carp is a type of freshwater fish are degrading lake habitat that native fish and wildlife need. CARP SOLUTIONS is tracking where the fish is in Fountain Lake and State Line Lake. They are surgically implanting radio transmitters into the fish.