DNR: 51 invasive carp captured on Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wisconsin

Fifty-one invasive carp were caught on the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota last weekend—the largest congregation of invasive carp the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has seen this far upstream. 

Two commercial fishing operators near La Crosse and Trempealeau, Wisconsin caught the invasive carp during routine spring netting. The commercial fishing operators notified the DNR, which sent its invasive carp field crew to assist in removing and identifying the fish. 

The DNR identified 39 silver carp and 11 grass carp caught in Pool 8 of the Mississippi, just south of La Crosse, and one silver carp caught in Pool 6, about 20 miles farther upstream. All invasive carp recovered have been given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine their age, size and gender.
Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in Arkansas in the 1970s. The DNR has reported previous captures of invasive carp in the Minnesota section of the Mississippi River, but they has always been individuals or small numbers of fish. To date, no breeding populations of invasive carp have been detected in Minnesota waters. 

In a news release, the DNR said the increase in the abundance of invasive carp in the Pool 8 portion of the river is “very likely related” to the prolonged high water conditions on the Mississippi River last summer.

Due to the high water, gates at the locks and dams on the river were kept open to pass floodwaters, which likely allowed easier upstream movement of the fish from downstream portions of the river, where invasive carp densities are higher. 

(Minnesota Department of Natural Resources / FOX 9)

The DNR says it is conducting an immediate response to the invasive carp capture. The DNR is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and commercial fishing officers to conduct large-scale netting, studies of the captured carp and increased monitoring in an effort to prevent more invasive carp from moving upstream. 

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official.