Fishing season will soon be underway. Missouri has a lot of lakes and tributaries that allow many anglers to hit the open waters. However, the Creve Coeur Lake has an unwelcomed visitor this year. The Asian carp have moved in and threatened the habitat for other fish. The Missouri Department of Conservation is working endlessly to get rid of these fish and protect one of the most revered lakes in St. Louis County.
Though this battle is a first for the state of Missouri, other states have already fought victorious battles against the pests. Creating a grid-like system within the lake, they will lure the fish into the net using electrical barriers. These bottom feeders are very invasive and will stop at nothing to destroy the other fish. They specifically have a significant impact on the croppy, which is one of the most favored fish by anglers in the area.
Typical methods used to catch fish don’t work with these intelligent carp, as they can jump higher than most and get out of a net. So, these new nets use a comb-like system to skim across the bottom of the lake, and once they are in the net, the electrical currents keep them from jumping out. Though these fish are not native to the area, the massive amounts of flooding are thought to be the cause of their entry.
The first Asian carp was spotted back in 2009. Their population has continued to increase over the past decade, and the officials at Creve Coeur Lake decided enough is enough. These fish are voracious eaters, and they can eat more than 20 percent of their body weight, in other fish, each day. While their big appetites are a problem, another ecological threat is their ability to reproduce fast. The biggest problem is these bottom feeders make the floor of the lakes so murky that all the other fish have a challenging time finding the nutrients they need to sustain life.
If something isn’t done soon, Creve Coeur Lake would be overtaken by the carp, and anglers would avoid this once favored fishing spot. However, even with these efforts, it will take about 5-6 years for the population of croppy to rebuilt to its former state.