The District began a concerted effort to manage common carp using an integrated pest management plan in 2015, undertaking a three year study (2015-2018) with the assistance of WSB & Associates to determine where and when the invasive carp congregate in Spring and Prior Lakes. The information gathered during the first phase of the District’s carp management program will be used to maximize success in population removal efforts and to identify strategic locations for carp barriers in order to block them from spawning areas.
Prior to 2015, the District did have successful seines, particularly on Spring Lake in the past, but efforts were sporadic and not done in concert with other control efforts.
Phase I Highlights
In November 2015, seven carp from Spring Lake were caught for tagging. The carp were first sedated with clove oil and then a radio-tag was surgically implanted into the fish before it was released back into the lake. Fish in Upper and Lower Prior Lake were a bit more difficult to catch, but eight carp were finally tagged the first week of January 2016. An additional 13 carp in Prior Lake were tagged later in 2016 & 2017. Visit the PLSLWD YouTube Channel to view a video of Tony Havranek, from WSB & Associates, inserting radio-tags.
The radio-tags allow the District to track the movements of the invasive carp throughout the two lakes. The goal is to learn where the carp congregate in the lake and surrounding streams throughout the year. This helps improve the success of future carp removal efforts as we can target areas where we know the carp are congregating. You can track past movements of the carp throughout the lake on our Where are the Carp? page.
The radio-tags also enable the District to track the carp in the spring as they head to their spawning areas. Some of the carp spawning areas are located in the streams and wetlands connected to Spring and Prior Lake but located outside of the lakes themselves. Radio-tag tracking helped the District identify where the carp spawn and carp barriers have been installed to prevent the carp from reaching some of their preferred spawning areas. Denying the carp access to their preferred spawning areas should reduce the carp population growth in Spring and Prior Lake.
January 2017 Seine: A seine event on Spring Lake in January 2017 caught 2,577 carp weighing 17 TONS! That’s over 34,000 pounds of carp removed from Spring Lake. You can check out some awesome photos (with explanatory captions!) from the seine on Facebook page!
Upon discovering all eight of the active tagged Spring Lake fish closely grouped up on the north side of the lake, our partners at WSB & Associates were able to coordinate a seine with a commercial fisherman and his crew. Five tagged carp were ultimately caught along with the 2572 other carp, the average carp weighed 13.2 pounds. The tagged carp were returned to the lake so we can continue to track them and hopefully use them to identify their spawning grounds and future seine locations.
January 2018 Seine: In a record-setting event on January 18th, 2018 the Prior Lake-Spring Lake Watershed District’s consultants, WSB & Associates, coordinated the efforts by Geyer Commercial Fishing, LLC to capture an astounding 35,000 pounds (17 tons) of carp with their nets below the ice of Upper Prior Lake. This big carp haul represents only a portion of the total carp population in Upper Prior Lake. While approximately 3,000 carp were removed, that’s estimated to be just under 20% of the population; an estimated 17,000 carp (approximately 100,000 lbs.) may still be swimming in the lake. The largest fish captured during the netting was over three feet in length and weighed in at a whopping 42 pounds! Scientists estimate that this fish could be over 50 years old. Work continues to locate the carp when they are aggregated on Prior Lake and remove them with another seining event.
Related News Articles
- PLSLWD Carp Video Wins Best Video at MAWD Conference – December 2018
- Colossal Carp Catch on Upper Prior Lake – January 2018
- Upper Prior Carp Seine Event details – January 2018
- Holy Carp! Spring Lake seine catches 17 tons of carp. – February 2017
- Know Thy Enemy – Prior Lake American, November 2015
- Stirring up trouble: Solving the carp problem in our lakes – Scott County SCENE, August/September 2015