Contract commercial anglers hired by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to remove rough fish recently collected several invasive carp from Elk Lake in Clay County.
Ralph Mahn, a commercial fisherman from Harpers Ferry, reported catching bighead carp and silver carp in a recent seine haul at the lake where common carp and buffalo were being removed.
“These fish likely originated from flooding that occurred this summer on the Missouri River and traveled into the lake from the Little Sioux River and its tributary Elk Creek,” said Mike Hawkins, DNR fisheries biologist.
This is the second collection this year of invasive carp species in lakes that are connected to the Little Sioux River. In August, DNR personnel captured two bighead carp in East Okoboji while conducting routine sampling.
Bighead and silver carp are included in the Asian carp family and are non-native species that have invaded the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers recently. Extreme flooding that occurred this summer allowed these fish to travel past barriers on the Little Sioux River that would normally prevent their passage.
DNR fisheries personnel will continue to monitor waters that have been invaded to assess their populations and impact they might have on these lakes. Much remains to be learned about these species; however it is unlikely that they will spawn in lakes, since they require large river systems to successfully spawn.