Anglers asked to bring in silver carpAnglers along the James River have something besides whopper walleye and northerns to be on the lookout for this summer. They’re asked to report any silver carp they may catch to North Dakota Game and Fish Department officials, according to Gene Van Eeckhout, district fisheries supervisor in Jamestown.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Anglers along the James River have something besides whopper walleye and northerns to be on the lookout for this summer.
They’re asked to report any silver carp they may catch to North Dakota Game and Fish Department officials, according to Gene Van Eeckhout, district fisheries supervisor in Jamestown.
“They would probably snag it rather than have it bite on bait,” he said. “But we would like to see them keep it dry and bring it in to Game and Fish.”
Silver carp, sometimes called flying carp for its tendency to jump into the air in the paths of boats, was first discovered in the northern James River last summer by an angler near LaMoure. Surveys by Game and Fish officials resulted in another silver carp caught just below Jamestown Dam. Silver carp is considered a nuisance and invasive species.
Silver carp disturb the bottom of the lake while gathering algae and plankton, increasing the cloudiness of the water. The plankton and algae it eats also reduces the foods available for small fish that serve as feed for larger game fish.
The biggest danger from the silver carp is to boaters. The fish often jumps in the air when startled and can strike boaters or skiers, causing injury.
Van Eeckhout said last summer’s discovery is prompting some changes to regulations concerning gathering live bait. The changes are likely to be announced next month and tied to the renewal of fishing licenses.
“We want to remind people that since silver carp have been discovered in the James River, a ban on taking live bait fish from the James River is in place,” he said.
This is to prevent young silver carp from being caught with minnows and transported to other lakes.
Game and Fish officials are also monitoring other possible ways the silver carp could spread.
That includes through the sloughs and waterways associated with seven-mile coulee and Alkali Lake, which could allow the nuisance fish to enter Spiritwood Lake.
“That is how the common carp got into Spiritwood Lake,” Van Eeckhout said.
Nets placed between Alkali and Spiritwood lakes to catch northern pike for egg harvest did not turn up any silver carp. The nets were removed when temperatures cooled and fish activity diminished this week. They could be replaced later when northern pike spawning is more active.
Van Eeckhout anticipates anglers could have a good year on the water.
“We’ve had no winter kill this year,” he said. “And two winters with limited ice fishing because of snow cover and this winter ice fishing was limited because of ice conditions. Things shouldn’t be overfished as we go into the spring and summer fishing.”
Anglers are required to have a 2012 fishing license if they are on the water on or after April 1.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org