‘Carp Rodeo’ aims to cull invasive species
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada wildlife managers have a plan to cut the population of a bully fish that’s threatening to become king of state waterway bottom-feeders.
They want people to catch carp.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada Wildlife Division will host what they’re calling a “Carp Rodeo” July 17 at the Upper Pahranagat Lake campground, about 80 miles north of Las Vegas.
The plan is to get as many carp as possible out of the lake, while teaching families about native species and outdoor activities.
“We thought this would be a good chance to get families out into the refuge for some fun,” Fish and Wildlife Service official Dan Balduini said. He said carp often put up a good fight when hooked.
While not a fan of carp, either as a trophy or an entree, Balduini said some anglers enjoy eating the fish. Some compare it to catfish, and there are Web sites dedicated to making carp cuisine. Most suggest copious quantities of butter.
A fishing license is required for anglers 12 and older. But the state Division of Wildlife is offering a single-day permit, along with reel and tackle, if needed, and basic fishing lessons.
They’re also offering face-painting and other activities for those whose patience or luck don’t hold up for four hours of fishing.
By some estimates, tens of thousands of invasive carp are in Nevada.
The voracious brown fish is native to Europe and Asia, and can grow to more than three feet long and 35 pounds in Nevada waters.
The fish “eat whatever is available to them. They’re opportunists,” said Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex Manager Cynthia Martinez. “They tend to compete with native fish and even waterfowl for food availability, and they’re very aggressive in pushing out other species.”
After being planted decades ago to clear Lincoln County irrigation canals, carp made their way into Pahranagat Lake reservoir and then up Pahranagat Creek.
Now carp are being found in habitat of the Pahranagat round tail chub, an endangered species native to the upper stretches of Pahranagat Creek in Lincoln County.
The greenish-yellow, black-splotched fish is threatened most by development and irrigation. But constant carp scavenging muddies the water and impedes chub breeding. Fish and Wildlife officials say carp also prey upon chub babies.