Photo courtesy of Kate GardinePhoto courtesy of Kate GardineClose up of a Bighead:  Photo courtesy of Kate Gardiner


Carp Fishing

Now that you know all about the Bighead carp, you can find out one last important aspect to these interesting organisms.  Bighead carp can be a wonderful way for people to enjoy the outdoors.  How does this one fish help in enjoyment?  The simple answer is recreational fishing.

Carp fishing may lack the traditional style of fishing for native game fish and pan fish that many have loved in the United States, but there is no doubt one can still come to love fishing for carp as much as any other fish out there.  In fact, some argue that carp fishing can be considered even more enjoyable.  This is thanks to the Bighead carp's large size and quick growth.  Bighead carp provide a struggle to reel in and take much more time than small pan fish such as the Bluegill (To learn about Bluegill click here).  This creates a tougher challenge for anglers, young and old, which many look for in the sport of fishing.  There are many ways to fish for Bighead carp.  A strong rod and reel and some simple bait can be enough to catch these fish.  Some tips on fishing for Bighead carp include using sweet smelling pasty baits, chunks of fish flesh, bread, organisms such as mollusks and earthworms, potatoes, and other general baits.  Not only can you enjoy the traditional means of fishing with Bighead carp, but there is an extravagant way of catching them as well.

My friend Mike Hutwagner BowfishingThe Joys of Bowfishing:  That is right, there is a recreation known as bowfishing.  What is bowfishing?  Bowfishing is a twist to fishing, involving a bow with a reel kit attached to it.  You can attach arrows to the reel kit and shoot the arrows at a target in the water, with the ability to reel the arrow back in after shooting.  This is another great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature.  Not only does bowfishing provide a fun recreation, but it can help control Bighead and other carp populations in order to bring the invasive species under control.  Due to the classification as an invasive species there is no limit on the number of carp taken so one can spend an entire day hunting if desired.  Make sure that you follow proper weapons regulations and are aware of hunting safety when handling a bow.  Contact your local government agency or state DNR to view the official laws and regulations.  Click here to go to the Wisconsin DNR website to find fishing regulations on spearing and shooting carp.

 Mike Hutwagner with Bowfishing kit     Mike Hutwagner with a speared Grass carp

Fish Sorting Operations - Photo courtesy of Asian Carp Regional Coordinating CommitteeAn Economical Perspective:  Besides enjoying the Bighead carp as means of sport, you can also view them as a way to earn a living.  There are many areas around the globe where Bighead carp are in large demand, particularly in Asian communities.  At first, many were frustrated with the presence of the carp.  As they would pull up their nets, instead of catching the desired game fish, they would pull up many carp instead.  Now, however, people have been purposely fishing for these carp.  Many fishermen here in the United States are looking at this new point in the economy, seeing an opportunity that has not yet been filled, and are taking off with it.  Thanks to the large size of carp there are many pounds to a fish, which only takes a few years to reach large sizes.  They are also invasive species and thanks to unrestricted environmental conditions in parts of the United States, these fish are really taking off and populating areas very quickly.  Fisherman can collect thousands of pounds of carp in a single day, making profits add up quickly.  When selling these fish, they may only be priced at 10 to 14 cents per pound, but when large amounts of fish are caught, the prices add up real fast.  Thanks to the Bighead carp, there are jobs being created and sustained, which viewed as a wonderful thing in a country, especially in the United States during the economical downturn occurring these last few years.

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