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Thursday, December 22, 2016

The State of Carp Fishing in the United States

Many of my friends and family are perfectly content spending the day fishing for 1/2 pound and 1 pound bluegill, 2 pound crappie; and 3 or 4 pound largemouth bass with an occasional channel catfish hooked every now and then. Carp provide a viable alternative to those smaller fish. Catching 10 - 12 pound common carp is normal among fishermen targeting carp.

When I am out fishing in some of the local spots people commonly ask me whether I eat the carp I catch - I don't. Their next reaction is usually very negative. Some people actually shake their head at me in disbelief and continue their line of questioning with comments about it being a waste of time to fish for something you can't eat. Some more knowledgeable fishermen who have tried eating carp or know others who have, often comment about removal of the "mud vein" to help improve the taste.
22 pound fall carp
There is another group of people - including many visitors to this site - who are sickened by the fact that I take great care of the carp I catch and do everything I can to return them to the water unharmed to be caught again another day. Some of them leave comments on my posts expressing their disdain that I promote carp fishing to others as something desirable to do. One person left a rather lengthy comment about how I shouldn't be returning carp to the water at all. He said I should kill them all like he does when he bow hunts for them. Really? Well, no.

I know bow fishing is a legitimate way to catch fish, but I do not support bow fishermen who shoot fish and leave them laying on the bank. I've seen pictures posted on the internet with three or four bow fishermen posing with at least 50 or 60 carp laying on tarps with comments below the picture bragging about their kills. Call me a cynic, but I have a lot of doubts about those guys eating one single fish from their kill. I've seen other pictures and comments about taking the kills and planting them in flower beds for rose bush fertilizer. I understand it's not illegal to bow fish, but I think it should be illegal to kill fish (or any other animal) just for the sake of killing something and then discarding it like an used cigarette butt or an old newspaper.

Bass fishing in the U.S. hasn't always been a multi-million or multi-billion industry either. Bass fishing has benefitted from promoters who have profited handsomely from tournament fishing series and television shows.

Carp fishing is going to get there too someday. It's been widely popular in Europe and other parts of the world for decades. I am completely confident that carp fishing will rise in popularity too. There are economic benefits for companies that cater to carp fisherman. Right now it's probably still in the niche stage, but the momentum is slowly shifting. The possibilities for carp fishing in the U.S. are huge; and I want to be prepared to ride the wave when it does finally arrive.

Here is an example of the popularity of carp fishing in the U.K.: Carp Universe Magazine


  1. As a land locked bank fisherman by choice, targeting bass and carp, I can appreciate your comments. I practice catch and release exclusively. People just seem to be baffled when I tell them that I catch and release everything I catch. Enjoy reading your blogs, looking forward to the 2017 fishing season and happy holidays to you and your family.

  2. Thanks for commenting. I am glad you enjoy the pics and stories. More to come soon.

  3. Common carp do a ton of ecological damage to North American fresh waters. Their constant rooting in sediment digs up vegetation, totally destroys wild rice beds, and causes murkier, siltier water. We would have better water quality, more biodiversity, and healthier ecosystems with fewer carp. However, there's no way we could ever get rid of all of them. So more fishing of them is fine with me.
    Please consider only releasing the largest fish you catch. By eliminating smaller fish, you'd be improving the gene pool - increasing the odds for the really big fish to spread their genes in the population. Also I don't know about carp in particular, but other fish are subject to "stunting" - when they get to high population densities, they don't die off, they persist, but none of them get very big. By reducing competition in carp populations, you could be allowing the survivors to get much bigger.

  4. I think there should be a limit on size of carp that can be shot with a bow. Indiscriminate shooting reduces opportunities for rod and reel fishing. Example: No carp over 28 inches and no more than 9 carp per day. This would ensure that carp anglers have a chance to catch a once in a lifetime 30 pound fish on rod and reel.


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