Nearly 17 tons of carp were removed from Upper Prior Lake earlier this month.
The Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District’s consultants, WSB & Associates, coordinated the efforts by Geyer Commercial Fishing LLC to capture 35,000 pounds of carp with their nets Jan. 18. Environmental scientists initially estimated 50,000 pounds of carp were removed that day.
A large hole was cut in the ice and carp were pulled out of the lake over three days. The carp were loaded onto two semi trucks outfitted with water tanks to keep the fish alive on their way to a fish market in New York and game lakes in the southern states where carp are prized.
Upper Prior Lake poses many challenges to commercial fisherman, according to a news release from the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District. Among the challenges are natural rocks and uncharted debris at the lake bottom, steep drop-offs and varying bathymetry, curly-leaf pond weed mats and an infestation of zebra mussels. Due to the obstacles, the carp removal was the first commercially viable netting of carp ever conducted on Upper Prior Lake.
The Watershed District has a plan in place to improve the water quality of Upper Prior Lake and removing carp is the first step.
Future carp netting operations will now be met with more optimism, given the success of the latest, record-setting harvest, according to the release.
January’s carp haul represents only a portion of the total carp population in Upper Prior Lake. While approximately 3,000 carp were removed, an estimated 17,000 carp — or about 200,000 pounds — may still be swimming in the lake. The largest fish captured during the netting was three feet long and weighed 42 pounds. Scientists estimate the fish could be over 50 years old.
Radio tags were previously implanted into 20 carp and released back into the lake. The tagged carp acted as spies for the Watershed District, sending out signals that located their position in the lake. If the carp group together again later this winter or spring, the Watershed District will conduct another seine in the hopes the population will reach a manageable level.
Courtesy of www.swnewsmedia.com/prior_lake_american