Jump to content
OzarkAnglers.Com Forum

Rough fish removal a good thing? NOT SO FAST

Recommended Posts

In nature it is rare for a water say Table rock lake to achieve maximum fish carrying capacity, if you kill off all or a great deal of the population “rough fishes”  common carp and buffalo for example..you do two things.

1 ) you eliminate young of the year forage for predator species, 

2 ) predation on asiatic clams and zebra mussels..as well as feeding on benthic organisms including noxious insects.

some state fisheries stock common carp to combat insect issues (Tempe Town Lake AZ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oaHLMmaC_E



In aquaculture the biomass of ponds is vastly increased by utilizing NICHE BIOLOGY this is used to great effecting fish farming
A combination of six species of fish to farm as much pounds of fish per hectare of water 
Catla carp (Catla catla)
Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
Rohu carp (Labeo rohita)
Grass carp or White Amur (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
Mrigal carp (Cirrhinus cirrhosus)
Common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
catla and silver carp are surface feeders, 
rohu is a mid column feeder, 
grass carp is a macro-vegetation feeder, 
mrigal and common carp are bottom feeders. 
A proportion of 30-40% surface feeders (silver carp and catla), 
30-35% mid water feeders (rohu and grass carp) 
 and 30-40% bottom feeders (common carp and mrigal) is commonly adopted for maximum niche output.

Eliminating common carp and buffalo can not directly increase predator species like Largemouth bass or walleyes
there is evidence that removing carp/buffalo fish can deny predators YOY food sources early in their life cycle, common carp and buffalo produce huge numbers of eggs broadcast and left to their own devices, Bluegills and other sunfishes feed heavy on the eggs and larva so much so in waters with good sunfish populations buffalo and carp recruitment is extremely poor, only in years with large flood events that give more vegetative shelter for fry survival do larger year classes of carp/buffalo happen.

A good example of niche biology : take a 40 acre mixed woodlot 1/2 pasture 1/2 mature oak hickory woodlands and a 1/2 acre pond
if you kill all the rabbits, you don’t get more squirrels, or deer or ducks or muskrats…you get less rabbit eaters. 
If you kill all the squirrels off you get no more rabbits or ducks or muskrats, but you would get less squirrel eaters sometimes the same as rabbit eaters.....

Could you have enough squirrels to eat all the acorns that effected deer forage? possibly but not likely.
want to get rid of all the coyotes, foxes and bobcats? get rid of rabbits, squirrels and rodents!

Killing all the deer will not get you more wolves!

Most times a water out of balance with too many carp or buffalo is one with predator issues sight feeders like bass walleyes and muskie suffer in a darker water silt laden lake for example, carp/buffalo removal will abate suspended silt issues if the lake doesn't stratify but this also can make weed grow explode and render large areas of the lake unusable for some water recreation

however blue and flathead catfish are extremely effective rough fish predators, both can take prey over 10 pounds.


Catla carp (Catla catla) and Rohu carp (Labeo rohita)




rohu(LABEO ROHITA)pg.jpg

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is documented that waters with an over abundance of common carp are typically DAMAGED waters, 

specifically overfished; 
that means removing baby carp eaters, 

Source point solution issues,
EX. silt from exposed soils 
(Construction & farming & denuding of vegetative cover) 

Increased run off in urban areas;
Because of asphalt, concrete etc covering soils, 
washing road salts. hydrocarbons thats gas and oil,
trace elements, heavy metals, and sewage into a water system, 

Common carp can live better in those environments because of their ability to take O2 from the surface 
(Alligator Gar as well)

The University Of Minnesota often referenced studies on controls of Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
generalize that removing carp = better water clarity and better gamefish populations, increased native vegetation that helps waterfowl populations.

This is in ONLY very narrow and specific situations, I will explain

Prezmek Bajer
dept of fish and wildlife studies, University Of Minnesota.
lake Susan Minnesota 
common carp reduced from 200kg-60 kg per hectar
or from about 250 pounds of carp per acre 
reduced to 130 pounds per acre

"Carp are invasive in SOME places but not invasive in a lot of places 50-100 kg of carp per hectar are ok" Prezmek Bajer

Lake Susan stratifies in summer, water clarity increased in May & June but fell back almost no change post carp removal levels July-October

Bayer goes on to say phosphorus loading blamed on carp in laboratory tests, are not typically shown in real world in the lake results.....so phosphorus is not always driven by carp other things are happening we are not sure about

It should be noted he goes on to warn vegetation along the shoreline usually goes up, this sometimes is a problem for recreational users

Also of note common carp have poor recruitment in waters that have good populations of native fishes because those fish that feed heavlly on eggs and carp larva; bluegills specifically noted, Bluegills are one of the 1st fishes to die in a low O2 event exacerbating YOY recruitment of common carp


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

if you examine the poster children of common carp renovations Lake Utah, UT and Lake Wingra, WI, both under close examination are damaged water systems, that had historically bad water quality issues, Laughably Lake Wingra had the water fowl removed because after the carp removals water quality issues still caused swimming beach closures, now the lake which still has carp but in lower numbers, is so clogged with vegetation its having weeds mechanically removed at 4x the cost of carp reductions!...Lake Utah is a high salt content water that HAD a native trout population fished to extinction till only 2 sucker species were the only native fish left in the lake, Common carp stocked by the Mormon Settlers to give them food fishes, water quality issues will be there if all fish are removed, raw sewages was dumped until 1967. It is no wonder how common carp made up 90% of the fish species in the lake.

Utah Lake is a shallow freshwater lake in the U.S. state of Utah. It lies in Utah Valley, surrounded by the Provo-Orem metropolitan area. The lake's only river outlet, the Jordan River, is a tributary of the Great Salt Lake  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Lake


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lake Wingra is a shallow, spring fed, eutrophic lake with deep soils and a large drainage basin. Glacial till makes up the majority of the soils in the area, (meaning the lake bed is mostly silt (80%) and two major aquifers serve the springs that feed Lake Wingra. Located in an urban area of Madison, WI, the lake once had shores of sprawling marsh. The eastern, southeastern, and western shores have mostly been drained. To the north sits Henry Vilas Zoo and park, as well as Edgewood Drive, and in the southwest, the Nakoma Golf course. As the smallest lake in Madison, Lake Wingra has generally been used as a source of recreation, and generally considered the most ‘pristine’ of the Madison area lakes. While this is true, it does not mean that this lake is untouched. Many of the thirty-five springs that once fed Lake Wingra have been filled or rerouted for agriculture or wells, making the hydrologic budget (it means clean water feeding the lake)for the lake only a fraction of its historical values (Brown, 1927). Most of the wetlands surrounding the lake have been drained and filled in as well. All of the land that is now Henry Vilas Zoo and Park, and the Nakoma Golf Course was once marsh (Brown, 1927).

in a nutshell, cool clean water that once supplied the lake was cut off, the bulk of water is now run-off coming from urban sprawl and golf courses, and a zoo...the water did clear up some, but this caused an explosion of weed growth that now has to be "mowed" at 4x the cost of carp removals, commons are still in the lake, just at lower densities, the bacterial levels still spiked in summer months prompting swimming beach closures, with commons no longer able to be THE scape goat, geese were then "removed" as well, it should be noted the lake STILL has water quality issues, groups have been trying to re-open old springs that once fed the lake, I contend that much of the water clearing can be given credit to better quality water inputs.

Common carp, and buffalo (Buffs BTW are never cited but were also removed because they are native and don't meet the invasive label) are responsible for water clouding in a high silt environment, but only at density levels that produce very few trophy commons. 

if you have X number of fish eating and disturbing silts should it be one 30#er? not six 5#ers?.it seems we all see waters that produce monster common carp are better water quality and have healthy gamefish populations.. the cycle of renovate lakes always fails over time because the reasons carp get out of control are not met, too many carp are a symptom NOT THE CAUSE in most cases.



Lake Wingra is a small lake located inside the city limits of the U.S. city of Madison, Wisconsin. The smallest of the five major lakes drained by the Yahara River in Dane County, Lake Wingra is bordered by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum on the south and west and the City of Madison on the remaining shoreline.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wingra


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Madison's lakes are 'impaired' by runoff-driven weeds and algae, state says "But the listing also could add further urgency to efforts to prevent farm manure from running off fields and into streams and lakes, said Josh Wescott, Parisi’s chief of staff" http://host.madison.com/.../article_7ce4fb1a-b310-5cee...


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


The common carp was introduced in 1883 as a source of food after native species had been depleted by overfishing. It is now the most prevalent fish found in Utah Lake. Carp make up about 90% of the lake's biomass, with an adult population numbering around 7.5 million. The average carp in the lake is about 5.3 pounds (2.4 kg), for a total of nearly 40,000,000 pounds (18,000,000 kg) of carp in the lake.

Parley P. Pratt visited Fort Utah in June 1849 and saw thousands of fish being caught by settlers and Timpanogot indians. He estimated that 5000 barrels of fish could be secured annually from the fishery. The winter of 1885-1886 caused much of the livestock to die. LDS Church leaders sent members in the Salt Lake Valley to Utah Lake to obtain fish; an estimated 96,000 pounds (44,000 kg) of fish were brought back.(cuttroat trout) The first commercial fishery also started the same year. At the 1870 General Conference of the LDS Church, a committee was appointed to develop fish culture because of the declining fish harvest in Utah Lake. By 1904, it became illegal to commercially catch any fish except for non-native species. At least 25 species of fish have been introduced into Utah Lake's waters. Thirteen introductions were unsuccessful. Carp, largemouth bass, white bass, black bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, goldfish, yellow perch, blue gill, and black crappie are found in abundance.

"The lake has a maximum depth of just under 14 feet (4.3 m) and an average depth of about 10.5 feet (3.2 m). This shallowness allows winds to easily stir up sediments from the lake's bottom, contributing to the turbidity or the impression of pollution seen in Utah Lake's water"

Three faults run under Utah Lake. One of the faults, the Bird Island fault, runs under the eastern edge of the lake and helps give rise to hot springs near Lincoln Beach. The other major hot spring is on the northern shore and is called Saratoga Springs. The hot springs mostly result from the development of hydraulic pressure as the ground water slopes toward the middle of the lake.

The lake contains a small island called Bird Island, about 2.25 miles (3.62 km) north of the Lincoln Beach boat ramp, near its south end. The island has a few trees and is somewhat visible from Lincoln Beach. During high-water years, the island may be completely submerged, the trees being the only indication it is there. It is a fairly popular destination among fishermen seeking walleye, white bass, and channel catfish.( non -native fishes)

interestly in the 1800s and lasting into the 1930s, the killing of fish-eating birds was seen as a fish conservation measure. Bounties were given by local government entities, and upon presenting evidence of offending dead birds, game officers paid the bounties. A report by a hunter states, "There was a bounty paid on cranes and heron in 1895. Two men could make as high as $66 a day. Wading into the rookeries with their pants off they would crack the heron over the head. When the bounty was paid on pelican we would use a fish float tide to a wad of rushes. Gulls were also caught. There has been 10,000 slaughtered. At the Big Channel gidls have been shot and there are four or five hundred pelicans which have been shot. In 1928 I killed 1,240 mudhens [coot]. We would eat the hearts and gizzards, take the feathers and oil and discard the rest."

it seems a historical legacy that something other than over harvest of gamefish was blamed on anything but the real causes, 


"Provo visitors and residents cautioned against algal blooms Utah Lake" JULY 3, 2017 "The blue-green algae in question is caused by urban runoff and wastewater but is most commonly attributed to warmer weather in the summer months, Spangler said."  http://universe.byu.edu/.../toxic-algae-return

 Mike Slater, regional aquatic manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says a population of northern pike, placed in Utah Lake illegally, is growing in size. Biologists have launched a research project to learn how the pike might affect sport fish and endangered fish in the lake. And they need your help: "Why the concern?
Slater says northern pike sit at the very top of the food chain. "They eat anything they want," he says. "Adding a predator like this may hurt the bass, walleye, catfish and panfish populations that already live in the lake."

In addition to the many sport fish in the lake, June suckers — a fish listed as endangered on the federal Endangered Species list — also live in the lake.

Slater says Utah Lake is the only water in the world where June suckers live. "The illegal introduction of northern pike could negate much of the work that has been done to recover the June sucker," he says. "Work to help June suckers has also helped sport fish in the lake. Whoever put northern pike in the lake did a selfish and thoughtless thing  https://wildlife.utah.gov/.../1806-anglers-fish-in-utah...





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had, what I considered, a Buffalo problem I'm the upper Gravois area of LO up until the bowfishers showed up.  They were so thick that all of the shallow flats stayed stirred up and murky, you couldn't go 50 feet in any direction without seeing their wakes shooting off everywhere.  

I'm not too sure that the bowfishers didn't go a little overkill (literally) though, because now you seldom see a single one anywhere on the flats.   In 3 years we went from way too many.....to None. And that's not good I don't think.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, fishinwrench said:

We had, what I considered, a Buffalo problem I'm the upper Gravois area of LO up until the bowfishers showed up.  They were so thick that all of the shallow flats stayed stirred up and murky, you couldn't go 50 feet in any direction without seeing their wakes shooting off everywhere.  

I'm not too sure that the bowfishers didn't go a little overkill (literally) though, because now you seldom see a single one anywhere on the flats.   In 3 years we went from way too many.....to None. And that's not good I don't think.

   Can see what you are saying here wrench. But we are comparing a native specie against an nonnative invasive. I would rather not see a nonnative fish here. While MoCarp sees the benefits he wants I don't. Maybe he can have the trophy carp pond he wants? Just like we have cold water fisheries. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.