Tag Archives: carp

Hatcheries Stocking Alligator Gar to Combat Carp

Illinois Hatcheries Stocking Alligator Gar to Combat Carp by Debbie Kay

The state of Illinois has a monster carp problem.  What better way to fight a monster than with a bigger monster?  So goes the logic, as the state’s hatcheries gear up to begin stocking alligator gar in many of the state’s rivers that have invasive fish problems.  Though the fish are native to Illinois, they have not been seen in the state’s waters since 1966.  Their return is hoped not only to curb the growing carp population with one of the few native predators, but to return a major trophy fish to Illinois waters.

About Alligator Gar

Alligator gar are one of the most ancient species still living today, with fossil records of these fish dating back to over 100 million years ago.   They can grow up to ten feet long and weigh up to 300lbs.  From the 1930’s to the 1980’s, they were considered “trash fish” and a detriment to sport fishing.  They are known as stalking predators, and will target large fish, small mammals and waterfowl.  They were targeted for extermination in many waters of the US and Mexico during this period.  When better knowledge of the interaction of ecosystems came in the 80’s, the emphasis went from extermination to protection and reintroduction.  Today, many states have an alligator gar fishery.

Reintroduction into Illinois

Illinois has waters that run into two massive interstate watersheds.  Some waters run toward Lake Michigan and into the Great Lakes waterway, while others head toward the mighty Mississippi.  There is a large pool of federal funding money that has been set aside to deal with the scourge of Asian Carp as it quickly repopulates through the area.  The gar reintroduction program is using that funding to help deal with this issue.  As a bonus, hatcheries stocking alligator gar will serve as a large trophy fish that can bring state revenue through fish endorsement licenses and tourism dollars.

Will it Work?

The gar is not a complete solution to the carp problem.  Population-wise, the carp outnumber the gar by a massive amount.  The largest carp are too large to be swallowed by the narrow-throated gar.  Also, populations of gar will not breed until they reach sexual maturity at age 11, while carp begin reproducing at age 3.  This means that they can take a small portion of the population, but they will never be the main control mechanism for these fish.  However, after several years, once they have firmly reestablished their numbers, the gar can be a preventative measure in areas without Asian carp if smaller, younger fish try and expand their territory.  Instead, netting and fish kills seems to be the only way to keep this majorly invasive fish species at bay.

When Will Gar Reintroduction Begin?

The hatcheries stocking alligator gar program has been approved since 2010, but funding has only recently been secured.  Hatcheries are prepping to begin grow-out and release as early as next year.  From there, Illinois will need to decide how to handle fishing seasons for this once extinct species.

Central Texas Fly Fishing, Part One

 With Beautiful Scenery and Fantastic Diversity, Central Texas is a Diamond in the Rough for Fly Fishermen

Central Texas by Will Jukes

It’s understandable that Texas doesn’t make the shortlist of great fly fishing states.  Lacking native trout and salmon, we have nothing to offer anglers going after the traditional species of fly fishing.  But hidden in the state’s big middle is the central Texas Hill Country, 18,000 square miles of limestone and granite hills clear to emerald green freestone streams.  Awash with bass, panfish, catfish and carp, these streams offer a surprisingly classic kind of fly fishing, as well as challenges not to be found elsewhere. Continue reading Central Texas Fly Fishing, Part One

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Fly Fishing for Carp part 2

Fly Fishing for Carp by Debbie Kay

Believe it or not, there are a lot of different reasons to try the sophisticated art of fly fishing on the humble (and sometimes reviled) carp.  These invasive fish are often considered “trash fish,” and ignored by serious fishermen.  However, there are some very good reasons not to ignore the carp and why they are a natural fit to fly fishing: Continue reading Fly Fishing for Carp part 2

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Catching Carp Fly-Fishing

Carp on the Fly – The Poor Man’s Bonefish

Carp Fly-fishing by Robert Deen

“Casting a fly for carp is like dragging a piece of fried chicken through the local seniors’ center. If it looks good and moves slowly enough, something will eventually try to gum it to death.”

Thus Field & Stream magazine introduced America to the idea of fly-fishing for carp 10 years ago. Continue reading Catching Carp Fly-Fishing

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Angler Given Last Bites

 

Anglers Use Fishing Buddy’s Ashes as Bait to Catch 180-Pound Carp

By Robert Deen

Two British anglers honored their departed fishing buddy by mixing his ashes into dough ball baits, which they used to catch a 180-pound carp in Thailand. Continue reading Angler Given Last Bites

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