Asian Carp Invasion! Save Illinois Waterways!

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Anglers, this is your moment. This is your moment to be an American Hero. Let me tell you a bit about why carp are a problem in the USA, and how you can catch them. They’re great fighters, and you can cook them up in a delicious meal. (sweet and sour, deep fried fish is a favorite in China).

Unfortunately, these invasive species have gotten into the Mississippi river and are almost reaching the great lakes. Silver carp and other carp of Asian origin are starting to overrun local ecosystems. Some of these beasts can grow up to 2 meters. In some places, Asian carp are vastly outnumbering local fish, especially in the Mississippi and its tributaries. Concentrations are thickest on the Illinois River.

Not only do these carp pose dangers to native species, competing for precious resources, they pose a grave threat to boaters – these massive fish are known to jump up to a meter clear of the water, and for boatsmen going at high speeds – these fish could literally fish slap you, potentially causing injury. Water skiiers don’t even dare ski on some parts of this river. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Carp threaten beloved native species such as the Mississippi paddlefish and the lake sturgeon, true american megafish that anglers have enjoyed fishing for centuries.

What’s the reason for the Asian Carp’s success? Whereas many native species can only spawn once or twice a year, the Asian carp species are able to spawn 4-5 times a year given the right conditions. It’s a carp explosion, and it’s not a surprise these carp are making their way up to the Great Lakes. 

If you’re a big fish angler like me, I think you’re starting to sense an opportunity. An opportunity to both serve your country, and also catch a monster fish. Your spidey senses are tingling with excitement.


Bighead, Silver Carp, Grass Carp. 

How you can help:

  • Join the Redneck Fishing Tournament. This tournament is dedicated to catching as many fish as possible. A flotilla of boats heads down river, and armed with nets, tournament-goers catch the fish, which fly through the air in alarm at the approaching boats. The goal is to net as many of these mega carp as possible.
  • Plan a trip with your buddies to catch as many of these carp as possible. Take no prisoners. But please, don’t be wasteful. Carp can be cooked with delicious results. Why not try some carp recipes here?

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What kind of lures should you use for Asian Carp?

From my experience, it’s best to use chicken livers or other unwanted bits of meat, attached to a hook. and flung into the middle of your fishing ground. Let your baited hook sink to the bottom, and hope that those bottom-feeding carp will take the bait. While I’ve personally had the best results with Chicken liver, you may want to opt for a store-bought “Doughball” style bait. They’re cleaner and less stinky for transport.

Lures? One angler has suggested twistertail jigs.

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If you own a boat, all you really need to do is speed down river, large nets in hand, and let the schools of carp jump into your boat and into your nets.

Be prepared for a fight and to let some line go as these fish will truly put up a deep, long fight for every inch of line. Give some, but never let the line go slack!

Best of luck and happy fishing.


Contributor: Justin Mathson Hansen

Charity: Wounded Warrior Project

Sponsor: The Daily Midwesterner Editorial Staff


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