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Bighead Carp??

Old 06-19-2004, 09:39 AM
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Default Bighead Carp??

Do you guys ever get bigheads??? Was wondering if so what type of habitat they like the most. Thinking of going on a shoot over to the Big Miss. for the first time and heard they wre over ther. Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-19-2004, 09:02 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

theres a whole bunch of them in the illinois river, and their on the move north. what im hearing is they like to hang around backwaters, but close to the rivers moving current so they can face up current and feed, then get in the backwater to get out of the current. going this sat., will let you know what i see!
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Old 06-26-2004, 11:25 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

I'm a scientist studying bighead and silver carp and working on methods to control and manage their populations. Among other things, I have been working on characterizing the habitat choices that radio-tagged bigheads and silvers choose for almost two years. E.J.D.'s description of bighead habitat is perspicacious, and is the kind of post that keeps me coming back to bowhunter sites - bowhunters watch fish and learn their habits in ways that other fishermen don't. Every once in a while I even learn something that I wouldn't have learned even through my research, or get ideas on new paths to take. It also helps keep me in touch with new range expansions. Anyway, as EJD noted, bigheads and silvers like to be in low velocity water, but not necessarily zero velocity. Bigheads like just a bit more current than silvers, but for some reason the silvers tend to use the bigger rivers more than the tribs unless the big rivers are flooded and/or muddy. Both fish like eddys a lot. Bigheads feed right on the surface sometimes, especially at night but sometimes in the day too. This makes them good bowfishing targets. Silvers are much harder to bowfish, but if you can find concentrations of them you can use the boat to make them jump and then try to shoot them out of the air. This is difficult but it can be done and it is a hoot trying. But it is a bit dangerous - getting hit by a carp can really hurt you, and they also tend to damage things in the boat, like fishing rods, depthfinders, and girlfriends.
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Old 06-27-2004, 08:09 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

Well did you do any good EJD???? Thanks for the info carptracker!!!
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:09 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

Hey carptracker, what is the average size of the big heads and silver carp and what is the largest that you know of?
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:16 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

Have these things made it into lakes or just rivers so far? I live in Minnesota and it is a big concern here as they are on there way up the Mississippi as we speak.
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Old 06-29-2004, 09:45 PM
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Gundigest - Here in central Missouri, the average silver that jumps in the boat or we get in our large mesh nets is about 12 or 13 pounds. The average bighead is a bit smaller than that. The biggest silver I've seen was 27 pounds and there have been darn few of them yet over 17 pounds - which leads me to distrust the many stories of size; every person who gets hit by one of these things says it was at least 20 pounds. But a 12 pounder can do a lot of damage if it hits you or your rod rack at 20 or 30 mph or more. The biggest bighead I've seen was about 48 pounds. Bigheads have been here in Central Missouri longer than silvers, so the maximum size is bigger. We see bigger silvers every year. The worldwide records of both species top out at just about the triple digit mark.

Rick - These fish have not been able to reproduce in any meaningful way unless they have a very long river to do it in. Has to do with the requirements of the eggs and larvae. There are probably some reservoirs that have long enough rivers upstream, but most won't. That doesn't mean the adults won't do great in lakes or reservoirs if people put them there. The most likely way for that to happen is if they are transported by bait buckets. The young of the silver carp look very like shad, and both species are sometimes used as bait, both by people who know what they are doing and others who haven't a clue what the fish are. If you catch your own bait, use the bait in the same place you caught it. Do not transport bait caught from the wild. As far as the upper Mississippi goes, some fish will be able to make it through the dams. The first bighead has been caught from Lake Pepin, really a pool on the Mississippi River. But I don't know if the fish will ever reach high populations or not. The fact that grass carp, which have similar reproductive requirements, have not become a big factor in the upper miss gives me hope. Maybe the dams will make recruitment of young impossible in those stretches, just maybe. But efforts to keep the fish from getting past the dams are probably wise. I wouldn't want to rely on that hope, and even if reproduction is not possible in the upper Miss, then continual immigration of bigheads and/or silvers from the sizable population downstream would be almost as bad.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:08 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

Hey carptracker.......
do you think they will make it to lake michigan??????i hope not!!!! And if they do will they threaten the salmon and trout or other native fishes in the tribs????? Thanks for al your info!!!
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:07 PM
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Carpmaster - those are all big questions that I don't have the answer to. There is no guarantee that bigheads in the Great Lakes will cause problems. They might not be able to reproduce there or reach large populations. But I sure hope we never have to find out. There certainly is a strong element of danger there; the risk is high.
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Old 06-30-2004, 09:42 PM
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Default RE: Bighead Carp??

Carptracker, is there any other information you can give us that can help us shoot more of them? What informaion do you think we should know about these fish.

thanks
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