A bow angler caught a record-setting fish over the weekend, but it's not a record the Minnesota DNR wanted to see.
The invasive, bighead carp measured 47.5 inches long and weight 61.7 pounds – making it the largest invasive carp ever captured in Minnesota, a news release says. The angler caught the fish in a private gravel pit near Redwood Falls on Sunday and immediately reported it to the DNR.
"The news of this capture is somewhat alarming, given the size and location," Nick Frohnauer of the DNR said in the release. "This bighead carp was captured about 80 miles upstream from the only other bighead carp captured in the Minnesota River."
The fish probably got into the pit when the water was high, the DNR says, noting the pit is part of the Minnesota River floodplain and can become connected to the river where there's flooding.
The DNR plans to sample the pit, other lakes in the floodplain and the river to figure out of the fish was by itself or part of a group.
Invasive carp are bad news
Bighead carp and other invasive carp (commonly called Asian carp) have been moving up the Mississippi River since one first escaped into the river in the 1970s. They've been caught in the Mississippi River near the Twin Cities, the St. Croix River and the Minnesota River in recent years, but the DNR says there's no sign the fish are breeding in Minnesota waters.
Invasive carp are bad news because they pose a threat to rivers and lakes. They compete with native fish for food and space, effectively pushing native species out, the National Park Service says. They're also thought to lower the quality of water in lakes and rivers, which can kill off things like freshwater mussels.
If you catch an invasive carp, report it to the DNR right away. You can call 651-587-2781 or email email@example.com. Also take a photo of the fish and bring it to the nearest fisheries office or have the DNR come pick it up.
For more information on invasive carp and other invasive species in Minnesota, as well as the DNR's efforts to stop the spread of them, click here.