ST. PAUL — The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the capture of a silver carp below the Lake Bella dam in the Ocheyedan River, about 100 yards from the Iowa border in Nobles County.
DNR fisheries staff caught the invasive carp while following up on a reported silver carp sighting. The Ocheyedan River connects to the Little Sioux and Missouri rivers in Iowa, where silver carp have previously been confirmed.
“While this is the first silver carp capture in southwestern Minnesota, it is not entirely unexpected,” said DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer. “High water this year likely aided the fish in getting this far upstream. Fortunately, the Lake Bella dam prevents invasive carp from swimming further upstream.”
The silver carp captured in Minnesota waters was a 28.8-inch male weighing 9.4 pounds.
Frohnauer noted that while the DNR continues to be very concerned about the potential impacts of invasive carp in Minnesota waters, individual adult fish captures do not indicate reproduction or an established population of invasive carp.
Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the lower Mississippi River in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters.
The DNR invasive species program has built partnerships with state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers and commercial businesses to prevent the spread of invasive carp. The 2015 closure of the Mississippi River lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis was a major accomplishment in establishing a barrier to protect the Mississippi River and its tributaries above the Twin Cities.
The DNR is actively engaged with invasive carp prevention efforts in southwest Minnesota.
DNR fisheries proactively surveyed the Missouri River watershed in Minnesota to identify locations to prevent expansion of invasive carp populations in the southwest portion of the state. The DNR completed eight projects that limit expansion and protect valuable aquatic resources.
The DNR provided financial support to the Iowa DNR to build an electric barrier at the outlet to the Iowa Great Lakes Okoboji area. The outlet channel also flows into the Little Sioux and Missouri rivers. This barrier protects not only the Iowa lakes, but also aquatic resources in southern Minnesota.
The DNR Fish and Wildlife Division leads a comprehensive sampling program to monitor fish population changes and impacts of management actions. This includes routine monitoring in southwestern Minnesota.
State funding sources, including the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund and Outdoor Heritage Fund, have provided key funding for deterrent actions and the DNR invasive carp detection and response program.
Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call (651) 587-2781 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office or arrange for it to be picked up by a DNR official.
More information about invasive carp is available here.